Handling Team Collaboration after a Merger or Acquisition
The numbers have been crunched. The job titles have been changed. You’ve made an acquisition. Congratulations! Pats on the back for everyone.
But, now questions are being asked:
“We acquired a company that uses Slack. We don’t- what should we do?”
“We’re merging with another company and have two different Slack workspaces- do I have to make a new one?”
“I don’t want to force anyone to change their processes in month one- what should I do?!”
The problem we often hear from IT Managers is “our company uses X, but the new smaller company that’s just been acquired uses Y…and I don’t want to ruffle any feathers.” Typically a startup or smaller company that gets acquired has been using Slack. But, ParentCo uses Cisco Webex Teams or Microsoft Teams.
Here’s a real-life example told by our Director of Customer Success, Frank Geck.
“When I was at Tropo, we used Slack. Then, we moved to Slack… but some people still used Skype for Business.
Then Cisco acquired us, so we used Skype, Slack, and Webex Teams. And then we had two emails… our Tropo email and our Cisco email.
We had our cell phones and now had a required voicemail box in Cisco somewhere which I setup but never ever once in 3.5 years checked messages.
The joke was… if you need me just Spark me and then Slack me then call me on my cell or send an email… etc…”
Upon completion of an acquisition or merger, a quick transition to full team collaboration is crucial. Making the first decision about which messaging tools to use for your new group sets the tone of everything to come.
We’ve put together the below checklist to think through your team’s messaging strategy after a merger or acquisition:
If you want to migrate to one chat app following a merger or acquisition
Not all messaging apps are alike. Will the new app you plan to migrate to support all features needed?
Below are a few things you may run into as you assess potential blockers & changes you will need to make.
- What channels and spaces need to be merged?
You’ll need to map channels like “general” and “product team” to allow for the newer, wider team.
Which should stay private vs. be publicly available for new team members to join?
- Language barriers?
If you’re a global company, you may find language barriers across platforms become your blockers. Just become one platform supports a language doesn’t mean they all do.
- Additional costs incurred?
Consider licensing tiers and price per user per month.
Will you have a period of dual running costs? It’s unlikely you will be ready to migrate all at once.
- How long will your migration plan take?
Moving from one platform to another, in any realm, can be a tricky process. It will require meticulous training, alignment from both teams, and on-boarding efforts. Consider this time as part of your total cost of change.
- Risk of change?
On top of the cost of change is the risk of change. How long will it take for your team to get up to speed? Is there a risk they could migrate to unapproved chat apps while the migration takes place?
- Will you need increased Video Conferencing?
Now that your team has grown, your collaboration needs have increased. Will you need more video conferencing capabilities now that your team is spread across more offices and locations? Does the tool you plan to consolidate into support this? Will you need to add another service, like Cisco Webex Teams, that also includes messaging?
- What other file-sharing tools are already used across the entire new team?
If one company uses Office365 and Microsoft One Drive, Microsoft Teams would offer the richest form of collaboration. What happens when the new company uses Google Drive or DropBox? The task of migrating messaging and chat platforms could quickly evolve into a full-blown collaboration restructure.
Remember to take stock on both sides
It’s tempting to immediately want to consolidate. You may think that an acquisition is perfect timing to introduce a new collaboration or messaging tool. But, take stock for a moment and pause.
You have two groups of individuals that use and specialize in what they have been using. You can utilize this period to introduce true subject matter experts on both sides. It’s likely you have internal product evangelists that sing the praises of their preferred tool. Take the time to fully understand why they use and like these tools.
If you want to keep using both apps following a merger or acquisition
Your alternative option to migrating the new team to a single messaging app is to keep both. While this likely is much less upfront work to manage, it presents longterm implications for the team to consider:
1. Where do all-hands channels exist?
Where will both companies have a single place to chat? For example, where will team-wide HR information be placed? For an urgent matter, will the team know where they should look?
2. Will all employees and/or management be required to use both apps?
Monitoring both apps all the time could mean workflow issues, resulting in friction to getting things done. Also, using two chat apps means additional attention to monitor and double the number of notifications.
3. Find integrations that work across both chat platforms
If you plan to stick with separate chat apps, there are creative ways to unify collaboration.
One of our favorites is the Webex Meeting Integration that works for Slack & Microsoft Teams users.
4. Make a long term plan for interoperability post acquisition
If you plan to have two or more messaging environments, like Slack + Webex Teams or Slack + Microsoft Teams, what you really need is interoperability. Mio keeps everyone chatting and collaborating in their existing Slack workspaces and their Webex Teams or Microsoft Teams environments while federating messaging across all platforms. This truly is the best of both worlds. Everyone gets to collaborate without the need to make a big migration plan.
Mio is simple to set up:
- Auth in all chat apps your teams use by creating your Mio Hub
- Import all users and channels at once, or select them one by one
- Team members in your Mio Hub can immediately chat in DMs or groups with members on other platforms
- File sharing, threaded messages, reactions, and the ability to edit and delete messages are all supported with Mio
- New conversations will be mirrored in the primary chat platform each employee prefers to use
Just because you’ve acquired a company that uses different collaboration and messaging platforms or different chat workspaces doesn’t mean you need to isolate one messaging tool. Nor does it mean you must settle on the friction and communication silos created when using more than one messaging tool in the workplace.
Hopefully, the considerations above have reassured you that it’s not impossible to manage your messaging and chat platforms post-acquisition. It will, absolutely, take some blood, sweat and tears to get there. But, if that’s not for you, Mio can get your newly- expanded team collaborating in no time.
Set up your free Mio account here.