- Integration teams should be involved in diligence.
- Get them in as early as possible.
- Have open lines of communication.
Integration is often cited as the reason for failed M&A deals. If this is seen as a consistent obstacle to successful transactions, leadership needs to be proactive about addressing the underlying cause of failed integration. More often than not, this underlying cause is the integration team not being brought into the deal process early enough. Do this, and ultimately the deal will have a much better outcome.
Get Involved in Diligence Reports
So why is it that integration teams are not brought into a deal until the last minute? It can be because of limited resources, poor time management, or failure to realize how important it is for an integration team to have a complete comprehension of the deal in its entirety. Integration specialists should be involved in due diligence and have eyes on that teams’ reports, as they are the ones who rely on that information to create the integration plan. If there is factually incorrect information or data in the due diligence reports, the integration team’s plan will miss key points or have unnecessary tasks, leading to issues during integration.
Operating Model Design
Another phase of the deal process that integration teams should be included in is when the operating model is designed. Ideally, this is developed before the deal closes. By involving the integration team in this process, they will be able to fully understand the business case and align the integration strategy. When the integration team can understand the deal scope (who is impacted and how) early on, they can help create the integration post-close plan more effectively.
Optimize Integration Planning
Weekly checkins can be a great way to optimize the integration planning process. Whether that checkin is 5 minutes or an hour, it should be a standard practice as a way to make sure the deal is moving along smoothly and for everyone to be on the same page. Including the integration team in these checkins is important, as it may be one of the only ways they are able to get consistent updates on any roadblocks or red flags they may want to consider for their integration plan. This also serves as a way for the integration team to know what the rest of the team’s priorities are when it comes to the success of the deal post-close.
Integration teams are speaking up about the importance of early involvement in M&A. Business leaders need to listen to what these teams are saying in order to close more deals with a successful long term outcome, integration needs to start parallel to due diligence. Not only does this lessen the stress of integration itself, but allows for all teams to work together and produce better results.
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