Migrating data after a merger or acquisition (M&A) is a major challenge for the companies concerned. It is business critical that all the data is consolidated and managed correctly and expertly to create a workable, sustainable structure for the newly merged company, and so the information it has at its fingertips is streamlined, efficient and authoritative.
Plus, the merged company has many other issues to contend with, such as managing the change among the teams, maintaining customer service levels, and updating its brand positioning. Most importantly, it will want to show that the deal has a return on investment and is in a stronger commercial position.
There are so many data factors to consider after an M&A: the two systems being merged may be completely incompatible; the quality of data may be inconsistent, problematic and out of date; data could be stored in multiple locations; and there may be data compliance issues.
Here’s some steps we recommend taking when migrating data after an M&A to help mitigate those issues:
Identify the stakeholders. This is important in any data migration, but especially so after a merger, when some key figures may still be jostling for position, and new roles may not be clearly marked out. It’s vital to ensure buy-in from the relevant parties, and to define who is responsible for signing off the various stages of the project.
Call in the experts. IT departments can easily be overwhelmed after an M&A, with so many systems to merge and manage. Define within the IT department who will carry out which task, to avoid duplication of effort – and to prevent anything slipping through the net – and call in a data migration vendor if the necessary skills do not reside within the IT department. Timing is crucial after an M&A, and the company needs to be in good shape inside and out, so don’t risk overruns through lack of expertise.
Locate where the data is stored. The companies may have stored their data in many different ways and in many different places. Doing an inventory of what is stored where will map out the territory and make it easier to prioritise what needs to go where and when.
Profile the data. Make sure you understand the data: is it usable and valuable, or can it be retired? Identifying data quality issues early on gives an overview of what you’re dealing with, what resources will be required, and what costs will be involved. It will also save time later on if you know exactly what you’re dealing with.
Cleanse and convert the data. Standardise the data so it is workable and relevant. Remove what is out of date, what is duplicated and what is no longer needed, and cleanse any data errors from both systems – so that the only data to be migrated is useful, current and compatible within the new business.
Use appropriate and sophisticated tools. Tried and tested tools and methodologies will take the headache away, will speed up the process, and will give a more satisfactory outcome. Our integration software technology Transformation Manager is a proven solution for handling complex data migration projects such as an M&A, and help you convert and transform data so it can be delivered in the right format to the right place and in the right way.
Test throughout. Set up tests to alert any issues at all stages of the data migration, so these can be dealt with in a timely manner – and can provide reassurance to company management.