M&A IT Playbook & Integration Checklist

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A global private equity (PE) firm with more than $40 billion in equity capital under management taps Ensunet to perform due diligence on a pending merger—and provide the vision and architecture for a future-state integrated back office encompassing both ERP and IT.

This PE had its sights on two CPG (consumer packaged goods) supply-chain manufacturers that had been in business for nearly 60 years, and had enjoyed a limited degree of cooperation and cross-ownership over the last 15 years.

As a single merged entity, there was clearly potential for synergy and growth. But the as-is state of their ERP and IT systems posed numerous daunting challenges. The more “modern” systems were running atop Windows 7, which had long since been abandoned by Microsoft. The older systems resided on a legacy server running Unix; some even ran on DOS.

Similarly, all operations were manual; nothing was integrated. Printers and scanners required manual intervention and keying into legacy systems. All of these factors took their toll on productivity, not to mention potential security issues.

Compounding the problem was the fact that there was no IT expertise in-house. Everything was outsourced, among a wide variety of vendors, with no centralized oversight, management, or control.

Ensunet crafted a hybrid model for the new merged entity, which combined the best of in-house expertise and outsourced services. In effect, Ensunet helped the new company to stand up its own IT department, which would oversee enterprise and custom application support, as well as IT infrastructure and security.

For the future-state ERP system, Ensunet led a vendor search and competition, narrowing the field from four initial entrants, eventually down-selecting to two and then just one. The new ERP system will be cloud-based, running on AWS virtual servers. The new enterprise IT system is also in the cloud; it includes business intelligence (BI) data visualization, analytics, and reporting for both financials and plant metrics.

The entire transition will follow the Ensunet-designed six- to eight-month roadmap for implementation. Importantly, it will poise the new merged entity for unprecedented 5x growth.

Ensunet supplied the project lead for this due-diligence assignment and back-office integration initiative. We worked with the PE and its consulting partner for the back office integration. We conducted interviews (via phone, due to pandemic travel restrictions) with both target companies, in strictest confidence.

We also worked with the different competing VARs in order to provide our client with a vendor-agnostic best-of-breed solution.

Finally, we outlined the roles and responsibilities of the new IT Manager/Analyst position, and helped the client with headcount-balancing to accommodate this new role.

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