Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are transformative events for businesses and, for a technology business, their success heavily relies on seamless technical integration. As a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) your role in ensuring in this is paramount. In this blog post, we’ll explore five essential steps for CTOs to take in the run up to and after an M&A event, particularly if your using Amazon Web Services (AWS), or considering its adoption.
1. Optimise cloud costs by linking billing
One of the initial steps post-M&A is to assess and optimise your cloud spending. AWS offers two options for optimising cost across multiple organisations: consolidated billing and linking bills at the PayerID level.
Consolidated billing brings the AWS accounts of both entities under a single payer account, simplifying billing, and potentially unlocking volume discounts. Alternatively, linking bills at the PayerID level offers cost benefits without directly merging bills, this is especially useful if you have a private pricing agreement in place.
It’s a straight forward exercise to consolidate billing across multiple accounts, but you’ll have to reach out to your AWS account manager to support you with linking more than one bill at the PayerID level.
2. Organise AWS Accounts with Organizational Units
Managing AWS accounts separately for each business entity can lead to complexity, inefficiency, and introduces risk. Consider grouping AWS accounts into Organizational Units (OUs) within your AWS Organization. Each OU can represent a different business unit, allowing for tailored policies, permissions, and configurations. This approach ensures flexibility while maintaining centralised management.
If you’re not already using AWS Organizations, or a landing zone solution such as AWS Control Tower, we’d strongly recommend including the rollout of this as part of your technical post-M&A strategy.
3.Conduct a tech maturity assessment
A detailed tech maturity assessment is vital to align the technical aspects of both entities. Use a framework such as AWS Well-Architected to evaluate the architecture of your workloads, identify best practices, and pinpoint areas for optimisation. This assessment forms the basis for a clear roadmap to address technical debt, enhance security, and improve overall performance.
4. Plan for IT unification
Post-M&A, you’ll likely have disparate IT systems and tools, including version control systems (like GitHub), identity management, issue tracking (such as Jira), and more. It’s essential to develop a comprehensive IT unification strategy that encompasses all these systems.
The key aspects you should consider are:
Single Sign-On (SSO) Across All Tools: Implementing a single solution across both organisations will allow users to access all integrated tools seamlessly with a single set of credentials.
Data Integration: Plan how data will flow seamlessly between your SaaS applications, on-premises systems, and other cloud platforms. Consider the use of integration platforms or APIs to ensure data consistency and availability.
License Management: Ensure that you have a clear understanding of software licensing agreements and subscriptions. Optimise licenses to minimise costs while providing the necessary tools for your teams.
Vendor Management: Manage relationships with SaaS vendors effectively, including contract negotiations, service-level agreements (SLAs), and ongoing support. You may find that you now have multiple vendors providing the same service or solution into the combined organisation, so you’ll want to consider the long-term viability and scalability of each of these.
Collaborate with key stakeholders to create a clear roadmap for IT alignment that supports the business’s objectives. Whether the goal is to keep entities separate, merge them together, or adopt a hybrid approach, a robust strategy is essential for achieving a harmonious and efficient IT environment in the post-M&A landscape.
5. Define a holistic SaaS product alignment strategy
The overall strategy for your technical platforms should align with the broader goals of the merger or acquisition, especially when it comes to merging products and services. Determine whether to integrate, rebrand, or maintain separate product offerings. This strategy must encompass various aspects of your product portfolio, addressing not only technical considerations but also customer experience and market positioning.
Considerations for product alignment:
Product Portfolio Assessment: Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the product portfolios of both entities. Identify overlapping or complementary products and services.
Integration vs. Separation: Decide whether it makes sense to integrate certain products to create a more comprehensive offering or if it’s better to maintain separate products for different market segments or customer needs.
Customer Experience: Prioritise the customer experience during the product alignment process. Ensure that any changes or integrations are seamless and enhance the value proposition for customers.
Brand Strategy: Consider the brand identity and messaging for the merged entity. Decide whether to rebrand products, maintain separate brands, or create a new brand identity that reflects the combined strengths of both entities.
Technical Integration: Plan for the technical aspects of product alignment, including data migration, interoperability, and ensuring that the integrated products meet the necessary performance and security standards.
Market Positioning: Analyse the competitive landscape and market positioning for the merged products. Develop a strategy to gain a stronger foothold or create new market opportunities.
Collaborate with key stakeholders to create a clear roadmap for product alignment that supports the business’s goals and enhances the value proposition for both existing and potential customers.
As you embark on your post-M&A journey, remember that specialised guidance can make a significant difference. Consider reaching out to a technical M&A specialist with expertise in AWS for personalised assistance and insights tailored to your specific situation.
Additionally, if you’re interested in further networking and knowledge sharing with fellow CTOs in the SaaS industry, we encourage you to join the SaaS CTO Network. This community provides a valuable platform for discussions, collaboration, and learning from peers who are navigating similar challenges and opportunities in the world of Software-as-a-Service.
Your post-M&A success is within reach, and with the right resources and support, you can steer your organisation toward a bright and integrated future, including a strategic approach to product alignment.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to benefit from the expertise and guidance of an AWS partner like The Scale Factory. Reach out to us today and leverage our extensive experience to conduct a Well-Architected review for your AWS environment.
This blog is written exclusively by The Scale Factory team. We do not accept external contributions.