My organization has had many acquisitions over the past two years. Some were large and other small. We are recordkeepers for 401K plans. If an acquisition bring with it 5,000 plans and another bring with it 500 plans, it’s the same amount of integration work from an IT or HR perspective, for the most part.
Although due diligence was done, there are always unknown ‘things’ that come up and take time. Our integration teams try to prioritize, but it is frustrating when integration is more complicated for a smaller acquisition.
Yes, I have experienced very similar complications while my company acquired small startups. I would say sometimes it feel even harder with smaller companies because their model, methodology, processes are very different than larger companies. Usually they don’t have a structure in place and things had been done adhoc which makes the integration more complicated.
I have found that our smaller integrations have less of an ability to run as an independent entity post-acquisition. The focus seems to be on integration with a much shorter timeline, as they are still operating with a “mom and pop” mentality. In order to create efficiencies in their business, it has been important to provide them with the backing of our larger organization through quick integration tactics. We have experienced the need for significantly more custom software development for these smaller entities, as they are generally still paper-based.
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