Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are full of challenges. Even though the legal and financial ramifications of M&As get the most attention, there's another area to watch out for: data. You're not just merging books and acquiring intellectual property or physical facilities; you're acquiring a whole company's worth of data. Your data management in the M&A process will have a profound effect on the success of your newly enlarged enterprise. Here are some of the challenges to prepare for.
Knowing your own data is difficult enough but knowing what data your new partner has can be even more challenging. Nevertheless, it's vital to determine exactly what data you'll be dealing with in the future. What if the company has personal information subject to a foreign law like the GDPR? Are you prepared to handle data in accordance with these regulations?
Likewise, the other company could have lots of ROT (redundant, obsolete, trivial) data or dark data that complicates your merger. You need to know what their data contains so that you can manage it properly. Knowing the data early in the acquisition process is a smart way to get started. With this information in hand, you can unify your data more easily.
Odds are your organization and your acquisition or merger company organize data indifferent ways. Hopefully you've already demolished your data silos and have your data centrally managed with automation. Your acquisition, however, may not have employed the best data management practices. If their data is segmented into silos across various departments, you'll need intelligent data automation to crack open those silos and see what's inside.
Even when both businesses have created perfect data lakes, completely free of silos, there can still be challenges to overcome. Essentially, your two businesses are like two giant silos now. To truly merge your data, you'll need to standardize how you classify and store your files. Automation will be absolutely essential here, since the volume of data between two organizations is likely to exceed hundreds of terabytes.
Your data is more vulnerable during an M&A than ever. The vast majority of data breaches occur when employees unknowingly fall victim to phishing schemes or malicious emails. Normally, most employees are cautious about what they open and filter out potentially dangerous emails. But during mergers and acquisitions, employees let their guard down. They're told to expect emails from another organization, and so they're more likely to fall prey to cybercriminals.
In addition, as you bring employees from the other organization into your ecosystem, there's potential for data loss. As files get moved around and access permissions are modified, data can easily be forgotten about or lost accidentally. You need to have tools that keep track of your files for you. Relying on your staff to handle the entire data merge is likely to lead to human error, and a data breach during these delicate moments can derail your entire M&A.
If you've made it this far without any issues, congratulations. But you're not out of the woods yet. You need to integrate both businesses' data sets in order to maximize everyone's potential. If you acquired a smaller company, they can surely benefit from your vast stores of data. Your organization can likewise derive insights from their information. However, you have to integrate data before you can reap those rewards.
Before you integrate data, be sure you know the data so you only integrate the necessary data. Once you integrate the data, simplify the classification process with automation. Once you've identified and tagged all of the files between both organizations, you can easily decide where to store them, how to control access to those files, and even which files to delete. Before long, your organization will have access to the data you need, and operations will flow smoothly.
With your data integrated, you can start to analyze that data. By incorporating the data from the acquired business, you can expand your insights to cover a wider segment of the market. Your BI tools can take new data brought in from the merger and use it to fuel your dashboards. Now you're ready to get to work.
Mergers and acquisitions present several challenges but managing your data doesn't have to be one of them. By knowing the data, you can make better informed decisions on not only what can be merged, but what can be deleted. Aparavi is an intelligent, automated data management platform that can find the data, identify the data, classify that data, and empower you to make confident decisions about what data to keep and store. Get Aparavi today, no commitment, no fees, no sales reps, and find out what it can do for you.