After years in a slump, global M&As are on the rise across every sector, with tech, telecoms and manufacturing all boasting huge takeovers this year. In fact, in the tech sector alone we saw Amazon acquire video gaming platform Twitch and Microsoft has just bought Minecraft for $2.5 billion. While it’s far too early to say how successful these M&As will be, Amazon has been through it all before, so the hope is it will have future-proofed its infrastructure.
But how do vendor M&As impact the businesses that use them? A poorly planned merger or acquisition could end in data governance failures, scalability disasters and communication breakdowns. They need to be carefully managed from the start to ensure its business as usual for all customers using their products or services. And, customers themselves need to take a savvy approach and not just assume it will all come out in the wash.
If they are relying on an outsourced integration and governance platform for critical business functions, its essential there is no drop in service levels. So there are critical questions you need to ask before you decide ultimately whether to cut ties or stay the course with your vendor. Follow these five key areas to ensure your technology is future-proof:
1. Is Your Critical Integration & Governance Platform Here To Stay?
In the instance your vendor is taken over, as a legacy customer you’ll need reassurance that your business won’t be impacted. You need to clarify if you will need to migrate to other products, in which case what are the associated costs and support implications? No business can afford to suddenly downgrade their customer services offering due to a lack of resources and knowledge from the acquiring company.
Not only this but will any changes in technology support evolving IT requirements? Many legacy systems are not built to support evolving requirements without extensive add-ons, yet these are crucial to create a centralised hub enabling companies to tie all technologies together, whether inside or outside the organisation.
2. Is Your Integration Vendor Selfish?
If your vendor has announced a dramatic shift in direction, you could be pressured to adopt an integration paradigm that benefits your vendor, but doesn’t work for your business or meet your particular regulatory/governance requirements. You also stand to get stuck with an outdated integration product that languishes on your vendor’s R&D back burner. And if you hit a scalability wall, then what?
Check how adaptable they are to change; your vendor should have a plan to cope with changes in government regulations, standards and technology changes. You need to be confident that they are able to modernise their offering to keep pace with changing business conditions and new data paths like mobile and BYOD. If your vendor can’t scale quickly or not at all, then they aren’t set up to support the growth of your business.
3. Are You Kept In The Loop?
Does your vendor offer you end-to-end visibility? To keep processes flowing smoothly, you need to be able to monitor and track all data flows from end to end. If your current integration and governance solution is more like a black hole than a transparent environment with true business visibility – including detailed, real-time transaction monitoring – how will you know when something goes wrong, or be able to fix problems before they disrupt your business? Ask about tools for monitoring partner performance metrics and be sure to check they’ve got internal and external compliance requirements in hand.
4. Is Your Vendor Global?
Very few businesses are purely regional anymore, after all, this is the age of globalisation. So can your multiple networks be integrated in a global integration infrastructure to manage all of your enterprises data flows? You will need a vendor that can guarantee end-to-end secure data flows, as well as complete adherence to changing compliance.
Secondly, you and your vendor must come to an agreement about what you mean when you say global. Does that mean offshore sales organisations, even if they’re 24/7? This is the sort of level of detail you need to address. Be sure to ask for credible customer references too, don’t assume they understand what you need.
5. Are You Open For Business?
Last but not least, this is the ultimate question you need to ask yourselves. If your vendor is failing to support the growth of your business, resulting in too much downtime or lack of stability, you may have to question your loyalty to your vendor. Any good relationship is built on trust and in order to gain that there needs to be transparency. If that is not forthcoming from the outset, or after you’ve asked these questions, then it might be time to move on.
In an increasingly complex and unpredictable business and regulatory environment, there is enough for businesses to worry about. Unfortunately a constantly shifting technology landscape is adding to the chaos, creating operational uncertainly and less IT flexibility for many enterprises. Data is at the heart of the enterprise and it’s essential that businesses can rely on integration and governance technologies to manage, monitor and protect business critical data. In the M&A minefield, the time to future-proof your infrastructure is now.