Regardless of whether you are the buyer or seller, your organization is in a sea of change when a merger occurs. Most of the focus is spent on altering/adapting HR policies, determining who will go and who will stay, and making sure all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed in the legal documents to be signed.
But I would content, without a smooth transition of technology the whole process can be rather rocky. Today, let’s focus on the six simple things you must do to ensure a productive and successful technology transition.
6-Point Technology Checklist
- Take a complete inventory of all your assets.
Note the hardware type, model and serial number of each physical asset. Be sure to include those devices that are in storage, at employees’ homes or in repair. Record the operating system and app levels. For example, Microsoft Windows 7 and Office 2010 may be on several computers and that is important because it is back-leveled from current offerings. Last, make sure to note any hardware owned by employees (i.e. smartphone, tablet) that has access to company data.
- Write up your technology plan.
When the inventory for both companies is complete, it is the time for the technology committee to gain concurrence on platform standards and put together an acquisition and training plan. If one company uses Apple technology and the other is Microsoft based, this committee will have to determine which technology wins. There may be departments where the technology needs to stay in place (i.e. art/graphics department) and that needs to be noted.
This plan also must identify duplicate and outdated hardware. You might recommend shifting 10 desktops from company A to B when the merger occurs. Or retiring 25 iPads because they are five years old and replacing them with something new.
It also needs to include a general budget for trying out different technology, training employees on new systems and renting, leasing or purchasing new equipment.
- Review your space requirements.
Find out if the plan is to lay off some employees or attempt to squeeze most employees into one company location. Determine if there is room for these employees. If there is not, will the employees work from home or in a temporary space? In either case, you will need to calculate the cost of technology rentals and office space.
- Pitch the plan to management.
While it may be difficult to gain the attention of upper management during these turbulent times, it is important to get 30 minutes on their calendar to gain concurrence of the plan. Skinny down your recommendations to only the items that need their decision. Ask for their agreement of the plan and if there are any action items from the meeting, complete them right away.
- Assign a project manager.
This individual will have the responsibility of communicating, updating and gaining consensus of the plan. They will identify areas when and if dates slip, other items will be impacted. Initially, a weekly conference call should be held. When you are within two weeks of the merger, daily conference calls should take place.
- If applicable, train employees on “new” technology.
If your employees are expected to use an entirely new ordering system or are switching from Apple to Android technology, there is going to be a learning curve involved in the process. Give employees the training and tools needed to be successful in their jobs.
In conclusion, while melting two organizations can be stressful and challenging, it is important to look at all the technology options available to you as the merger unfolds. This may be a great opportunity to enhance processes with faster hardware, better apps which results in more productive and satisfied employees.
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