Beckway Insights: Good Things Come to Those That Do Not Wait

Good Things Come to Those That Do Not Wait

One of United States’ largest West Coast tech firms, that has rolled in over 140 companies since inception, has a core philosophy, the sooner you can actualize the top and bottom-line value, the better. Or in other words, they rip that integration band aid off as soon as possible.

In our partnership with financial sponsors, we have observed themes in underperforming acquisitions or roll-ups, which center around deficient execution of integration initiatives. Experiences include:

  • Lack of a robust and comprehensive work plan and ineffective project management.
  • Failing to understand the market / customer impacts, not locking down the largest customers soon enough.
  • Allowing people, technology, and operation issues to linger too long before decision making.
  • Not properly tending to people; losing “A Players” and over estimating executives’ capabilities to drive real change.
  • Finally, and most frustratingly, not deliberately driving the known and newly discovered synergies to completion – and even worse, incurring additional costs!

We are certainly not saying that integration is easy, quite the opposite, and most of all, time is not your friend. There are degrees of difficulty, and each integration has unique challenges, but the best results come from focusing on the things that unleash performance, removing duplicate ways of working, and getting people moving again instead of waiting for maximum clarity.

Best practices for supporting an acquisition:

  • Solidify swim lanes – Use a structured and documented approach to form the functional plans for each key business category (Marketing and Sales, Operations, HR, Finance, Technology, Supply Chain, R&D, etc.).
  • Define and staff up on process management – Implement a strong PMO, with a systematic review process to expedite decision making by you and your teams. Put experts in the PMO and give them authority.
  • Leverage expertise and hands-on support – Use functional experts to assist your team leaders, as they already have day jobs. Put SMEs in each of the critical swim lanes.
  • Use the right tools – Use standardized process maps, perform side by side stack ups of everything from technology solutions to business services providers.
  • Make quick talent and leader decisions – Formally or informally learn who has the performance and potential you need “in the boat” and make the tough decisions as early as possible.
  • Commit to robust communications and follow-up – A complete communications plan should be enabled and used repeatedly – internally and externally. Don’t assume everyone understands the plan.

For more information on integration support, contact Beckway’s PMO Practice Lead, Chuck Shifferd.