IT Support for M&A: Streamlining IT Integration for Successful Mergers and Acquisitions
In today’s business landscape, merging or acquiring small businesses brings unique challenges when it comes to IT support. The task of consolidating two disparate systems requires a well-thought-out strategy.
Traditionally we had the approach of slowly transitioning, the risks involved in losing your investment due to ransomware attacks, GDPR breaches, or other cybersecurity incidents have grown enormously, and this approach is now obsolete. With potential breach costs in the tens of thousands of pounds per employee, it is imperative to approach IT integration with utmost care and urgency.
Sorting the IT as fast as possible
The simplest and most recommended strategy is to utilise a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Such as Microsoft 365 or Windows Virtual Desktops
As soon as you acquire a new business, you can immediately set up user accounts on your existing system. While this won’t work for computer systems linked to on-site equipment, it allows employees to continue using their existing IT systems while simultaneously accessing the new IT infrastructure. This streamlined approach makes transitions much simpler and faster.
By employing the VDI migration method, you can buy some time to migrate employees to new systems, such as email platforms. Users can seamlessly switch between the old and new systems on the same device, ensuring a seamless experience. This approach provides flexibility and allows for a smooth transition without disrupting productivity. For example, when migrating to a new email system, employees can continue using their old Microsoft Office 365 accounts until the transition is complete. This seamless transition minimises disruption and ensures a smooth user experience. Users can switch instantly between both systems as IT works to decommission anything that has security risks, followed by moving data and applications over. Should it not be possible to control the existing system this allows you to get up and running the same day and keep the business working, this works well where the previous supplier had terminated some services due to non payment.
Moreover, utilising the VDI approach allows for better flexibility when it comes to equipment. In many cases, the IT infrastructure of the acquired business may have been neglected, and crucial equipment may be missing. By setting up virtual desktops, you can quickly get employees up and running without relying on the performance of existing equipment. This is particularly beneficial for accountancy firms or businesses in financial services.
How much is the base audit?
When considering the integration of IT systems during an M&A process, it’s crucial to involve IT support at an early stage. Conducting a mini audit can provide you with an estimated budget, giving you a clear idea of the required investment. Additionally, a quick mini-assessment can be performed, usually in just a couple of hours, to help you evaluate the current IT infrastructure of the acquired business if you’re unsure and don’t want to commit to a full IT review immediately.
A mini-assessment would cost around £200 and may be done via site photos and documentation. An audit with a strategic plan starts from around £2000, so you would want to be fairly sure you are going ahead!
Reducing CAPEX and speeding up mergers
IT options should also consider a valuable option known as hardware as a service (HaaS). Many businesses being acquired have IT infrastructure that falls far short of requirements, necessitating the introduction of new computer equipment. HaaS allows you to lease computer equipment along with different software licences, eliminating the need for upfront capital expenditures. For instance, if you acquire a company with 15 employees, you can procure 15 computers but return eight of them once they are no longer needed. If selling the business later on, the new owner can choose to continue using the leased equipment or return it. By utilising refurbished equipment, HaaS significantly capex, even though the equipment’s lifecycle may be shorter, typically around two years is perfect for acquisitions or short-term computer usage. We don’t usually recommend BYOD due to the security risks this creates.
Managing migrations requires careful planning and equipment replacements. While it may be tempting to reuse existing equipment to cut costs, this often proves to be a costly mistake. Starting afresh with reliable, up-to-date equipment is a much better approach to ensure the long-term success of the integrated IT infrastructure. Surplus equipment can be sold or scrapped or kept for future projects. Starting with a known base greatly reduces IT support overhead costs.
In addition to IT systems, it’s essential to address other aspects of the acquired business, such as contracts for photocopiers or phone systems. These contracts can often be excessively expensive, with some businesses being sold photocopiers at three or four times the market rate. Unfortunately, when you acquire a business, you may also inherit these liabilities. It is crucial to diligently manage and terminate these contracts as soon as possible to minimise unnecessary costs. Disreputable individuals may try to exploit struggling businesses, making careful contract management a crucial aspect of the acquisition process.
To take the next steps, if you’re considering acquiring or have already acquired a business and need assistance, we’re here to help. Whether it’s exploring virtual desktop solutions or hardware-as-a-service, we can provide an estimated budget that aligns with your needs. Roughly, you should budget between £100 and £300 per user per month, encompassing various licences. Remember, the most significant risk now lies in cybersecurity, so understanding the importance of proper IT investment and support is essential to protect your investment and business operations. Get in touch, and we’ll be glad to assist you. [https://calendly.com/goodchoiceit/15min]