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M&A: How to achieve a successful culture integration

UK merger and acquisition (M&A) activity is fast becoming known as the go-to method for achieving diversification, market growth and increased profit margins. However, in an effort to focus on these areas, the integration of the two separate company cultures can be forgotten. This can lead to significant problems in the future. So, what can businesses do to ensure that culture is protected?

Identify a target culture and plan to achieve it

In the wake of M&A activity, organisations should identify their ideal company culture. They should then decide the actions that need to be taken to achieve it. This starts with an initial evaluation of the current culture as well as a business health-check of key markers such as employee motivation. Once an assessment has been made, it is then possible to determine how the planned changes will affect the business’ four key areas:

  • People
  • Processes
  • Systems
  • Infrastructure

Satisfy the workforce

Failing to consider company culture during M&A activity can leave employees feeling alienated from the organisation. As a result it can have a direct impact on performance and wellbeing. With this in mind, HR teams must ensure that employees are engaged in the process of change and understand its trajectory. A happy team will ensure that strategic targets are met, and employee turnover doesn’t skyrocket.

Manage the project

Culture change, like any other project, requires clear and decisive management. The support of a Portfolio Management Office (PMO) can provide stakeholders with increased visibility across initiatives. It can enable them to quickly address any potential HR issues that may arise. Furthermore, it can also help to drive effective communication. This means that everyone is aware of any developments or changes to working practices.

It will take time

Organisations need to appreciate that it can take it can take up to 12 months to fully integrate a new company culture. Getting the process right the first time is critical. In order to prepare for this, organisations should provide an appropriate buffer period and seek external advice at the earliest opportunity.

 To discuss how to make the most of any M&As that your company may be planning, please contact Peter Marsden, Debora Marras or another member of our team.

Reasons to prepare for Microsoft support deadlines

In 2020 Microsoft will be ending support for both its Windows 7 operating system and Office 2010. This means that any devices running these editions will soon lose support. Here are five reasons why organisations should already be preparing to avoid this by updating their software now.

1. Protection is crucial

Following the support deadline, there will be no new security patches, upgrades or refreshes for the out of date software. Consequently businesses will be entirely on their own. Therefore, failing to update could leave systems open to cyber-attacks and malware.

2. Updates take time and lots of it

The switch across to Windows 10 and Office 365/2016 may not be a quick and simple procedure. For instance, all peripheral devices such as computer mice, keyboards and printers will need to be assessed to determine whether they support Windows 10. Considering other challenges along the way, a digital transformation such as this could take between one and two years depending on the size of the organisation.

3. Staff will need training

While some staff may feel comfortable operating on different versions of software, others may find the changes difficult to adjust to. If preparations don’t begin now, it might be too late to factor this in and employees could be left unable to do their jobs.

4. Costs will run high

Businesses should also be aware of underestimating costs. Senior managers and stakeholders must understand the scale of the change to guarantee that financial investment is available for a smooth and successful transition. This includes:

  • Budgeting for replacements of incompatible physical equipment
  • Reduced productivity during the migration period
  • Provision of new software licences.

5. Your organisation will benefit

Organisations will be pleased to hear that there is a silver lining to all this change. By updating to the cloud-based Office 365, employees will be granted licence access to their files and Office software on up to five devices. This will enable shared access to content and support remote and flexible working.

What now?

Updating IT systems can be daunting at the best of times, so a major change such as this is likely to leave some business owners quaking at the thought. However, they should consider the whole process as a project to be managed from beginning to end, with a clear plan in place. Subsequently the support deadline may give organisations the opportunity to embrace meaningful transformation at the same time.

Read our full article for CEO Today on Microsoft support deadlines.

To discuss how to begin the migration process and make the most of your software update, please contact Peter Marsden or another member of the team here at Entec Si.

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