Sustainable Acquisitions Demand Complete System Optimization

Large companies pursuing serial acquisitions must prioritize operations and workflow. Our experience has shown the significant impact of updating systems on a business’s overall functioning, especially for companies built through multiple acquisitions. Overlooking the rationalization of business processes typically results in preventable complications. Our clients rely on ESG’s pattern-recognition expertise, toolsets, and hands-on support honed on more than three decades and hundreds of acquisitions to guide them through critical early-stage planning in these areas.

Every Acquisition Needs a Commited Change Champion

Recently at ESG, a global Fortune 500 client EVP client recognized the need for seismic shifts in their organization to stay competitive. However, the company’s neglect of back-office systems left them unable to implement essential technological advancements. After nearly two decades of deprioritizing back-office investments, they now faced the daunting task of significantly modernizing systems, transforming operations, and retraining employees—all while attracting new talent and mitigating complications that would directly impact front-of-house operations.

This client enlisted ESG to assess their structural health and change readiness. After evaluation, we identified key challenges and potential solutions to remedy the risks at hand. For example, despite eagerness for change, they lacked direction. Through our team’s expertise, we highlighted areas needing higher governance and guidance, and delivered a comprehensive plan based on a proven success framework. This enabled them to prioritize and execute their transformation around people, process, and technology.

In Summary

Here are some patterns we’ve recognized around large scale transformation acquirer plans:

Consistencies in Transformational Changes

Oftentimes, companies make the assumption that their systems and operations will effectively transition to the company being acquired. However, our experiences suggest that there can be a disconnect between what has worked for one company and what will work for both. Legacy systems, inefficient workflows, conflicts in process based on differing industries or outputs – these can all complicate an acquisition and create unsteady footing for new and old colleagues alike. Change management may be required for all parties involved – not just the one being acquired. Regardless of whether your company is in the process of acquiring or getting acquired, it’s important to proactively assess what works for your systems and where there are gaps of opportunity that can be optimized through this engagement to prevent delays and stopgaps.

Alignment of Internal and Customer-Facing Operations

Focusing solely on customer-facing operations post-acquisition might seem intuitive, but it’s a mistake to neglect back-office modernization. Without updating these systems, your team is unable to internally operate at a sustainable pace, which in turn can negatively affect customer satisfaction and overall business growth. A delay on the backend (e.g. slow processing servers) may result in an even more significant reaction on the frontend (e.g. a frustrated customer complaining about your company’s slow customer service online or to their circle of colleagues).

Backend optimization may not show immediate impact in comparison to a frontend overhaul, but it will certainly show detrimental, long-term impact to multiple layers of your business if left unchecked.

A Change Champion

Successful integrations and technology transformations always have a clear leader or team spearheading the rationale for exponential change and navigating the internal conflicts that arise between leadership teams with differing visions. Having respected, credible, and operationally-focused leadership ensures that all activities are well-coordinated and communicated. Empowered senior sponsors manage clarity on the mission at hand and keep customers at the forefront, all while maintaining in-house expectations and communicating areas of friction.

The Future Belongs to Those Who Adapt

Reimagining business workflows and supporting systems for enhanced colleague and customer experiences is vital for sustained growth. At ESG, we understand the complexities of transformational changes, especially when dealing with numerous systems in any acquisition environment. Contact us today to learn more, and discuss how we can support your process.


Mark Newhall

Founder of ESG