BY Fraser Tennant
One of the most critical ingredients for successful M&A is a differentiated ability to integrate IT and related systems effectively, according to a new report by Bain & Company.
In its ‘Process and Systems Integration: A New Source of Competitive Advantage’ report, the firm notes that successful post-acquisition IT integration requires investments that many companies fail to make, leading to complexity and spiralling costs further down the line.
Furthermore, Bain & Company’s research states that 70 percent of processes and systems integrations fail in the beginning, not in the end – burdening poor-performing companies with far higher IT costs as a percentage of revenues. The report also notes that companies find it more costly to do the next deal or add new IT applications.
“We have seen that frequent and material M&A activity contributes to higher shareholder returns,” said Laurent Hermoye, a partner at Bain & Company and co-author of the report. “This finding holds up every year, across industries. In order to bring such a repeatable M&A capability, companies need to master the integration of business processes and related systems. Complex deals result in a tedious process and systems integration, with costs that are often underestimated at the time of the due diligence. As a result, process & systems integration can make or break deal value.”
According to the report, there are six key areas companies should focus on when integrating IT systems: (i) align an IT integration thesis to guide the integration effort; (ii) integrate processes and systems with speed; (iii) appropriately allocate resources and budget; (iv) protect digital agenda while advancing integration; (v) adopt best of both IT talent, with consideration for transition needs; and (vi) reassess IT approach and costs at the time of integration.
“Serial acquirers that successfully integrate process and systems have managed to create a ‘secret formula’,” continues Mr Hermoye. “This formula delivers a more efficient and effective integration, creating the optimal set-up for moving on to the next deal.”