Five key software considerations when acquiring a business

8th September 2017

Acquisitions are the talk of the week, with Spicerhaart having acquired regional agency, butters john bee.
Understandably, agents’ focus is on the independent firm’s market growth, but what about the complexities of merging two software systems?
Preparation is key, even if the two parties involved in an acquisition already use the same software system.
Read on to discover five key considerations when taking over a firm with a different software system.
1. Your current software system may no longer be the right fit
Acquiring firms typically migrate acquisitions onto their own software system, but this may not be appropriate for their newly-enlarged business.
As the acquiring firm, ask yourself if your system still suits the needs of your business once you’ve integrated the new firm. Also consider whether or not you receive the level of support that you expect and need for your business. When was the last time you conducted a market appraisal of the software systems currently available on the market? Perhaps now is the time to consider your options.
The prospect of switching software system might be the last thing on your mind when managing the complexities of an acquisition, but it may be far easier to manage the process earlier rather than later, when the new business has already been embedded.
2. A strong team player needs to lead your integration project
Whatever your decision about your current software system, you need to identify a suitably qualified individual to manage the integration project. The cost of a newly created role to manage the process may be out of the question, but carefully consider the ramifications of bolting on the responsibilities to an existing employee’s remit, such as the knock on effect to the rest of the business when they’re unable to carry out their normal day-to-day duties. This is particularly important if the person in question is responsible for managing your firm’s IT issues.
3. You may require extensive training support
As part of this individual’s responsibilities, thought needs to be given to how you’ll train all new staff to use your software system, or a new system if you decide to invest in one. How user-friendly is the system in question? Do you need to create a new manual, or will your existing manual suffice? Do you need to organise offsite training sessions?
4. Your software provider can be a great source of help
Call on your software provider to support the project. A provider worth their salt will be with you every step of the way.
Cost is obviously a key consideration for any savvy business leader, which is why a provider that offers a subscription-based pricing model is hugely advantageous; it means that you have the reassurance of an expert customer service team at the end of the phone or email as and when you need it, rather than having to endure hefty project-based fees, which are the last thing you want to suffer following a labour-intensive acquisition.
Every aspect of the integration, from data cleansing to staff training, will be made far easier with the right software partner.
5. Collaborative working relationships are key to the future success of the deal
Collaboration is at the heart of any successful business, so invite feedback about your software system from your newly acquired staff following their training. What works and what doesn’t? What’s overly complicated and what could be markedly improved?
But remember, only a safe and transparent corporate culture will generate the constructive criticism that you need to improve your business.
Good luck!
Contact nigel.poole@eurolink.co for further information.