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Reality IT: Group Therapy Can Cure Mergermania

Learning SpanISh

Mergers were nothing new to me, so I knew the drill. Our first step was to do some "due diligence" (don't you love it when I lay on the business talk?) to check out the technology of the target firm. One of my priorities would be to assess the apprehension level of the IT staffers--how nervous were they about the future of their jobs? My peer at SpanISh was Isabella Ferdinand, who had been its IT director for several years.

I met Isabella when I joined a team of ACME managers that descended on remotely located SpanISh like a band of marauders. There had been rumblings that SpanISh management might not cooperate, but that didn't prove to be the case in the IT group.

ACME planners had asked SpanISh senior management to keep the acquisition quiet, but Isabella and her top staffers had, of course, already heard about it well before through the company rumor mill. In fact, they were relieved to meet someone from ACME in person. Still feeling a bit like an intruder, I informed them our task was to jointly plan the migration of the SpanISh IT applications--e-mail, accounting, human resources, customer-relationship management, inventory and so forth--over to the ACME IT environment. I also assured the SpanISh IT staffers that we needed to keep them all. They sighed with relief.

To succeed, the two IT staffs would have to work together at every level. We would need to plan and execute in several phases, with specific milestones. Isabella and I appointed a lead project manager at each company; both would report to her during the transition, and ultimately, to me.

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