M&A IT Playbook & Integration Checklist

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A global enterprise tries to spin off one of its lines of business—but the IT for this all-new entity quickly spins out of control, running $25 million over budget. Ensunet is tapped to staunch the bleeding, bringing proven program-management best practice to an initiative with conflicting priorities and multiple missed deadlines.

The intent of the spin-off was to create a new global enterprise, replete with its own IT infrastructure and security to support operations and thousands of employees worldwide. Notably, this new company would need to adhere to scores of regulations around the world, searching for and finding the “high-water mark” of the most stringent legislation. And in an age where most servers, data, and applications are migrating to the cloud, this company mandated that everything be done on-premise—a challenge unto itself, compounded by the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

When Ensunet was brought in, the project, initially budgeted at $25 million, was already $25 million over-budget. An Agile/Scrum approach was allowing things to slip through the cracks. Swim lanes, lines of responsibility, and escalation plans were not established. Basic questions of who-does-what and who-reports-to-whom had never been asked, or answered.

Ensunet provided a turnaround expert, a “recovery” program manager with years of experience, dating back to his days in the military, building bridges for the U.S. Army and serving during Operation Desert Storm. That kind of life-and-death experience proved invaluable here; as he put it, “Building the first bridge is hard. After that, they’re all the same.” He applied the proven best practices of the Project Management Institute, or PMI, to this spin-off challenge—and ended up “building bridges” in the process.

Ensunet created an original project charter, defining what was being done, why, who was funding what, and who reported to whom. This was based on the original master services agreement and its supporting addenda, as well as crude project data that had been basically captured in 2-D spreadsheets.

Importantly, we also polled the stakeholders from the new entity’s various lines of business, building consensus around the “vital few” factors deemed essential for success.

Specifically, Ensunet worked on two-factor authentication for mobile security; HR/email for thousands of employees scattered around the world; on-premises infrastructure for servers, racks, and cabling; and much more.

Ensunet supplied the veteran program manager for this project. We worked with the company’s lead integration partner, the line-of-business stakeholders within the newly-formed enterprise, a diligent team of project managers, and a wide range of vendors, whom we wrangled and managed to get in-line and on-budget. We helped to manage RFPs and maintain deadlines.

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