Reply To: use of technology in the PMI

#120031

Your question requires more specificity. Are you asking about integrating technology between the merging entities (i.e. ERP systems, HRIS, ATS, LMS, WMS, etc.) or are you asking about the use of technology by consultants to facilitate the deal process (i.e. Dealroom, Visual Workforce, Ansarada, etc.)?

The former can be the root cause of issues and actually slow the PMI. The latter can facilitate and increase the speed of sharing documents, collaboration, and data collection which, in turn, could speed up the PMI and improve efficiency/effectiveness… depending on how such tools are used and the buy-in/transparency between the merging entities and any external M&A consultants.

My experience with Newell Brands integration of Legacy Jarden corporation was that the technology was an impediment. That was a LARGE deal ($16B post merger) and there were 20+ ERPs, ATS, LMS, HRIS, and other technology solutions that had to be coordinated. Big picture at the time when I was there was to eventually get all onto SAP for the ERP, Taleo for the ATS, Hyperion for financial data integration, and a few other systems, but that was just prior to my leaving company and prior to the spinoff of several legacy Jarden Corporation entities (Rawlings, Waddington, Pure Fishing, Jostens, and Process Solutions).

In the Newell example, this technology challenge, combined with cultural differences, were the root of many frustrations and ultimately exits by key talent. The hodge-podge collection of technology was an outward representation of the internal culture at Jarden – a collection of individuals at Jarden where Newell was an individual collective. Making that square peg (Jarden) fit into the round hole (Newell) was more challenging than Apollo 13! And the spin offs that followed as well as upheaval at the top reflects just how challenging it was.

This was a long winded response to your question that essentially means… it depends. When performing due diligence, its not just about the numbers, its about identifying the challenges that will be faced with integration, its about sketching out high-level solutions to those challenges, and that includes for people, culture, and technology tools. Answers to the questions, “Which ERP will be used going forward? How will the remaining technology integrate into the ERP? Does that mean we consolidate into one HRIS or do we need to acquire an entirely different HRIS? Will the data from existing systems be able to seamlessly integrate into the new or single solution? How will the people embrace the technology and/or technological change?”, are critical during the due diligence phase and integration planning.

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