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Mergers and acquisitions: M365 consolidation

When two companies decide to merge, one of the crucial steps for a successful transition is the unification of their information systems. It goes far beyond a simple necessity; it’s an inescapable imperative to ensure smooth, productive integration. There are many potential challenges for these organizations. A methodical, well-thought-out approach is needed to minimize the impact on operations and users.

Technical issues = productivity and business issues

Company mergers often generate a multitude of technical disparities that give rise to different issues. The first impact we often observe is that collaboration between employees of the merged companies becomes difficult. Distinct domain names between the two entities affect email and instant messaging communications. Document collaboration and calendar sharing are also limited, if not impossible. These issues directly impact productivity and, above all, user satisfaction.

Duplication and fragmented operational management

Security is becoming a real challenge for IT teams due to disparate protection systems and inconsistent, non-uniform configurations. Such a situation increases the company’s level of vulnerability and could place it in a perilous position.

This fragmentation means that management lacks a consolidated view. It requires manual data processing, leading to errors and decision-making delays.

All these problems are detrimental to agility, competitiveness and the ability to exploit new opportunities, compromising the long-term performance of the merged organization. The first objective will, therefore, be to reconcile all these disparities.

Read our white paper on the imperative to unify information systems during a merger and discover other challenges your organization could face.

Microsoft 365 integration strategy in mergers and acquisitions

The list of things to accomplish is long and complex but not insurmountable. Without going into detail, here are some of the important things an organization should consider when planning the unification of technology environments:

  • Merging domain names for email
  • Enabling collaboration throughout the new organization​​
  • Creating a unified console for managing the Microsoft 365 environment
  • Standardization of network, device, application and access configurations​​
  • Validation of the environment’s compatibility with future developments
  • Plan the replacement or reconfiguration of specific workstations
  • Prepare a plan to avoid email loss in the transition

The right approach is to analyze existing business processes and identify the applications, tools and data that affect them. This discovery and mapping phase will enable you to determine what can be migrated automatically and what will require more manual intervention.

Photo of Charles Mailhot

Charles Mailhot

Consulting Director, Modern Work Environment

Questions to ask to reduce risk

This list is just a sample of the dozens of questions you’ll need to answer as you prepare for your migration. All this information will help you build your target architecture and test plan. Yes, you’ll need to test before proceeding because there are many pitfalls, and your objective remains to minimize the impact on your operations and users.

All these activities must be carried out in sequence, considering specific dependencies and limitations.

  • What do we need to move, and in what quantities?
  • Do we have redundant, obsolete or non-essential data?
  • What is critical, essential and secondary?
  • Do the elements to be migrated respect the merged organization’s compliance?
  • Which public sites will be migrated, and which external users will be affected?
  • Do the migrated environments have the same conventions?

The greater the disparities between organizations, the more colossal the task and the greater the preparation required.

Photo of Charles Mailhot

Charles Mailhot

Consulting Director, Modern Work Environment

Don’t hesitate to call on ITI’s experts who have carried out this type of project many times before because there are pitfalls that only experience can help you avoid.

ITI's approach to "tenant to tenant" M365 migration

A step-by-step approach is essential to minimize impact and ensure a smooth transition. This methodology considerably reduces service interruptions and increases user satisfaction by involving customer teams from the outset in workshops to identify potential blockers and the appropriate countermeasures to address them:

  • Understanding: Analyze business environments, needs and constraints
  • Design: Determine a tailor-made migration strategy
  • Organization: Plan activities and change management
  • Implementation: Set up migration configurations, tools and processes
  • Training: Transfer knowledge to IT operational teams
  • Operational support: Support IT teams during and after migration
  • Evolution: Support the organization in the evolution of Microsoft 365 solutions

The ITI team draws on a long series of successful Microsoft 365 environment migrations to determine a customized migration strategy based on business context and objectives. As a result, the adverse effects of migration are significantly mitigated.

Microsoft 365 migration specialists

The multidisciplinary team overseeing this transition is made up of several members, as each project requires several specialists:

  • A project manager
  • A change management specialist
  • A Microsoft 365 architect
  • Microsoft 365 specialists (Intune, Teams, SharePoint, security, compliance)
  • Migration experts
  • Microsoft 365 support technicians

In short, unifying IT systems when companies merge or are acquired is much more than a simple technical step. It is a complex and critical process that, if managed strategically and methodically, can significantly contribute to the success and longevity of the new entity formed by the merger.

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