M&A IT Playbook & Integration Checklist

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A well-respected creator of B2B software-as-a-service or SaaS content and solutions entrusts Ensunet to bring it real-time dashboards for data visualization of its finances. The challenge is compounded by the facts that 1) the company is a serial acquirer and thus must deal with lots of disparate systems as a result of its numerous acquisitions, and 2) the company itself is a portfolio asset of a well-known private equity (PE) firm, so financial transparency is vital for stakeholders at all levels.

This company wanted to visualize a number of key performance indicators or KPIs for its business, including bookings by quarter, acquisition cost per customer, marketing-qualified leads, bookings by type, and bookings by customer, to name but a few. However, that information was hiding in a multitude of platforms, including Salesforce and its “Tableau-like” Splunk add-on; Microsoft Dynamics, with various sub-systems and sub-ledgers plugged into it; Marketo; and others.

Complicating matters was the fact that basic definitions (do “new customers” include “former customers who have returned?”) required stakeholder consensus. And the data itself was often buried in systems like Paycom, UserIQ, and Survey Monkey, which are notoriously difficult to query.

The client thus required that all of the definitions get locked down; all of the data be properly structured; and then that the properly-structured data be available as dashboard visualizations, rendered in the cloud-based Tableau Online platform.

Ensunet worked with numerous client stakeholders, including their business application owners and database administrators to ensure that the data was properly structured, and that the Tableau solution would include the proper layers of access and security for the right people who would be viewing it.

This required analysis of their existing security setup for applications access. It involved identifying—and closing—gaps in the current data. We reviewed existing reports, and the manual processes for creating them, in order to structure the upcoming automation and add new features and functionality requested by the client. And we needed to write custom coding to query the more intransigent data repositories.

The new system—created remotely—now provides real-time automated reporting with dynamic interaction, available from virtually any internet-connected device. It’s possible zoom out for big-picture perspective, or drill down for granular detail (who sold what, on what date, for example). It’s also possible to set date-range sliders, making it simple to spot trends that had previously been hidden.

The new solution not only makes data easier to see, it also improves speed and accuracy. Manual effort for data wrangling in Excel (not to mention report-building in PowerPoint) has been reduced by 90 percent. Errors have been reduced to zero.

Ensunet worked with the client’s business-transformation consultant. We provided the project’s program manager, Tableau lead, Tableau developer, and Tableau trainer. We worked with numerous client subject matter experts (SMEs) as well as their business application owners, database administrators, and other stakeholders and end users. We worked through all project decision-making, testing, SME interviews, development, training, and status reporting.

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