With COVID, how would one handle Integrations w/o face to face meetings?

This topic contains 18 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  Meg 1 month, 4 weeks ago.

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    Clark Murphy

    Given the new environment with the Pandemic and Covid, there is more video conference meetings (i.e. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, etc). Do you think that will be an issue with integrations or even finding synergies with employees going forward with Transactions?



    I would think that with more video conference meetings, it could be helpful in integration and yet pose potential challenges in finding synergies. In terms of helping with integration, video conferencing tools can reduce barriers to communication across different territories through reducing cost and making it easier to communicate. However, it could be tougher to find synergies as it is likely that the richness of non verbal communication will possibly be lost when these communication are not done through face to face.


    Natalie Trabert

    Being unable to interact face-to-face has no doubt made it more challenging to build trust. However- I would encourage leveraging Zoom video as much as possible (vs phone only)- and conduct townhalls, and planning workshops leveraging the full capability of platforms like Zoom and Teams that offer shared documents for collaboration- and breakout rooms, etc.


    Matthias Arnet

    Being not able to meet physically or test/see/apply/benchmarg the respective products of the acquired company makes it much harder to prepare the integration plan and its synergies. It might work at the beginning, but at one point it is key to have physical meetings especially when it comes for cultural topics).

    Of course, online tools such as Teams/Zoom but also video messaging or internal platforms should be used as much as possible, they are of big benefits since they are so established meanwhile.


    Sean Casault

    The absence of in person face to face type meetings certainly makes it more challenging. As others have noted, leveraging available video conferencing technologies help. I would also leverage more real-time collaboration tools particularly in the due diligence phases. MS teams, slack, etc can be beneficial and many are more adept today at using these types of tools to ensure progress while having to collaborate remotely. I don’t see this trend overtaking or replacing the need to physically meet and build relationships in person, but they will maintain an enhanced place in both the M&A and Post-Merger integration processes.


    David Castell

    This could offer new opportunities to local teams who could take over local negotiations on behalf of their HQ organization. Alternatively, external local consulting companies could also take over local negotiations, while buying companies could just connect digitally to the meeting.


    Jerome Baumgartner

    I can personally confirm that the absence of face to face impacted significantly the ability of one organization I know to successfully integrate a team. I would say that it almost doubled the time required and also created a lot more frustrations among the respective teams. Trust issues have been seen frequently. It is now more or less ok, but clearly despite all the technological progress, we ultimately still need to meet in person to create solid relationship.


    Elizabeth Perlak

    I think there is actually an opportunity here to increase the interactions with teams in a more meaningful way. Previously, if a deal involved teams in varying geographic locations there was a certain amount of inequity in the availability of face to face meetings – it took more time away from day-to-day interactions and typically was only available to certain employees or team members. Now, everyone is operating in the same paradigm. I would suggest to make the virtual interactions more meaningful set up clear guidelines for the meetings. Prioritize the software and protocols of the meetings (is everyone using Teams or Zoom, cameras on or off) and encourage more participation if possible by employees/team members who would not have had the benefit of in person meetings in the past.



    We’ve done everything virtually, but we’ve seen the impact. In this business, face to face is critical. It build trust and enables alignment. We call them Moments that Matter, and in integration work, it’s key. We’ve recently begun travelling again as part of this work, but it’s still limited as we’re not travling overseas even though we have deals and integrations in global markets. Otherwise, it seems like we need to do the best we can perhaps build in some contingency (schedule and funds) in the plans due to unknowns and risk because of this limitation.



    It is proven that virtual technologies and applications were effective during COVID-19. To be able to use theses technologies effectively, one must prepare any presentations, materials or documents prior to the meetings and also use the settings and tools for each applications wisely.


    Srrah Algheithy

    Although videoconferencing and collaborative tools have proven effective in maintaining business during the post-covid era there are some aspects of post-merger integration that may be impossible to truly accomplish virtually. There are many aspects of post-M&A-integration which could effectively be accomplished virtually such as IT and HR system integration. However, one of the key silos is cultural integration which depends heavily on the day-to-day interactions, work environment, and culture which cannot easily be reflected or quantified virtually. Such aspects of integration would be difficult to address or even identify virtually and would most likely only show up once face-to-face activities are resumed.


    Joaquin Blanco Diez

    A hybrid mode of video and face to face is needed to sustain integration in the long term, specially form projects of 1-2 years. Even before COVID is was quite challenging in some cases to maintain energy and drive during the integration phase and that is something that would be definitely penalize if we only have virtual interaction with teams


    Boon Hon Low

    I believe it will be very challenging. Frequent engagement with target management and staff over videoconferences may lead to fatigue in attending virtual meetings. Already there are reports on productivity deterioration for prolonged remote working and virtual engagement. I would suggest that integration timeline be designed more generously to allow more time for people to understand, appreciate and implement the changes. This may lead to better outcome.


    Mohammad Alageeli

    It is challenging to conduct meetings between companies virtually especially when two companies use different setups. Not to mention the challenge when setting meetings in different time zones.


    Evgeny Gorbunov

    It will be a challenging. People behaviour is different over video calls although it may be a helpful initially but certainly cannot replace the face-to-face meetings.

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