Survey finds M&A experience key IT skill

The role played by international mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is an increasingly important one in the careers of senior IT executives.

But this finding from research conducted among the CIO Connect members group of the National Computing Centre, comes with a warning about their ability to initiate accurate measurement of IT integration costs and benefits, post acquisition.

Although the survey represented only a small proportion of chief information officer CIO Connect members (10 per cent), over half (54 per cent) had been involved in up to three M&A transactions, with 42 per cent reporting involvement in four or more during their career.

Over half (58 per cent) said they were involved in any M&A plans from the outset, where 46 per cent reported that their organisations already gave them this responsibility in the area of systems infrastructure. 77 per cent also carry out due diligence with the target acquisition and 81 per cent also help negotiate budgets and deadlines.

The senior IT respondents also felt they were delivering on their remit, with nearly half (42 per cent) saying that merger costs accounted for less than 20 per cent of the total M&A integration costs. Over half (54 per cent) added that IT was responsible for delivering at least 20% or more of any post acquisition benefits.

But the IT chiefs were critical when it came down to their ability to quantify post acquisition benefits. Fewer than one in five (19 per cent) admitted there were no accurate measurements of IT integration or benefits afterwards. This is despite the fact that 92 per cent said their organisations undertook some form of review to measure the performance and success of M&A IT projects.

"These findings demonstrate that the chief information officer involved in M&A needs to be an effective business leader, strategist, communicator and influencer, with appropriate levels of cultural sensibility and effective people management skills," said Nick Kirkland, managing director of CIO Connect. But he also urged IT executives to use their influence to press upon senior management the need for proper integration and benefits assessment.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.