17 Dec To merge or not to merge Salesforce orgs after M&A
by Shane Howard
Between the necessary preparation, high-level business process workflow, order of operations, process and system integration, data mapping, transformation, and migrations, there’s a lot involved when someone mentions “merge Salesforce orgs.” However, with 56 percent of global executives actively pursuing M&A within the next 12 months, the question of how to handle Salesforce org maintenance as a newly expanded company will naturally come up.
No matter the particulars of any given M&A situation, stakeholders should carefully consider the question of merging before taking further action. To merge or not to merge? The answer is not the same for every case. And here’s why:
The case for not merging
There are a handful of reasons merging businesses or acquired companies may choose to keep operations in separate Salesforce orgs, depending on the nature of the integration and long-term strategy of the business units. Here are some example scenarios that often suggest not merging and keeping separate instances:
— If you are operating independent businesses that offer completely different products or services or business units that have little to no need to work closely together or that do not share a single set of business processes, you may be better suited to operate out of separate or multiple orgs.
— If at most you just need to have data reporting capabilities in check, you may be able to implement a Salesforce-to-Salesforce connection, data warehouse connection, or BI tool to share those specific data points.
— If you run independent processes or have different products and customers, you are likely better suited to remain in separate orgs that will allow you to scale without limiting independent business practices.
The pros of choosing not to merge include less impact on day-to-day tasks and productivity, allowance for different regions or departments to operate independently, and less need for customization around process differences. However, keep in in mind that maintaining separate orgs may lead to data silos, a decrease in corporate culture unity, and non-standard processes.
In short, if you are operating primarily independent business units or have very different practices, products, and customers, then separate orgs probably makes more sense. It also limits the amount of custom configuration needed to support separate business processes, simplifying your M&A and integration team’s workload.
The case for merging
Many M&A initiatives opt for merging orgs to create greater cultural unity, brand awareness, and collaboration. These are some of the requirements and situations that opt for merging orgs, and with good reason:
— If your business operates with standard global processes.
— If you have unique businesses that need to see and share data, sales, or transactions globally.
— If your company operates by working on the same projects or through the same service desks, you should be operating out of a single instance. You can thus avoid varying versions of the truth or “SaaS Silos.”
The benefits of merging orgs are numerous: you achieve a uniform view of business, a single source of truth for customer data, central administration and control, standard processes, less operating cost, and—more often than not—greater efficiency. You will also be able to more easily standardize the customer experience to optimize your process for similar customer outcomes. But there are some words of caution for merging orgs: you’ll hit your data and governing limits sooner, and you may need to customize more to accommodate slight process differences based on regions or business units. Merging orgs also means you have a greater need to consider change management and training for the integration. You may have to get creative where you need to configure multiple workflows or approval processes for slightly different scenarios to accommodate deviations to support both the existing and acquired business processes.
To sum it up, if you have a highly standardized business model across all global regions and/or business units or if you operate in a joint transaction or highly collaborative business model, you should consider consolidating into a single org.
Define a program strategy before you decide to merge Salesforce orgs
Between 70 and 90 percent of M&A initiatives falter due to failed integrations. Whether you decide to merge or not to merge, you must first consider how your business operates and decide on a program strategy for Salesforce. A well-defined strategy for Salesforce with clear business outcomes and metrics should help answer whether or not merging orgs is the route you want to take after M&A. Make sure you assess the pros and cons of either option in light of the implications they’ll have on your program strategy. If the goal is to achieve a unified customer experience or standardized processes, a merged org can support these objectives. If operating distinct business models for each unit is more important, however, then a single org may be best.
Whatever you choose, Salesforce is equipped to support it. Taking care of your data and your people through M&A integration is challenging enough. By letting Salesforce and its powerful integration capabilities guide the process, you can create a solution that meets your objectives and paves the way for your newly grown company’s success.
Our next blog, written by our partners at OwnBackup, covers managing integrations and applications during your Salesforce org merge. Read it here!
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.