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Merging CRM Systems after Takeovers November 11, 2015

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Uncategorized.
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Maze

Over my career I have had considerable first-hand experience with Takeovers, Mergers and Acquisitions. Having been involved in the maze of confusion that is often apparent during these sometimes turbulent times has made me reflect on what I consider the three most important elements that need attention when dealing with the CRM (Customer Relationship Systems) as part of the merger process.

Often the priority for this is lower than it should be, with obviously ERP and Payroll being most important, however I would contend that if left for too long, this inaction could be seen as a risk to the business.

(1.) Pick the Best System

Just because you are the acquirer does not necessarily mean that you have the best system. Look very closely at the two systems and select the best of breed, what will give the best results and when looking at the data. Where is the better data and data structures housed? Running the two systems side by side in the short term is also possible, however this should be curtailed as soon as possible. You also need to consider existing integrations and how this will impact the process of replacing or switching off a system.

(2.) Migrate all the relevant data – quickly

Takeovers are often synergistic and both systems will more than likely have details relating to the same customers, which is probably the reason you purchased or took over the business in the first place. There may be a considerable amount of contact and activity data that can be very valuable when amalgamated. Data migrations are often “hard” however this is one that should be undertaken. Take the pain and then interrogate this data. You will also find a level of duplication that is often not easy to discern, where company names are spelt differently in the two systems. BNZ in one system and Bank of New Zealand in another. It is important to get this cleaned up as soon as practical.

(3.) Consider the risk of data walking away

There are often personnel casualties with mergers and takeovers, sometimes rightsizing is undertaken and sometimes people just leave of their own accord. If these are client facing people, and if they have access to the CRM system, suitable strategies need to be enacted to ensure that the data integrity is not breached and that existing customers and prospects within these systems are contacted and appraised of the situation.

Remember this data is one of the assets that you would have paid for as part of the deal.

Conclusion

Planning for this should be high on your agenda during the planning phase of the acquisition, and I would also suggest that even if there is a CRM system in place that has fallen into disuse and is not being used effectively, that consideration is made to evaluate this system, as the static data may well be useful.

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