Technology is an integral part of modern businesses. When you acquire a new business, have you considered its current IT setup and what it may look like once it is merged with your company?
Communicating and assessing expectations is crucial for a smooth transition. Otherwise, you may find that your IT spending is higher than anticipated or that the transition takes longer.
We gathered seven IT-related questions you should discuss with your IT provider or internal IT team when buying a new business.
WEBIT Services has developed effective IT strategies and solutions for over 25 years, serving hundreds of clients.
By reading this article, you will learn seven key questions to ask about your new acquisition's IT setup and plans to integrate, why these questions matter, and how your IT provider or team can help with the transition.
7 IT questions to ask when you purchase a company
1. What are your IT expectations for the acquisition?
First, consider what you expect to happen with this acquisition and its IT assets and processes. For example, what do you want to happen regarding integrating or standardizing systems? How long do you want it to take?
Answering these questions can help you determine your timeline, budget, and process.
For example, if you want the purchased business to use the same IT setup as your existing business, it will require more time and investment than leaving their IT setup untouched.
Communicating these expectations will help your IT provider construct a realistic and accurate timeline.
2. What is your expected timeline for this process?
How quickly do you want the purchased company to integrate with your IT setup? How long can you afford for it to take?
Unfortunately, IT integrations cannot realistically be performed overnight. Instead, depending on the complexity of the integration, it can take months or a year.
For example, a client may say, "I just bought a business, and I need them to be completely merged with my existing IT setup by next week."
An honest IT provider or team will tell you this is not a realistic timeline. Acquiring the equipment alone may take a week or more, depending on supply chains and hardware customization.
Talk to your IT provider or team to communicate your timeline expectations. They will let you know if these goals are feasible within the given timeframe. If not, they will help paint a more realistic timeline.
3. What are your goals for the IT system and processes?
Is the plan to transition the new company entirely to your IT processes and system? Or do you want them to maintain their existing processes with little to no change? Do you plan to adopt some of their technology for your existing business?
What are your goals for this acquisition and its IT assets?
Again, this question helps you and your IT provider or team determine the scope of the process, an accurate timeline, and a path to success.
4. Does the newly purchased company have any hardware you want to keep?
Once they can access the premises and system, your IT provider will run an assessment to identify all of the hardware and IT assets your acquisition possesses. Once you have this list, do you know what hardware you want to keep?
How mature is the system? Older hardware may be at the end of its lifecycle and may need replacing. However, newer hardware may still have years of usefulness.
Are you a regulated business with IT compliance standards? Is this hardware compliant?
What tasks will the acquisition be doing? Does its existing hardware support its new goals and projects?
Is the existing hardware compatible with your system and processes? What hardware does it need to integrate with your system?
Examining the company's current assets will help you determine your budget, the scope of the integration process, and how long it might take.
For example, depending on your system and product availability, replacing one piece of hardware may not be expensive or take more than a day or two. However, replacing an entire IT system could take months.
5. What are the acquisition's existing IT processes, and what processes do you want them to use?
As you examine your acquisition, how did it accomplish its tasks previously? Do these processes align with your goals, system, and compliance standards? Or will they need to be adjusted?
Once you narrow down the processes you want to keep or change, your IT provider or internal IT team can help outline what changes need to be made and what software or hardware must be purchased if any.
You must also consider what kind of system migrations must take place and how long this will take. For example, migrating robust CRM data from one system to another can take months. What data do you want to hold on to and migrate to a new system?
6. Are you comfortable with slowed or halted productivity during the adjustment period?
Updating IT systems can disrupt productivity. How much of a disruption are you comfortable with? Will this affect your potential revenue stream? If so, how much can you afford?
If you require minimal disruption, you may be able to make minor adjustments at a time to the system. It will prolong the process, but productivity can continue.
Or are you all right with the new company being shut down for a short time while new hardware or software is set up? How long can you afford for this business to be out of commission?
Discuss these expectations with your IT provider or team so that they can develop a plan that keeps you from losing more potential revenue than you can afford.
7. What IT contracts does the purchased business have in place?
Will your business absorb the acquisition's contracts? If so, which ones? Are they useful to you?
For example, what software licensing does it have in place? Is this software your business already uses? Or is this not a tool you need to accomplish your goals?
How your IT provider or team can help
Your IT provider or internal IT team should be a part of your planning team to help you avoid IT obstacles.
Often, a company's growth and expansion plans will be a part of its IT roadmap, a critical strategic tool for planning how technology can help your business meet its goal. Typically, an IT roadmap is reviewed and adjusted annually or when a company plans a significant change (like buying a business).
For example, if you plan to purchase a business in the next year, this should be added to the roadmap so your IT provider or team can best support you and offer the best strategy possible.
However, sometimes you cannot reveal the exact details of the impending purchase for legal purposes. In this case, your IT provider or team should know that you plan to expand, the nature of the expansion, and the expected timeline.
For instance, you may say, "We plan to double in size by next year. Therefore, we will likely need to integrate an existing IT system with ours." This allows your IT provider or team to begin planning and budgeting for a significant change within a timeframe.
Once you can legally release more details, share them with your IT provider or team so they can make appropriate recommendations and help you set accurate timelines.
Expectations and timelines are crucial for a major IT undertaking. Your IT provider or team will help you create realistic and feasible expectations based on your timeline, budget, and needs.
Next steps for integrating a purchased company's IT with yours
When you purchase a new business, you must determine how its IT assets and setup will interact with yours. You should consider the following questions:
- What are my IT expectations for the acquisition?
- What is my expected timeline for this process?
- What are my goals for the IT system and processes?
- Does the newly purchased company have any hardware I want to keep?
- What are the acquisition's existing IT processes, and what processes do I want them to use?
- Am I comfortable with slowed or halted productivity during the adjustment period?
- What IT contracts does the purchased business have in place?
Your IT provider or internal IT team can help you answer these questions, bring insight into the processes, and help you build an effective budget and timeline.
Talk to your IT provider or team about your expectations, goals, and needs as you prepare to integrate the newly purchased business.
For over 25 years, WEBIT Services has helped hundreds of clients build successful IT strategies and processes while utilizing effective technology.
If you are looking for a new IT provider, schedule a free 30-minute consultation to see how WEBIT can help.
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