If your business has grown and acquired or merged with other companies, you face a whole raft of logistical challenges.
Perhaps the most pressing is duplication of departments and services. When you acquire another company, you’ve suddenly got two HR departments, two marketing departments, two customer service departments and so on. You need a strategy to streamline them and reduce overlap.
It’s also highly likely that the acquired company is using different IT systems to your own. When that happens, you face major problems. Do you try and integrate the systems? Do you migrate one set of systems to the other? Do you take the opportunity to replace both with more flexible and future-proof systems?
Whichever direction you take, you need to act fast to stop problems escalating. One of our clients – a global loyalty and benefits company – learned this after a long series of major acquisitions. Over time, nearly 30 different companies were absorbed by the group, each with its own structures, processes, procedures and IT services.
Over time, this became a big deal. To highlight one problem, the group’s data centre services were being delivered from 17 internal facilities, as well as via 38 separate contracts with 20 external providers. Just as bad, dozens of related departments relied on a huge, fragmented range of software, hardware and hosting. This not only hampered business efficiency and prevented the group from having a joined-up view of its own data, but it also meant that it had less leverage when negotiating preferential pricing for its IT contracts.
Rationalising systems and structures
It may seem obvious, but the first step you need to take to take control of fragmented IT systems is to thoroughly understand what you’re dealing with.
This is usually easier said than done. When we worked with the loyalty and benefits company mentioned above, our key priority was to gain a comprehensive insight into its complex supplier arrangements, data centre hosting, cloud services, applications and infrastructure, budget structures and compliance obligations.
Only once that work had been done could we create a Data Centre and Cloud Services strategy to transform the client’s IT systems at every level. To deliver it, we undertook a three-step process:
1. Evaluating the business and the cloud. This involved assessing the current state of the company’s IT, prioritising cloud initiatives and assessing value and readiness.
2. Mitigating key risks. Here we identified cloud risks and roadblocks, building strategies to mitigate them.
3. Completing the cloud strategy. This saw us define a strategic target state, review the impact on the business and finalise an action plan.
As a result of this process, we agreed an objective of designing and executing a global hosting strategy for the group business. Core to this consolidation was delivering a high proportion of software services from the public or private cloud, retiring those that were no longer needed and moving the different areas of the business to shared systems.
Every business is different, so creating a strategy for your company would be tailored to your own circumstances – and, most importantly, to your business goals. In the case of our client, a consolidation of services in the cloud led to the ongoing realisation of these objectives:
· Reducing costs – Total data centre hosting operational costs are much lower.
· Consolidation – The IT group can now operate as a global group capability
· Agility – Data centre and application services for new business offerings can be delivered quickly.
· Focus – IT resource allocation to business value-add requests and innovations has increased.
So, if you have undertaken mergers or acquisitions and you need expert insight on how to consolidate your IT and data systems, know that help is at hand. Get in touch today to learn how we can help.