There is a high probability that if your organization
becomes successful, it will be the target of a merger or acquisition—or
perhaps acquire another company itself. When this occurs, the impact on
Disaster Recovery (DR) planning can be dramatic. To avoid potential business
losses, you must adjust your DR plan as soon as possible to handle the changes
due to successful mergers or acquisitions.

There are two scenarios you’ll have to deal with in this
particular type of situation. The first is what you can do when your firm is
the dominant partner in the merger or acquisition. This will give you control
over the IT merger process, and an advantage in political and business
decisions. Of course, if your firm is acquired, you may find yourself in the
opposite situation, where you must take your lead from the dominant market
partner and deal with potential pitfalls.

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If your company controls the process, IT planning for the
new firm is easier in most cases, but certainly not a cakewalk. While your firm
can mandate the procedures to be used, there’s no guarantee that the other firm
will have compatible data-systems, hardware, software, or anything else. This
could mean that they will be completely incapable of following your company’s
lead when it comes to DR planning, at least at the beginning of the process. You
may be able to bring political and economic pressure to bear on the new firm,
which can help to bring them in line with your company’s overall DR plan. However,
you may need to take into account that some things can’t be changed for one
reason or another, and that will mean training your staff on the new
technology, and training
the new staff
from the merger partner on your existing technology. While
this process will be time consuming, it may be unavoidable, especially if the
other company has standardized on a completely different technology set (such
as a different OS or incompatible hardware platform).

If you’re not the controlling company in the merger process,
you’re going to have to face the flipside of the scenario we just discussed. It
will be up to your company to attempt to either adapt to the technology base of
the dominant partner, or else justify why the new firm either needs to let you
keep what you have, or possibly even take some of that technology into their
own shop. If systems are compatible, and the other partner’s technology base is
better than what you have from a DR perspective, then you should be open to
accepting the new tech into your own organization. However, if they are not
well-prepared for DR, or have technology that is simply incompatible with your
solution set, you may need to be ready to assert all the pressure you can bring
to bear to make sure you don’t get forced to go backwards with your own DR
plans. If the dominant partner’s DR plan does not comply with regulatory requirements,
leaves your data open to potential losses, or does anything else that could
endanger your systems, those issues should be well documented and used as
ammunition to get your side of the story across to the higher-ups.

Mergers and acquisitions are never easy. Melding together
two companies is hard enough from a business perspective, and it doesn’t get
any less complex from a technology
perspective
. Being ready for what’s coming up, analyzing your environment
and that of the new partner, and knowing how to state your case clearly and
emphatically can keep you from getting the short end of the DR stick, no matter
which side of the business case you’re on.