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Why template management is a critical piece of any merger and acquisition

(Image credit: Image Credit: Geisteskerker / Pixabay)

With the proper template management plan, even a multinational merger can feel like just another day at the office.

Growing optimism among U.S. enterprises is fuelling the market with a steady stream of businesses changing hands. And in a new report from Deloitte, the recent increase in merger and acquisition activity shows no signs of stopping. In fact, 79 per cent of respondents said that they expect to increase the amount of deals that they close in the coming year — which is a 70 per cent increase from last year’s results.

However, optimism doesn’t guarantee positive results. According to the Harvard Business Review, somewhere between 70 and 90 per cent of mergers and acquisitions fail. Enterprises are complex, and often global, so it is difficult to pinpoint an exact cause of this failure. Likely, there are several factors that contribute to a failed merger or acquisition, including poor leadership, financial misjudgements and various external events. However, the majority of Deloitte’s respondents cited effective integration as the most important factor in a successful merger or acquisition, which includes the proper implementation of a unified template management system.

Similar to leadership changes and physical relocations, the alignment of company templates is a critical piece of any merger or acquisition. Employees produce thousands of emails, documents, slides and presentations on a daily basis. It follows then, that when two companies join forces, the templates, logos and brand guidelines employees use should as well. In order to help guarantee the success of a merger or acquisition, the implementation of an on-brand and efficient document culture should be top-of-mind.

Due diligence

Unfortunately, “try before you buy” does not apply to corporations, but “plan before you buy” is a critical best practice. During considerations for any merger or acquisition, it’s important to decide how employees are actually going to be helped to produce documents in the new set-up using the right communication assets from all parties involved. Will the document management system from Company A be used or will there be a transition to what Company B found success with? Depending on the nature of the merger, there could even be a direct document integration rather than introducing an entirely new system.

Employee motivation and alignment is one of the most critical factors in post-merger integration. For employees, big changes in their day-to-day work life can be daunting and stressful. Properly aligning communication cultures has more influence than may be immediately obvious. While relocation and title changes may be the larger, more obvious effects of mergers and acquisitions, the way that employees interact and use documents, templates and official communications often has a broader reach. Keep in mind that the ability of employees to adapt and communicate can make or break the long-term success of a merger.

Effectively embrace and welcome new employees 

A sufficiently integrated communication strategy is a strong cultural tool that can assimilate new employees from Day One. Undergoing a merger or acquisition is exciting, but if handled poorly, can be a distressing and unsettling time for employees involved. Presenting a freshly-merged workforce with access to accurately updated templates, documents and decks is more than just a business necessity. Efficient digital asset management through a template management system proves to new colleagues that their presence in the company and their daily contributions are valued.

Regardless of what they use to communicate internally or externally, new employees appreciate a strong identity integration. Rather than wait multiple days or weeks to have their signatures and electronic identities updated, the change can happen instantly through digital means. Something as simple as immediate access to the correct templates, slides and documents can effectively embrace new colleagues. Besides encouraging trust and respect from the start, an easy adaptation to what is an otherwise difficult change is a sure-fire way to build morale.

Exude confidence to the outside world

Confidence is key — especially after a large-scale transition. Mergers and acquisitions can be scary, confusing and when poorly executed, detrimental to a professional brand. Sending out official communications with inaccurate logos or titles is not only confusing and unprofessional, but could ultimately lose business. For current customers and other interested parties, an efficient and effective merger with a unified communication culture is critical. Not only will this inspire confidence in something new and unfamiliar, but it will placate any concerns that outside parties have about the merger or acquisition.

Brand consistency builds brand integrity. Therefore, approaching the world with a unified brand front from Day One is extremely important. With effective template management systems, details as minute as email signatures are updated with new branding as soon as the merger takes place. For existing contacts and long-standing clients, this confirms that the reliability, professionalism and efficiency they are familiar with is still very much part of the company’s values.

The last thing anyone wants from a merger or acquisition is a drop in confidence, which can result in profit dips or client losses. But with the support of a template management system, accuracy is ensured from the get-go. With one tool, a company can effectively communicate its newly-unified brand with confidence — and since the tool is digital, this communication has reach across departments, time zones and borders.

A corporate merger or acquisition can easily become overwhelming for both leadership and employees. To make things easier for both new and old colleagues, consider a proactive approach to template transitions with a unified document culture. Preventing loss, embracing new employees and broadcasting confidence and reliability after a large change can all be attained seamlessly with the proper planning and the right document management system.

Jesper Theill Eriksen, CEO, Templafy
Image Credit: Geisteskerker / Pixabay

Jesper Theill Eriksen is the CEO at Templafy.