M&A Integrations: Untangling the Notoriously Messy and Complex

16 Oct 2023

by Ardoq

If you’ve ever been a part of an M&A integrations project, you know some financial jujitsu is about to go down. At its core, it’s a consolidation exercise – but it’s not just two of everything. There are extreme nuances and legacy aspects to consider when making future state decisions. Right-fitting the new organization with the right mix of software and tools is a daunting task. Closing the deal (divestiture or acquisition) is hard enough at the corporate level – and although the technology integration is typically a laggard, it is critical to moving forward.

“I’m really excited to see the ability to drive insight and increase performance in the M&A integration space through technology enablement… Previously there've been drawbacks specific to M&A integration around 1) the tight timelines to execute a deal, 2) the ability to get the tools and solutions up and running in that tight timeline and 3) the availability of data… We’ve seen significant improvements on all of those fronts.”

- Alex Torgerson, Director, Global M&A, Slalom

No team understands this pain better than Slalom’s M&A Division. Headquartered in Seattle, their M&A team has supported acquisitions across industries and with a wide variety of global brands. Ardoq has become a critical part of their toolkit when it comes to successful M&A roadmapping for their clients. 

Our very own Patrick Girasole had the pleasure of co-presenting our joint approach with Miranda Mason, Managing Director at Slalom, during Slalom’s recent mergers and acquisitions roundtable - and elaborate on how Slalom is using Ardoq to accelerate their M&A integration. 

Trimming the Fat and Grabbing Opportunities

When it comes to the chaos of M&As, ideally, you’re able to roll with the punches while throwing a few of your own. But how do you trim just enough fat to unearth key opportunities without losing the flavor? To make it only about dollars and cents belies the complexity of M&A integrations. It’s about positioning your company to navigate risks effectively and proactively spot opportunities on the horizon.

“Ardoq can identify cost savings within the technology portfolio by highlighting those redundant systems. However, we all know that the hardest part of actually realizing these cost savings is the decommissioning. In Ardoq, you can model out future state scenarios. For example, if we wanted to eliminate X, we can show the impacts and dependencies of doing so…It’s rarely as simple as just removing one thing.” 

- Patrick Girasole, Solution Specialist at Ardoq

In the dizzying whirlwind of business, plotting a course to the future successfully isn’t just a strategic necessity; it’s a survival skill akin to mastering a unicycle in a stampede. Effective M&A integration planning begins with a keen understanding of the organization’s current state. Conducting a thorough analysis allows you to identify key opportunities to streamline and optimize without compromising essential functions. 

Gartner TIME model assessment

Miranda Mason, Managing Director Technology Strategy at Slalom, recommends the following high-level process:

  1. Get a clear overview of application inventories for each company: The data for this may lie in a CMDB or across spreadsheets. 
  2. Load a business capability map: This map then becomes the point of reference for the integrated organization’s future state. Ardoq has developed industry specific maps to quicken time to value but there are also numerous reference models recommended by various frameworks as a starting point. 
  3. Map current technology to the future state capabilities: This helps identify areas of redundancy, applications that deliver little value, and overlaps in tools that largely perform the same functions. This allows assessment of how effectively the applications are supporting the future capabilities when it comes to technical and functional fit.
  4. Rationalize for quick gains and clear wins: Leverage the findings of the previous assessment to categorize and create recommendations for all the applications.

“We can also use Ardoq to assess the total cost of ownership and build the business case based on those recommendations. This includes cost savings as well as areas of investment. And then developing that prioritized roadmap to help execute on the disposition recommendations. And then finally, Ardoq can be used to continue to track the ongoing business case as those application dispositions are executed on.”

- Miranda Mason, Managing Director Technology Strategy at Slalom

Treating Data as a Strategic Asset

Alex Torgerson, Director Global M&A at Slalom, started the M&A Roundtable with the following comment:

“Our goal with technology enablement in this space is to reduce friction in the integration process to be able to deliver better and more informed data-driven insights so that you really know what’s going on with your deal, with your integration. Know what the risks are, know what the opportunities are, and we want to bring solutions to the table that really identify each of those in a more efficient manner.

A key part of successful M&A integration is being able to effectively leverage, maintain, and model data. Here, Slalom has found Ardoq to be a valuable accelerator that helps pull in masses of data to make sense of it all and quickly get to a clear overview of a project’s current statement. This is made possible by Ardoq’s numerous integrations with other critical enterprise applications such as Excel, ServiceNow, and Azure, among many others.  

Data is the fuel for meaningful digital transformation, and there are fewer transformations as dramatic as an M&A integration. Ardoq’s ability to intelligently connect data across the business unveils the insights needed to kick off the execution phase. It’s not just about adopting technology; it's about leveraging data as a strategic asset. 

ardoq views block diagram capabilities graph filters

This includes aligning people, processes, systems, data, and infrastructure to create a single, shared source-of-truth that passes updates automatically. This saves multiple teams hours of effort sifting through a maze of PPT decks stored in esoteric MS Teams folders, or trying to work your way through giant Miro boards. Ardoq enables organizations to search for what is needed when it's needed - find the visual and move on with your day. 

Unraveling the Corporate Spaghetti

The technological landscape of the modern enterprise is highly complex, and that complexity is multiplied when attempting a post-M&A integration. Double the amount of data to deal with and applications to assess while trying to cut through that complexity to identify key opportunities for reducing overlaps and working more effectively. 

Translating that kind of business complexity used to be like explaining astrophysics to a goldfish. Now? Maybe we’re not quite at the level of explaining it casually over Sunday lunch, but we’re inching our way closer to it. Business complexity, once considered uncommunicable, can now be articulated with clarity thanks to the dynamic visualizations of modern EA platforms like Ardoq.

ardoq relationship view

Using Ardoq,  Slalom has been able to craft clear and concise communication strategies and dynamic data-driven visualizations that help make complex information easy to digest for their clients. This not only facilitates strategic decision-making but also ensures that the entire organization is on the same page. 

“Ardoq is meant to be crowd sourced from the organization, so it's not dependent on a small team to manage and keep the information current. We've got built-in surveys, so these can be permissioned out to application owners or department heads and those sorts of roles to quickly get some of those key data points to help drive that rationalization. You can “set it and forget it” - set the cadence with automated interval reminders and source the data from the people who know it best”

- Patrick Girasole, Solution Specialist at Ardoq

IT and Business: Making M&A Integrations Better Together

In a world where IT and business sometimes speak different languages, Slalom and Ardoq’s collaboration improves cross-team communication in terms of business value. Using Ardoq and as an accelerator in the M&A integrations space, Slalom can speedily provide order, structure, and governance to an inherently messy process and quarterback the integration. This joint approach makes the notoriously complex mergers and acquisitions work much simpler and allows companies to spend more valuable time and energy focusing on delivering value to their customers.

ardoq dashboard ciso risks

Learn more about Ardoq’s partner program or read other key success stories that partners have achieved with our platform. 


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