Acquisitions and Proper Planning

Before I launch into my series, I wanted to commented on the acquisition that has taken the world by storm: Saxy Inc. Oh wait, sorry that’s next time. I’m referring to Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. The media reports have been quite extensive over the course of the acquisition mainly due to the ensuing drama, and everyone loves watching a train wreck in action. He did do one good thing in that he relied on a review of the underlying technology. For a typical merger, having parties from both sides get together can help find the points of integration and ways to leverage each side’s strengths to accomplish the common goal. However, in this case, Musk is running Twitter as an independent company, and his hand picked team has no background or expertise in Twitter’s technology stack or why they made certain decisions. Additionally, his engineers have a completely different background on the software used to power Tesla’s cars. While being a valid criticism, this isn’t what I want to cover. referred to Musk’s takeover as the Chaotic Age. The closest analogy is to shoot from the hip expecting something better than doing nothing. While wasting time gathering opinions from others and analyzing the results, or observing a functional state can be seen as time consuming, they are necessary to obtain a holistic perspective.

Given the nature of acquisitions, the one part THAT CANNOT BE SKIPPED, is the scoping discussions for how to absorb the company from an IT perspective.

The scoping discussion is where the acquirers learn what it takes to leverage their new purchase, put it in scope with the current/future direction of the organization, and learn the full strengths and weaknesses of the separate products. If you don’t do this, or opt to “shoot from the hip,” then you will end up with very expensive egg on your face when you realize that you cashiered too many employees with the history and experience to facilitate a successful acquisition, and will need to bring them back on while paying a premium.

Starting with the next post, I’ll be writing about the trials of a CIO from a company going through their first acquisition. There will be plenty of bad puns and insights so stay tuned!