Step six: Determine your new exposure to IT regulations
If the acquisition brings new types of business, even if it is related to your existing business, be sure to allot time and resources to examining and ensuring compliance with required IT regulations, such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and Sarbanes Oxley. Tools are available to help reduce the cost and complexity of compliance programs and processes, such as the Unified Compliance Framework (UCF), which provides spreadsheets broken down by individual areas of compliance.
Step seven: Implement a database auditing solution
Because of the hectic nature of mergers and acquisitions, many last minute requests and requirements can fall through the cracks. A database auditing solution will routinely monitor data activity and keep an audit trail of users and changes in content.
Additionally, database auditing can be used to keep an eye on your privileged users, such as DBAs and system administrators, who have unfettered access to critical data. Some can even track data access patterns to look for anomalous activity and raise alerts when it occurs.
Step eight: Plan personnel to cover combined systems
During most acquisitions, dual systems and applications need to be supported. Plan for the proper personnel and support to protect and manage all of the data while redundant systems are required. In other words, don't pull the switch too soon -- on systems or personnel.
Step nine: Identify and eliminate the redundant
Inventory and eliminate redundant system software and utilities to reduce cost post-acquisition. For example, if the majority of your most functional applications use DB2 as the DBMS, but a few use a different DBMS, choosing a less functional application that uses DB2 instead may allow you to eliminate a costly DBMS license. However, such decisions need to be made in an informed, business manner and not simply with an eye toward reducing system software cost.
Step ten: Intelligently automate your data management solutions
The more you can automate maintenance tasks, the fewer problems that may stall the integration of your systems. Using software to automate and conduct ongoing health checks on your data and data management activities can improve the overall responsiveness of IT to business needs.
The bottom line
Getting a handle on all of the data in your post-acquisition organization requires time and effort. But it need not be fraught with risk. With proper planning, tools, and resources, along with realistic expectations, you can reduce the risk to your valuable business data.