3 min

How CDW Services Can Enable a Smooth M&A Transition

A third party can help organizations overcome common technology challenges that arise in mergers and acquisitions.

Companies engage in mergers and acquisitions for a variety of reasons. Some want to find new ways to serve customers better, while others are looking to move into new areas or markets. These deals present powerful opportunities to grow a business or add talented new employees, making them a popular option for many organizations. In fact, after an increase in M&A activity in 2021, a report from Deloitte earlier this year found that 92 percent of business executives expect deal volume to increase or stay the same over the next 12 months.

However, companies that engage in mergers and acquisitions face some common challenges. They must plan for the successful integration of technology tools used by both entities while navigating issues related to cybersecurity and regulatory compliance. And they must achieve these objectives while dealing with increased demands placed on IT teams.

Overcoming M&A Challenges

Technology integration is a challenge in nearly every M&A deal. In many cases, companies build up technical debt as they deploy new systems and solutions without first laying the groundwork for these tools with the necessary infrastructure and governance. This must be considered as organizations move forward with M&A integration. 

Security is also a key concern for every business, even those for whom IT may not seem like a major part. For example, CDW recently worked with a client in the farming industry for whom the security posture of the company it was acquiring was a critical issue. The company making the acquisition wanted to be sure that the deal didn’t compromise its position from a cybersecurity standpoint. 

Similarly, compliance should be on the radar of every company involved in an M&A deal. Many companies must address privacy regulations including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and similar mandates that have been enacted in several U.S. states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah and Virginia. Specific industries also face their own compliance challenges, such as healthcare organizations, which must understand how a newly merged company would comply with HIPAA requirements.  

In many cases, IT teams are overwhelmed by the demands of mergers and acquisitions. In addition to maintaining ongoing IT initiatives, these teams must engage in planning, discovery and integration activities related to M&A, even though most team members are unlikely to have experience or expertise in this area. In these cases, a third party can help relieve the burden on internal IT teams and provide valuable expertise in M&A transactions.

Services for M&A Success

Here are some of the services a third-party partner can provide. 

Assessment services: As organizations engage in a merger, they must develop a deep understanding of the complexities, interdependencies and synergies involved in IT integration. The IT discovery process should begin early in an M&A transaction to provide a thorough assessment of hardware and software tools in use. A gap analysis will compare the current state of each organization with the desired end state of the merger and help leaders develop a roadmap to achieve it as efficiently as possible. 

Planning services: An effective strategy for IT integration is essential to M&A success. This plan should detail key objectives and establish a timeline for the rollout of IT tools. It should also identify obstacles and assign responsibility for overcoming them to specific stakeholders. By getting help from a third party for elements such as program management, communication planning and IT asset roadmaps, an organization’s internal IT teams can stay focused on day-to-day responsibilities.

Security services: As a merger is carried out, organizations must protect their data and systems. Vulnerability assessments and penetration testing, among other services from a third-party partner, can help IT and business leaders identify weak points in their cybersecurity posture and mitigate security risks.

Story by 

Matt Varin, who has been in the IT industry for 17 years, most recently serving the Illinois and Wisconsin marketplace where M&A has seen tremendous momentum. He currently oversees all of CDW project-based business in Wisconsin, where CDW successfully delivered over 1,000 projects in 2021. Matt gets the unique ability to work with Fortune 100 companies, SMB and Government Agencies which has given him a diverse perspective on how organizations can take advantage of technology to solve their business challenges.

Michael Bock, a director of sales and serves in a variety of roles supporting coworkers, consulting with customers, and enhancing manufacturer relationships across product and service delivery channels. Currently, he leads the CDW team focused on helping companies in Florida and Georgia gain a marketplace advantage through technology solution design and integration. To support this priority, Mike maintains a high-level of connectivity with thought leaders and business executives from the world’s leading providers of innovative technology. Additionally, Mike is responsible for creating and refining the sales and operational processes across his organization to ensure delivery of the ultimate customer experience at CDW.

Debbie Brenner, who has more than 35 years of experience within the technology and cybersecurity industries including as a former CISO and CIO. Using the knowledge she has gained with her years of hands-on experience in C-level roles, Ms. Brenner now provides Strategic Consulting & Advisory Services, including M&A consulting, for clients across all industries.

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