When it comes to business deals, sometimes things don’t go according to process. In the case of Mergers and Acquisitions, it’s possible that certain teams like records and information management/governance may become involved later than they’d like.
This can be due to a variety of things: sensitivity of the deal, not understanding the value that the records and information team can provide to support the deal, or fear of sensitive information leaks or data breaches from either party.
While part one and part two of this blog series focuses on how to prepare yourself ahead of time, in this final mergers and acquisitions post, we’re going to give you a game plan for when things don’t go as you wish they had and you find yourself in a time crunch.
Step 1: Assess the Situation
We’ve all been there.
You’re quickly looped in on a project that sounds extremely exciting… until you hear the deadline you’ll need to hit is uncomfortably close. Too close. As panic-inducing as these situations can be, the most important step is to remain calm and assess the situation.
This means getting as much accurate information as you can on the deal and organizing it into a way that can then be turned into an actionable game plan.
These might be actions like:
- Determining the key contacts from both companies
- Creating a small core working team within RIM who will be dedicating their time to the project
- Creating a secure, central collection space for information
If these actions have already been taken, gain access to them immediately and get your footing on what else has already happened to avoid duplication of work.
Step 2: Prioritize & Set Expectations Properly
Regardless of the amount of pressure you’re under to meet a deadline, be sure to review the full scope of the project to ensure you’re able to meet the requested deadlines while mitigating risk of a mistake or leak.
This means talking to the core M&A deal team and figuring out what needs to be done immediately to meet the needs of both organizations while also protecting the personal identifiable information (PII) that may be in both systems.
If you discover that the scope of the project is too large for your team to execute with confidence, you should move on to the next step.
Step 3: Advocate for Extra Resources
Situations such as M&As are the reason that having a strong information management process and system in place is critical.
Either way, your team may have other, existing projects they’re working on that include critical business processes.
To prevent throwing off the team’s project roadmap by having them taken away from these standard business processes and/or projects, speak to your leadership team about bringing in extra team members or resources to support this additional load.
Some things you might do in this step include:
- Find an external partner with experience in sophisticated integration management processes who can help accelerate completion with best practices.
- Pull team members with relevant experience from other departments who can help.
- Seek expert advice and support to ensure a smooth integration and help mitigate potential risk of lost information.
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Step 4: Integrate Yourself into the Process
Every M&A deal that’s successful includes a cross-functional team representing all departments or functions with a master source of data, as well as subject matter experts who can add value through understanding the contents of files and what should be included.
Find a way to collaborate regularly and keep abreast of their latest activities while lending your records and information management team’s insights and expertise in optimal ways.
Other actions that are important to do:
- Determine the potential volume and type of information you will be receiving by requesting access to the Virtual Data Room.
- In the unlikely event the IT team has not been briefed, be sure to loop them in as well as they’ll have many of the same data concerns as the RIM team.
Step 5: Conduct a Post-Mortem
Even though the deal has been closed and the announcements have been made, your work must continue to enable future success.
Your team should be proud of the work they’ve done under pressure, but there are several important things to discuss with your leadership team to prevent last-minute scrambles like the one you just experienced.
As an information management leader, you should have a post-mortem meeting with the internal team to discuss how to be more successful going forward. You’ll want to discuss the following:
- Impress upon leadership that it is key to have the information management team involved as early as possible.
- Ensure your information management team has the appropriate staff and budget to effectively manage any future deals.
M&A deals remain steady and will continue to be a part of business.
For a deeper dive into the intersection of information management and mergers & acquisitions, check out our eBook, Managing Information Through Transition: The Mergers & Acquisitions Playbook.