Business and Technical Architecture Planning for Corporate Mergers

Merging two corporate entities, especially sizable ones, is a very tricky and complicated process. The Source company will have a unique corporate culture and sets of business processes and IT processes that have grown imperfectly over time, and the same is true of the Target company (the one being acquired or merged into the source). Without help from a qualified consultant, it can be easy for workers in the Source company to try to do a direct mapping between Business and IT processes in both companies. This is almost impossible and would take way too long to figure out. Instead, it is smarter and more efficient to brainstorm a Model Company that you want the post merger organization to resemble. Rethink the business and IT processes from scratch. Develop user stories or use cases to help think through the business processes. Use IT industry best practices (design patterns, principles, enterprise architecture frameworks, hardware architecture, etc) that you desire the Model Company to be like.

Allow a team of up to 11 workers something like 2-4 weeks for every year the older of the two companies has been in business, up to no more than 40 years (we need an arbitrary, hard limit so as to avoid spending too much time on older companies). In other words, if the Source company (the one initiating the merger) is the oldest, and has been in business for 40 years, then it may take something like 80-160 weeks to come up with a working Model Company. To cut the time, consider partitioning the Model Company and assigning a team to each Partition.

Once you have the Model Company modeled and documented, you can determine which company (Source or Target) has the best competency for a particular Model Company Process (Business or IT process). Use a decision matrix approach such as Architecture Alternative Analysis (AAA) to help decide which company is voted the most competent at a Process. Such an approach will eliminate tie-breaker situations when both companies are deemed to have equal competence.

At the conclusion of the decision matrix iteration, do a Gap Analysis to determine what gaps exist between the Actual Company (Source or Target) and the Model Company. Document how to close the gap. Identify the risks and rewards of closing each gap. Be sure to include Subject Matter Experts from both companies, with an outside consultant (Merger Architect Coach) to act as facilitator, tie-breaker, business architect and IT architect – sort of an IT go-to specialist to keep the team moving forward.

If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know

John Conley III

Chief Technology Architect

Samsona Software

© 2013 by John Conley III for Samsona Corporation

Author: John Conley III

I am a technology and business consultant who provides state of the art software design services to rapidly growing and mature organizations using cutting edge technologies. Information Technology Professional with over 20 years of industry experience as a Software Architect/Lead Developer and Project Management Coach using service oriented (SOA/EIB) view of the software development process (Use Case/Story View, Class Design View, Database Design View, and Infrastructure View) and software design (Model-View-Controller based (MVC pattern/framework)). Coached PMs on various aspects of task and resource management and requirements tracking and tracing, and even filled in for PMs. Led teams of varying sizes mainly from the architect viewpoint: translating non-technical requirements into concrete, technical components and work units, identifying and creating reusable frameworks and design patterns, creating skeletal IDE projects with MVC wiring and config files, assigning app tiers or horizontal components to developers, making sure test team members have use cases and other work unit inputs to create an executable test/quality assurance plan, organizing meetings, ensuring enterprise standards and practices are adhered to, enforcing any regulatory and security compliance traceable from requirements/Solution Architecture Documents (SADs) all the way down to core classes in code, and so on Expertise includes designing and developing object-oriented, service/component-based software systems that are robust, high-performance and flexible for multiple platforms. Areas of specialization include Internet (business-to-business and business-to-consumer) e-commerce and workflow using Microsoft.NET technologies (up to current Visual Studio 2010/.Net Framework 4.0, MVC3/Razor View Engine, LINQ), TFS, Sharepoint 2007 (Task Mgmt, Build Script), Commerce Server 2007/2002 (basket and order pipeline), ASP.NET, ADO.NET, C#, Visual C++, Visual Basic.NET) and Java EE/J2EE, service oriented architecture (SOA) and messaging (MSMQ, MQSeries, SAP message handling) and more abstract enterprise service bus (ESB) designs, best patterns and practices, telecommunications and the offline processes of the enterprise. Provide detail estimates on budgets, guided design and development tasks with offshore teams, technical assessments of third party software tools and vendor selections, project/iteration planning and spring product backlogs, and level of effort for statements of work (including for offshore based development teams), including executive summary presentations as needed.

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