When planning mergers and acquisitions, it’s easy to forget about IT because most executives are focused on financial reporting and operations. It’s easy to take email access, working phone lines and software applications for granted. However, without diligent planning and project management, merging IT infrastructure can cause huge disruptions in daily business. An organization undertaking an acquisition can ensure that critical business processes continue uninterrupted by adhering to these four principles:
1. Network cutovers must adhere to a timeline. The network is the core of office communication. It is the way field employees and data communicate with the corporate office, whether it’s sending an email or transmitting production data. For example, if a foreman is trying to upload well data into ProCount, but has no Internet connection, production data cannot be reported. Without up-to-date production data, the corporate office can’t report well revenue and costs in an accurate or timely manner.
Network equipment like routers, switches and circuits, must be available and installed before the cutover can take place. The network architecture must be finalized before critical business processes, such as turning up SCADA, can happen. At this stage, it is crucial to review resource availability, internally and with vendors, to adhere to a firm deadline.
2. SCADA transfers happen in parallel with the network cutover. SCADA data, or automated production data, is some of the most important company data. Replication servers, usually found in data centers, function as a backup and must be reconfigured and tested to ensure they’re communicating with onsite servers. SCADA must be communicating with the new network before the old network is cut off. If this order gets reversed, there’s a risk of losing important data.
In an ideal SCADA world, the whole company would be on a standard SCADA system with identical system architecture and equipment between sites. It’s important that an internal resource has functional experience with the SCADA system and has the working knowledge to support and troubleshoot it.
3. Hardware updates affect the physical equipment employees will be using. Merging offices will require upsetting people’s daily routines to establish new ones. Computers need to be reimaged with new company standards, covering everything from desktop images and printer drivers to software applications like WellView and ProCount. When possible, use remote login to take inventory of applications in use at field offices. This will help determine what applications will be used going forward and if there is additional software that must be added to the company portfolio.
4. Testing is the final step in cutting over an office. Bring internal resources to branch offices to check each user’s ability to connect to the Internet, place a call and connect to printers. Face-to-face service builds relationships between IT staff and remote office employees. Onsite internal resources give employees access to immediate help should issues arise with opening or submitting data through new applications. It’s also an opportunity to provide one-on-one end user training and reference materials to employees.
Once it has been confirmed that all new systems are functioning and everyone can complete their daily activities, the office has successfully been cut over to the new network. While it may seem like small potatoes in relation to the operational and financial integration that takes place during a merger, IT integration is the foundation for bringing new employees and data into an organization. There are many moving parts in an office cutover that need to be addressed; Trenegy help organizations navigate all aspects of acquisition integration.