M&A IT Playbook & Integration Checklist

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A regional player in the competitive veterinary-specialty-hospital sector sought to update its aging systems, which paved the way for an aggressive acquisition strategy across the country, including the rapid integration of people, systems, and vendors during the transition period. Ensunet was initially engaged for the technology roadmap; owing to our success with this project, we were then retained throughout the ensuing acquisitions, which expanded this client’s footprint from three locations to eleven in less than two years.

Initially, the client’s operation was saddled with antiquated systems and processes. The “ERP” was QuickBooks, running locally. There was no standardized reporting, nor was there a platform for data analytics. Crucially, there was no IT architectural vision nor roadmap for platforms. Automation for key systems, such as Accounts Payable, was nonexistent. And ominously, there was a serious shortfall when it came to cybersecurity considerations.

All of the company’s IT functions were managed by outside vendors, further complicating the situation and the client’s ability to manage it.

The CFO sought a way to create a technology roadmap which would align IT with business objectives. She thus wanted to balance internal resources with external expertise, to reduce costs while maximizing capacity.

Ensunet’s first assignment was the technology roadmap, which stipulated both a new ERP and cloud-based data warehouse, along with an analytics platform to enable real-time business intelligence and decision-making. Ensunet drafted and ran multiple RFPs (requests for proposals) and among numerous competing vendors, negotiating with them on the client’s behalf based on their capabilities, pricing, and timing to implement.

Based on Ensunet’s future-proof ERP strategy, along with the long-sought automation of finance tools and standardization of hospital-management systems, the client was poised to execute its aggressive acquisition strategy—with Ensunet playing an expanded role beyond its initial tech-roadmap assignment.

Ensunet worked with the client as they conducted multiple acquisitions, in both the sign-to-close phase and post-close value-creation phase (including the management of the IT portions of the various TSAs or Transition Services Agreements). Among the systems under Ensunet’s purview were the time-and-expense (T&E) system, migration to Office 365, wireless networks, capacity for (AWS) cloud-based file transfers of medical image scans and other hospital-management systems, and phone systems.

All of these were underpinned by a strict adherence to cybersecurity best practice to mitigate potential risks.

Ensunet worked directly with the client CFO, multiple vendors (for both new systems and those brought in and transitioned via acquisitions), and hospital staffs (one two-location acquisition, for example, brought in 260 new employees). To make all of this happen smoothly, Ensunet provided the client with an Interim CIO with years of specialized experience.

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