By Romy Kaura, Senior Director M&A Integration and Services, VMware
A critical milestone in mergers and acquisitions (M&As) is Day One integration, the first day both organizations officially start working together. It sets the tone for the overall merger and can impact how well the combined organization performs in future.
M&A activities are complex, critical and have high visibility. Due diligence is imperative as often timelines are set; scope has many non-negotiable deliverables with several unknowns. Done incorrectly, Day One can disrupt organizations.
Day One orchestration is a fine art in the IT M&A integration capability model as no two integrations are exactly alike. One approach doesn’t fit every deal. IT needs to effectively assess each deal’s complexity and scale in order to adopt the right approach, one that ensures business continuity and a positive employee experience.
There’s a lot to consider before Day One takes place
In our experience, a successful Day One approach should focus on three key enablers—people, process and technology—to effectively address the forces illustrated in the inset diagram.
People: Talent retention, leadership, culture, alignment
Retaining the right talent is important for long-term M&A success. Not placing enough importance on deal rationale, strategic intent and the need to integrate two disparate cultures is an often-cited reason why M&As fail. In addition, a company culture assessment is vital to addressing risks related to an underlying micro-cultural force.
Changes must be communicated to acquired employees through change leaders, comprehensive communication plans, employee essentials, welcome events, onsite support options to personalize their experience, unstructured communication (such as storytelling), and similar efforts. Change topics include what’s different now, what systems and processes are needed for their day-to-day work, and how to get help for any issue.
Process: Assess complexity, operating model, security and compliance, change management and governance
It’s also important to understand “what to/how to/who to” types of issues, including best practices for resolution. Review the most up-to-date information security/compliance policies, systems and technology in use, and the core business model elements on both sides of the deal (including what interim operating model will be in place on Day One). The more you can articulate and document what specifically will and won’t change, the more successful the transition.
We have found the “two-in-the-box approach” works best. Leadership and key subject matter experts (SMEs) from both companies collaborate on Day One integration strategy and planning, who the decision authorities will be, the interim operating model, and performing a control group dry-run and change management—all prior to the actual Day One.
Technology: Catalyst for change, right tools for the right results (and scalability)
At VMware, IT teams leverage proven tools such as VMware Workspace ONE®, VMware Horizon® desktop virtualization and self-service capabilities to ensure seamless Day One access to networks, infrastructure and systems/tools of the both companies—in a timely and secure manner—from any device.
Workspace ONE helps provide secure access to apps and tools, including single sign-on (SSO) capabilities and a comprehensive digital app catalog, in order to deliver an engaging employee experience, enhanced productivity, optimized cost and effective change management. These capabilities are backed by enterprise-grade security and policy-driven application management that includes central monitoring.
Similarly, Horizon desktop virtualization enables seamless Day One access to acquirer network and applications (SaaS and on-premises) by providing out-of-the-box desktop environments that minimize security and compliance risks.
For M&A Day One integration and beyond, VMware products (along with enablers like people and processes) have been instrumental in meeting the needed scale in a timely, secure and seamless manner. This translates to a positive employee experience and better business results.
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