If you have just started on the path or already crossed the bridge to merge, then your data may be at risk.
There are lots of critical and important activities in the merging process ranging from the companies’ legal structures and senior management appointments to extensive dialogue with customers, lenders and suppliers, and much more besides.
It can be very tempting to determine which systems will be used then step back and let IT sort it out.
Most IT teams that I’ve encountered are highly skilled and competent, but also very stretched. However, they are not the ones who create the business data and use it every day for operational and strategic decisions.
This combination means that they will get the job done, but being stretched and out of touch with what the data means will lead to mistakes. These errors will be encountered later down the road.
It’s the local agreements, that extra care scheme, those few shops or an area office that has never put their properties on the systems (because they just know them) that cause the business risk through your data.
IT probably won’t know about the spreadsheets that various departments run their operations from and these may get lost along the way.
Imagine one of these spreadsheets is used for land-banking. In May 2017 the average house price was £221,000 so even if just 0.5 per cent of a 10,000 unit organisation is at risk, that equates to roughly £11 million.
That would immediately pose a compliance and income risk if the properties were not recorded properly. In the longer term these assets may be at risk of adverse possession.
You are probably thinking that the solicitors will have done all of this during due diligence, but it’s worth considering where they got their asset list from in the first place…
By ensuring that you get all of the right people round the table you can sort your data out to give the new organisation the best chance of success.
Don’t leave your data up to IT, but do make sure you involve them early!
Neil Topping is a director of Data Futurists.