Mergers & Acquisitions – A Hidden Challenge – The Digital Content Issues

Research consistently shows that around 50% to 85% of acquisitions are a failure in the eyes of the acquirer and one of the most common reasons is a lack of post-acquisition planning.

Buying another company and truly integrating it into your business is an operational challenge. Acquirers need a precise view of the shape and size of the integration plan and the more detail you can articulate then the quicker those acquisition benefits can be realized for your shareholders.

Many integration issues have been addressed in copious lines of print: sales channels, commission structures, accounting systems, headcount strategy, reporting structures, contracts, tax rates, surplus assets, IT Systems – the list is endless. However there is a new area emerging that is dangerously invisible to the Board – Digital Content integration. The world’s digital content is doubling every year and the lack of Governance applied to enterprise content is having a serious business impact on corporations worldwide including: expensive e-discovery audits, executives searching for, but not finding content, inability to migrate and merge content, duplication of content, conflict or breaches of corporate standards, or even a complete lack of standards altogether.

All of these issues are only compounded within the pressure cooker environment of a merger.

As a quick checklist I’ve listed below the top big 8 issues worth building into your post acquisition plan:

  1. Content acquired ruins your consistent messaging and corporate identity.
  2. New logos are placed all over the new web properties you acquired.
  3. Numerous competing Content Management Systems (related to systems that perform the same tasks) results in high, inefficient operating costs.
  4. A significant (could be as high as 60%) amount of analogous content keeps the cost of content ownership high.
  5. Content needs to be reassigned as organizational structures change above it.
  6. Portal integration should follow quickly after the acquisition target has been acquired. However integrating unfamiliar content into an existing portal can stunt integration.
  7. Ownership of an Enterprise Content Governance framework is essential to give leadership to content authors.
  8. Staff morale can drop fast  within an acquired company if basic content retrieval, intranet usability and the quality of web sites deteriorates.

Technology and expertise exists in the marketplace to deal with these issues and for further white papers and guidance on a practical Enterprise Content Governance (ECoG) Framework, please check out Vamosa.com.

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