We have seen a healthy amount of merger and acquisition activity over the last few years. In 2017, for instance, over 50,600 transactions were announced, totaling over $3.5 trillion — an increase of 2.9 percent from 2016.
This pattern continued into the first half of 2018, particularly in the software, technology, and IT services markets, where 950 transactions were announced totaling about $140 billion. Altogether, there was a record $2.5 trillion in merger activity across all industries during the first half of 2018.
On one hand, it’s great to see all of this movement taking place as it could be an indicator that businesses are feeling confident about the economy. But not all businesses are benefiting from the uptick in M&A activity. Many organizations that have gone through the process are now struggling with lingering communications issues, as they are using outdated and inefficient enterprise technologies.
Using legacy enterprise communications technologies during a merger can lead to unwanted issues like poor interoperability, scalability, and high costs. At the same time, team integration can be an absolute nightmare.
These problems can multiply when working with a foreign company. China, it should be noted, has been ramping up its overseas investments in recent months. Chinese foreign mergers and acquisitions increased from $170.2 billion in 2016 to $185.4 billion last year, and further growth is predicted this half. China, like many countries, has strict cloud regulations and data privacy laws that can create complications and delay collaboration.
To streamline integration across the board, many businesses are now embracing unified communications (UC) — a strategy that involves consolidating disparate text, voice, video, fax, presence, and mobility services into one centralized and web-based hub.
UC can be fully hosted in the cloud or set up as a hybrid cloud by leveraging an edge device as part of your network.
How UC Can Help During A Transition
It’s impossible to work efficiently with another organization without first gaining control over your business’ internal communications. With UC, you will be able to come to the table streamlined and ready to operate as a single organization.
Some of the most helpful features include:
Lower Telecom Costs
One of the first things that a business typically does after acquiring another company is trim the fat. Unnecessary expenses need to be identified and eliminated to maintain a lean enterprise. UC can help reduce telecommunications expenses in a variety of ways. First and foremost, managers and executives can travel less using enhanced collaboration tools like video and text chat. Plus, with UC, it’s possible to augment phone lines with pooling and bursting services. A company can invest in a single “pool” of interchangeable lines or add individual lines as they are needed to prevent busy signals.
Improved Team Building
Another important step that businesses need to consider during a merger or acquisition is team integration. Teams need to exchange information and collaborate early on so that they can understand one another and merge their processes. This is very difficult when companies are hundreds or thousands of miles apart. With UC, however, it’s as simple as using secure group text and video chats to merge teams and build new connections between employees. With UC, a team can be distributed across the world, but feel like they are working together in the same room.
From a logistical standpoint, it can be difficult to track down employees during a merger or acquisition. A company operating out of Hong Kong, for instance, may struggle with a New York-based company due to the 12 hour time difference. Using presence indicators, it’s possible to see where workers are located and when they are available to communicate. This can also lower costs by reducing unnecessary long-distance phone calls and lengthy voice messages.
Data is one of the most valuable commodities a company can gain from a merger. It’s only valuable, however, when it’s put to use. Many businesses today are failing to maximize data. For this reason, it’s important to look for a UC system that can integrate customer relationship management (CRM) data with the enterprise phone system. This way, agents can gain immediate access to the other organization’s customer records and notes and use them to start driving sales.
When companies merge, IT teams can struggle to understand what systems and applications are being used across the enterprise. This can lead to bandwidth and performance issues, and dropped calls. UC, however, can work in conjunction with software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN). With SD-WAN, administrators can gain greater visibility and control over global network traffic. It becomes possible with SD-WAN to prioritize certain applications to guarantee they have access to critical resources.
It’s important to realize that not all UC providers will offer the same amount of quality and reach. Companies are therefore advised to look for a UC provider offering access to a robust global network of PoPs, in order to guarantee strong and uniform coverage.