How Companies Use Enterprise Automation in the Merger and Acquisition Process

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) have occurred at breakneck speeds in recent years. According to The New York Times, $2 trillion worth of deals were announced in the first half of 2019, with the United States accounting for more than $1 trillion for the first time. In 2018, $2.5 trillion worth of deals were in the midst of the merger and acquisition process by mid-year, says The Times, with business leaders in 2019 striking big deals at a record pace to keep up. 

Once a M&A deal is closed, nearly all companies are faced with a problem of creating a single, cohesive business as quickly as possible. At the same time, companies are on the lookout for ways to update, modernize or transform existing IT systems. Speed and modernization are often the guiding principles for a successful merger or acquisition.

It’s well understood that in a M&A world you’re living in a multi-systems world. As a Business Technology leader, you most likely are responsible for defining the architecture the systems will lie in. Having a cloud-first strategy minimizes pain when integrating systems during the merger and acquisition process because users can potentially connect from anywhere, meaning that new employees can start using the services right away — a key KPI during an acquisition. But if you work for a well-established company, you may be dealing with on-premise applications as well. An Enterprise Automation Platform provides speed and modern workflow automation, without lacking the power and security to work across your on-prem and cloud apps. 

Obtaining the Right Information and Keeping Data Secure in the Merger and Acquisition Process

With policies like GDPR and PII in Europe cracking down on data privacy and advocating for user protection, organizations have to be sensitive with how data is treated. As a result, this influences the integration strategy a company uses during an acquisition. If you work within a subsidiary of a parent company, there’s often crucial data that you cannot directly access for security reasons. Modern Enterprise Automation can help keep things secure, while increasing the speed of data access.

Pulling Data from a Parent Company

Founded nearly two centuries ago, Canada’s #1 luxury retailer has grown into a premier shopping destination, where offering the best customer experience is a top priority. To do this (for both customers and staff), the company must pull information from multiple systems to make intelligent decisions about store staffing and escalating customer concerns. As the company is a subsidiary of a larger organization, it currently shares one Workday tenant, their HRIS system, with several other companies. Looking to build agile integrations quickly became a problem in this scenario, as several other requests were ahead of theirs, many of which were of higher priority.

By using an Enterprise Automation tool, the retailer was able to bypass the bottleneck of requests without compromising security. Workato has become the liaison between the parent company’s Workday instance and the retailer’s own systems. This has allowed them to create systems to collect feedback on customer service and view that information holistically. They can see how their employees were performing, identify trends and gaps in service, and keep accurate records for legal purposes.

The company also uses the data to refine their current in-store experiences. It allows them to identify which employees have provided exemplary customer service as well as which experiences require further review. Easily identifying who provides the best customer service allows the company to make more informed decisions about which employees to keep on during busy season, especially the holidays. 

Automating the feedback workflow also allows the data to be pushed into other systems like data visualization tools to easily identify trends in other departments such as supply chain management. This results in a continuous refinement of customer experience for a company who’s top priority is enhancing CX.

Harmonizing Multiple HR Data Feeds and Democratizing Integration in a Merger

One of North America’s leading oil and gas companies had recently merged with another energy leader in the midst of deploying Workday as their HR system. In merging with another company, leadership realized that they would have to integrate with each other’s HR platforms for the short term. With the new company using SAP as their HR system, it became clear that they’d have serious information silos on their hands as data for new employees would solely exist in SAP until they could rationalize the two systems together. 

The company needed a solution that would meet their vision to democratize integration access to users across business with non-technical backgrounds including smart Business Systems analysts. After consulting industry analysts like Forrester and Gartner, they found Workato positioned amongst top iPaaS solutions and selected the firm after a stringent evaluation process and scoring analysis.

1. Consolidating Multiple HR Data Feeds Using Workato

The company has consolidated multiple HR feeds and streamlined their IT resource provisioning workflows. When a new employee is added to Workday, Workato automatically creates a new user in SailPoint, their IAM app. SailPoint then provisions that new user across all associated systems that they need access to. Workato also creates a new user in their ITSM app, granting new hires access to the right workstations, building access and hardware – such as laptops, desktops, cell phones, and security cards. 

2. Standardizing Data Access and Democratizing Integration Ownership

Previously, if you wanted to get data out of the HR systems, you would have needed a technical specialist. Now, the company has created a standard way to obtain its HR data so that other departments and users—such as Finance and Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) — can all consume it in the same manner. Staff can now access and distribute HR data seamlessly, without needing to extract it from multiple sources or contact IT.

Standardizing data access also gives the company a strong sense of security in its HR data, as they couldn’t see who was using it previously. This affected auditing, as they were previously unable to make certain changes to data—simply due to the fact that they couldn’t see and, therefore, didn’t know what it would impact. Now they can easily audit who’s using the data, which makes updating it easier and lowers risk. By standardizing access to HR data, the company was able to increase employee productivity by 80%.

Reducing time to value, consequently, was the biggest win, according to the company. They wanted an easy-to-use tool that anyone despite their technical background could use to bring a concept from idea to fruition in a matter of days, with guardrails in place to maintain data integrity. 

Building Roads and Highways in the Merger and Acquisition Process With Automation

Though many companies will have clear use cases for automation during the merger and acquisition process, the need to continue optimizing doesn’t go away after the initial bridge between systems is built. Integrating your core systems is a great first step, but it’s important to consider the digital transformation of the entire organization – not just your core systems.

If you choose to build your own integrations between your core systems, it is a lot like building a highway – there’s more to it than you may initially think. You’ll need maintenance crews, tolls (or areas where you have to stop to make an exchange before you continue traveling). The same thing applies when you build massive pipes to pass large volumes of data — you’re going to need a developer, you’re going to need connectors, you’re going to need technical people to keep the system up and running. That’s a lot of expensive resources, and when speed is a top priority, it can become a bottleneck.

Once the highways are created, you may start to notice other areas of opportunity that could use acceleration. Looking across business, for example, you may see teams that could benefit from an automated process built by a low code platform that they could oversee themselves — including Order to Cash, Employee Onboarding, Service Request and Approvals and more. In doing so, you could give back those team members hours per week, which they could then dedicate to more fruitful, high-value tasks. 

Empowering Teams in Acquisitions With Automation

While there are certainly different scenarios for where and how to use automation in M&A, new team members can find comfort in knowing that they can control a lot of their own work.

Setting them up with a toolkit or integration tool that allows them to speed up their own processes and not have to worry about administrative tasks allows them to be more productive, grants them a sense of identity at a time where they feel like it may have been lost, and allows the company to become gradually more efficient as more teams are introduced and owning automated processes.

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