Prepare to merge

Why the merging process of big companies can be a complex one from an IT industry point of view.

  • E-Mail
By  Eliot Beer Published  April 1, 2007

Some people love change - they thrive on the opportunities thrown up by major upheavals, surf the wave of adrenalin that courses through their veins at the mention of restructuring.

And then there are the rest of us. For most people - and certainly for me - organisational change is an uneasy process, where even distant changes can have wide-reaching effects.

For many IT professionals, change can bring much more practical implications. Take the merger of two large organisations - say, banks.

Once the smiles and handshakes are over and the hard work begins, IT can potentially be one of the most complex areas to tackle in the merger process, especially for firms with complex IT systems.

Bank A and Bank B will probably have very different approaches to information - different databases, different CRM systems, several small but inexplicably vital custom- built systems which no one can quite figure out.

And once this is all sorted out, the data cleansed and merged, one set of systems (or some hybrid combination of both) agreed on - then what?

However large the resulting bank is, it will only need one IT department. Who will stay, who will go - and who will end up on top of the IT pile?

All this is obviously rather abstract - but it is set to become concrete reality for increasing numbers of organisations in the Middle East. This month saw two of the region's biggest banks announce their merger - Emirates Bank and National Bank Dubai.

Industry observers have predicted a period of consolidation in the regional financial sector for some time - this merger is likely to be just the first in a series of high-profile announcements.

And CIOs are not powerless to help ensure they come out on top, should any merger take place.

The IT organisation with the most orderly and rational systems is more likely to take the lead in any merged company - a perfect rationale for engaging in some pre-emptive rationalisation within the IT department.

IT managers can also plan for change - something which good companies should be doing already. Having procedures in place for tackling changes in personnel, systems, or business structure will pay dividends whether or not a merger happens.

As the Middle Eastern economies mature, increased pressure on companies will make mergers and acquisitions a fact of life. IT will always be a secondary player in M&A deals - but this doesn't mean IT managers have to sit idly by and await their fate.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code