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Best Practices for Optimizing Software Rationalization During a Merger or Acquisition

  • Posted by: Pete Summers

When companies merge, combining their IT estates can be riddled with pitfalls: here’s where to start

It’s a fact that many mergers and acquisitions fail to deliver in full on their objectives. Synergies don’t happen, savings aren’t made, and rationalization doesn’t occur. In trying to address this, boards of directors and chief executives have long focused on areas that they saw as the bigger prizes—headcount reductions and procurement savings.

But in the search for bigger and better returns from mergers and acquisitions, attention is turning afresh to IT, as the realization dawns as to just how big the opportunity may be. Put another way, the combined organizations’ investments in IT represent a huge sunk cost in hardware, software, and network infrastructure. And considerable savings may be possible by managing those investments differently, to better support the newly-combined organization. Optimizing software rationalization during or post-merger is a key way for IT to drive those savings.

Important questions

Some opportunities—and challenges—are obvious, others less so. Important questions that you should ask during your M&A:

  • Why buy new hardware or new software licenses if what is required is lying unused or under-used elsewhere in the combined organizations’ IT estate?
  • Do IT support and help desk provision match the needs of the newly-combined organizations? As people and functions move, and roles change, and new systems are put in place, inadvertent over-provisioning is just as likely as inadvertent under-provisioning.
  • Is software licensing adequate and compliant? For many businesses, the biggest challenge here is establishing the facts: what software exists, where it is, and who is using it.
  • And as IT systems are combined across the two organizations, will hardware provisioning keep pace with the number of additional users and the increased data volumes?

Facts on the ground

Such questions are easy to ask, but much more difficult to answer. Paper-based audits take months, are costly in terms of effort and resources, and generally turn out to be unacceptably inaccurate. And in a tightly-choreographed post-merger or acquisition timetable, something that takes months—and which is not only costly, but also inaccurate—is not something that any CIO or IT director can support. The logical conclusion: interrogate the corporate IT estate itself, to get at the answers—quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively.

Details first before optimizing software rationalization

Yet the challenges of doing so are obvious. Multiple operating systems across the IT estate—Windows, Linux, MacOS, ChromeOS, AIX, HP UX, Solaris, VMWare and more. Building an inventory across one operating system is one thing, and building it accurately across multiple operating systems quite another.

And just counting devices adds little value: what’s needed is to know enough about those devices so as to be able to reach sensible judgements and decisions about them. At a minimum, you’ll want to know obvious attributes such as CPU type, number of CPU cores, amount of RAM, BIOS, disk size, and network properties. Manufacturer, warranty status, and attached users are also useful.

Given the huge embedded value of installed software across the combined organizations, you’ll also want a detailed picture of software deployment. Again, as a minimum, you’ll want to know the system or package’s name, its publisher, and its version.

Nor is this all. You’ll also want that see that information in a standardized, normalized format, and one which uses consistent terminology and nomenclature, even when polling widely disparate devices. Location is handy, too. It’s useful to know that a particular device is in your Bangalore campus, not your London HQ. But it’s better still to know that it’s in Building Six, and on the fourth floor.

Asset Vision: the answers you need

Asset Vision’s intelligent agentless discovery finds and catalogues hardware and software assets across the IT estate—irrespective of platform and location. If it’s there, Asset Vision will find it. And won’t just find it, but will also extract and normalize the relevant information required to take the right management decisions about those assets.

In short, when a business needs facts about its IT estate, Asset Vision provides them—rapidly, flexibly, and with low impact. For intelligent agentless discovery, Asset Vision leads the pack. Learn more about optimizing software rationalization with Asset Vision or contact us for more information.