07 Jan The logistics of an org merge: Time, scope, and team
by Shane Howard
Once you’ve decided to proceed with an org merge post-acquisition, there’s no going back. Combining separate systems, data sources, processes, and resources is no small undertaking, and the logistics of such a project can get bleak fast: only 16 percent of merger orgs deliver on objectives in the planned time, with 41 percent of reorgs taking longer than originally planned (and potentially harming the newly grown company). A successful org merge of separate systems is all nice in stated goals and objectives, but it takes rock-solid logistics to truly execute.
Let’s review three areas of logistics you’ll quickly need to address after deciding to merge multiple Salesforce orgs in response to M&A: the org merge project time, the scope, and the technical team executing the merge.
Planning for project time
According to a survey of business managers, 64 percent believe that integration resistance is low for the top management levels and high for the worker level. However, research shows that poster-merger integration initiatives have resistance at all levels of the business, from top leaders to regular workers. It’s because of this resistance (and the sheer size of most Salesforce orgs) that org merge project time is often delayed and slowed down.
While promotion and change management can mediate some of this resistance, it’s important to still plan a healthy amount of time for the project. Most companies need to allot months—not days—to assimilate an acquired Salesforce org completely. If there are multiple Salesforce orgs involved in the M&A move, particularly for different regions or business units, it may be best to split into multiple projects spread over a year or longer.
Determining the scope of the org merge
In addition to planning for the org merge timeline, your company will need to clearly define the scope of the merge. Over 60 percent of executives report that their organization always has an integration strategy in place before signing a deal. And why is that? Because defining the scope of integration, and specifically of the technical Salesforce org merge that will ensue, is mission-critical to the success of the M&A as a whole. In fact, involving an integration team early to define the scope and draft strategy for the org merge makes companies 40 percent more likely to yield favorable results.
Defining scope for org merge is a tall order, considering how most companies involved in M&A plays have massive and often complex Salesforce orgs. Consider the years of data stored in each separate org you intend to merge—upwards of thousands to millions of records, hundreds of users, various configurations and workflows, data types and needed transformations, custom code, third-party apps and integrations, and more. Harmonizing this amount of variation as two companies work to find a culture fit is a huge undertaking, but defining the scope of an org merge will do wonders for alleviating the process. Your technical team will need to identify key requirements, deliverables, and more to map to the destination org, move to a sandbox for testing, and finally push to production.
And don’t forget about the data cleansing. You should not only plan for cleansing the data that is being imported into your org but oftentimes companies realize in the middle of the migration process that the target org data has issues that make it challenging to import the new source data. You should also strategize for ways to minimize downtime to the org throughout this process—take a look at OwnBackup’s tips on how to do so.
Identifying the ideal technical team
Seventy-six percent of high-performing companies report staffing their integration projects with skills that properly match the job. At low-performers, only 46 percent staff projects this way. In short, you have to put highly-qualified, MVP team members on an org merge effort. The decision matrix and roles involved need to be clearly aligned to avoid delays.
Your org merge team may be solely internal, a hired system integrator, or a mix of both. There are benefits and drawbacks to any combination, but no matter who is involved the chances are no one will understand how the acquired org works, so keeping highly-skilled technical members from both the acquired and acquiring orgs will be crucial to manage cross-understanding. Consider using an outside team of certified Salesforce specialists for org management, security customization, data migration, integrations, and other heavy-lift technical needs. You may need particular specialists depending on the applications and integrations involved in the merge. Whoever you pick to comprise your team, make sure you’re picking skills that match the job—this is the time to put your high-value team members at the forefront.
Simplus has a wealth of experience merging Salesforce orgs, and our expert consultants are at the ready to help you with yours too. Reach out today to learn how the most highly rated Salesforce consultant can guide your business through a successful merge.
Shane is the VP of Global Operations at Simplus. With his expertise in Professional Services, Operations, PMO, and Software Development and his experiences in partner, C-level, VP, and Director positions in various industries, Shane thrives in operational excellence. He solves complex internal and client-facing problems with scalable solutions.