Some of the biggest mergers and acquisitions are happening all around us. In 2021 alone we saw big brands that we recognize either merge, acquire, or make plans to do so, including Salesforce, Slack, Uber, Facebook, and Adobe to name just a few.
With business success measurements including the speed companies can implement technology to drive their business goals, it’s important more than ever for CIOs to be entrenched in the M&A process. Mergers and acquisitions are often avenues organizations take to advance their digital growth goals. It's critical for CIOs to lead the charge on technology transformation as the main focus in your M&A strategy.
Mergers and acquisitions have the potential to lead to quicker business growth, new marketing opportunities, and new talent acquisition. However, an M&A also causes inevitable pain points when dealing with technology integrations that require pre- and post-merger tech stack visibility to navigate successfully.
M&A Pain Points in Today’s Technology Landscape
With all of the excitement of an M&A comes common hurdles within tech stacks and IT architecture. In fact, a surprising 40% of M&A deal failures are caused by tech integration issues. Most pain points stem from a lack of visibility that negatively impacts integration including:
- Inaccurate budgeting: When it’s hard to say how much is being spent on tooling between both business units, it’s tricky to set goals for the business as a whole.
- Higher security risk: The less you can see, the more likely you will be to miss big security issues in your tech stacks. Poor visibility also means that security probably won’t be as involved as they should be, leading to possible risks.
- Redundant or ineffective tooling: The more extraneous tools your business uses, the more complex your system becomes, which can expend unnecessary time and cost.
M&A Technology Due Diligence Checklist
When it comes to tech stacks, where do you begin with preparing for an M&A? Here’s a checklist of critical steps to get you started in building your own M&A IT Integration Playbook.
Pre-Merger and Acquisition Tech Stack Integration Due Diligence
1. Gather Tech Stack Data
Start your M&A integration preparations with a tech stack audit. This is your time to do a deep, comprehensive review of your systems and workflows, identifying the organization, governance, and roadmaps for your on-site and cloud software and open source tools.
Harness tech stack data to answer the following questions:
- What does the complete map of your organization’s tech stack look like?
- Are there gaps that should be assessed?
- Are there overlapping or redundant tools that should be condensed?
- Is the software still supported?
- Is it critical to business operations?
- What costs are associated with them and are there contracts in place?
- Are there multiple versions or licenses, and which teams “own” them?
As you begin this process, it’s also important to confirm legacy system dormant data value and whether this should be incorporated into the integration plan.
2. Continuous Monitoring of the Tech Stack
Once you’ve completed an audit and created a static list of tools, it’s still important to continuously monitor new changes that happen between the audit completion and the present day. Identifying existing tech sprawl or potential for increased tech debt as the M&A process rolls out is imperative for successful tech stack management.
Help your team keep tabs on your tech stack in real-time with Private StackShare for Teams. It displays all of your tech stacks, tools, packages, team members and more are visible in a single dashboard, with reports to drill down further.
See which open source packages you’re using, with the ability to browse and search for over 8,000 open source packages from major package managers including npm, NuGet, PyPI, and RubyGems. Stack Alerts also keep you in touch with any changes made to your tech stack, by sending alerts anytime packages are added, removed, or updated in any of your connected repos.
3. Ongoing Collaboration and Communication with Tech Users
As you conduct a tech stack audit, it’s important to make sure that your business’s final tech decisions are the best fit for your teams’ current and future workflows. To find out more on this, just ask the people who regularly use the tools in question. It’s also important to stay in conversations with your teams during the merge to ensure that they continue to have the tools and training needed for success.
Private StackShare for Teams focuses on creating a collaborative environment, with Tool Profiles to show teammate discussions on every tool inside your business’s tech stack dashboard.
Post-Merger and Acquisition Tech Stack Transformation
Following a merger or acquisition, your organization has an opportunity to use this process to transform your tech stack. Take the following steps to continue your business’ growth trajectory post-M&A:
1. Assess joint capabilities with the tech stacks that each party already owns
Assess where you can blend technology landscapes. Understand what’s been working well for one side of the business that can be implemented in the other to make it better. Rid your organization of tech debt by streamlining any pieces of the tech stack that are extraneous or duplicate.
As you assess what each side’s tech decisions look like, learning from each other’s technology choices can become an opportunity for growth. Assess your merged businesses’ tech stacks with Private StackShare for Teams by easily organizing all of your organization’s tech stacks with Tags, grouping by department or use case.
2. Understand who is using the tools within your organization, and how prevalent they are out in the world
As you gain an understanding of your tech stack, leverage both public and private data on each of the tools. Who in the company is successfully using each tool? Who in the public world has seen success with it? When cleaning up your tech stacks, you want to use tried-and-true tools that your team will find helpful and that are proven to be functional by other users.
With Private StackShare for Teams, your team can use features such as Tool Profiles to see who’s using each tool internally and which companies are using it publicly. You can also search across private and public stacks and view separate public and private Stack Decisions by easily switching contexts in your Feed.
3. Create ongoing visibility of the new application landscape
A static, one-time audit isn’t enough to set your newly merged or acquired organization up for ongoing tech stack success. Do you know what changes are happening in the day-to-day of your newly-merged business?
Along with displaying all of your tech and the people using it in one dashboard, Private StackShare for Teams also lets you keep up with tech stack decisions and changes in real-time. Whenever someone merges in a Pull Request containing a stack change within a connected repo, it’s recorded for your team to see. First the change is automatically documented in your Feed. Then, the stack profile is updated in the form of a private Stack Decision.
4. Define the best way forward for each application
Look for inefficiencies in policies and procedures when revising your IT infrastructure. Be sure to evaluate operating stability, End of Life (EOL) of assets, and any functional deterioration.
Through the Tool Adoption Stages function in Private StackShare for Teams, you can categorize any tool listed on StackShare into an adoption stage that can be viewed only by your private company, allowing you to decide the best next steps for each of your business’s applications.
Guarantee M&A Tech Stack Success
As the CIO, work with your C-suite to help guarantee successful pre- and post-merger and acquisition transformation. Seize the opportunity to modernize your tech stack. There’s no better opportunity than an M&A to refocus on outdated systems.
Use tech stack visibility for future-proofing tech stack decisions. With your deep review of existing systems and integrations, use this as an opportunity to transition platforms that allow for increased integration, faster speeds, and cost reductions.
Amidst the stress and chaos of an M&A comes the opportunity for growth and learning. All of us at StackShare look forward to hearing about your challenges and your stories of overcoming them. We and our community of developers, CIOs, and IT professionals are here to support you as your business enters this new chapter.