As an IT professional, you know that an M&A comes with responsibility and expectations for your team. After the deal closes and the celebration is over, you and your team are just getting started. IT plays a huge role in the merging of two companies, and with the amount of time and money that goes into an M&A, your executive team expects a successful integration.
When done right, IT integration delivers an additional 10-15 percent in cost savings. However, to achieve successful integration, your organization must maintain a flexible IT architecture throughout the process and successfully consolidate overlapping systems. This is where the IAM solution you have in place can make or break your success.
So, we’ve devoted a complete blog series to the top challenges a modern IAM solution solves during an M&A—and how you can set your company up for success even before the contract is signed. In part one, we tackled the challenge of ensuring employees have day one access to needed resources, and in part two, we looked at how to effectively manage identities across multiple domains. In this post, we’re taking a hard look at the process technology integration and why the IAM solution you have in place makes all the difference.
Why Your IAM Solution Can Make or Break Technology Integration
When organizations merge, each brings its own technology stack (software, hardware, network systems, enterprise platforms such as ERP and CRM, and applications). In some M&A scenarios, an organization keeps all of the parent company’s existing systems, but other times, the parent organization decides to bring over some of the acquired company’s systems. To accomplish this, the contents and users for each system must be migrated.
The sheer quantity of systems involved can create workload issues for your IT staff. If you don’t have a modern IAM solution, all identity-related requests typically get routed through the help desk. This is a nightmare for everyone involved, with everything from provisioning to lifecycle management changes being handled manually.
Many IAM tools, such as legacy IAM systems, also require that everything be hard-coded throughout integration. This means hiring developers and outside consultants. The wrong solution leads to a much longer, costlier road to integration—one that is often accompanied by compromise and unexpected delays.
Make M&A Integration a Success with Modern IAM
These challenges exemplify why the IAM solution you choose is so important! While the wrong solutions leads to inefficiencies and delay, the right solution gives your organization the flexibility to rapidly adapt during a period of constant change, while smoothly and efficiently migrating systems and users without disruption.
Configuration is the key to enabling ongoing change where adjustments can quickly be made as you move forward with consolidating duplicate systems. For example, our IAM solution, RapidIdentity, offers a flexible and infinitely configurable logic engine, which is used for implementing and enforcing policies. The logic engine’s drag-and-drop capabilities allow you to easily create action sets that do not require any deep programming. Because you aren’t hard-coding every step of the process, it’s easy to modify configurations.
It’s also important to select a modern IAM solution that can support all technologies involved. After all, the acquired company has its own technology stack that is likely very different from your own company’s, and many IAM systems simply can’t integrate with legacy and homegrown solutions.
Disparate operating systems present another potential challenge—for example, if the acquired company uses Linux, but your company uses Windows. The right IAM solution will allow you to connect all systems—including on-premises, cloud-based, and legacy systems—through a variety of methods.
For example, with RapidIdentity, you can use API connections, direct database connections, or integrate through text-based files. Furthermore, with RapidIdentity’s bundled graphical user interface (GUI) tool kit, you can quickly configure new connections to virtually any application and integrate them with your existing systems and data. Plus, there are infinite configuration options on top of these connections, so RapidIdentity can read, transform, and input data into newly connected systems and applications.
Flexibility is also important when it comes to how your IAM solution’s capabilities are delivered. Many times, an organization does not want to use the IAM solution’s provided interfaces for all aspects of its environment. Instead, the organization would rather deliver the IAM solution’s capabilities through APIs.
Here again, not all IAM solutions are created equal. Although most IAM solutions have a published API set—and you can do anything within the confines of that API set—both the API set and what you can do with it are very limited.
If your organization plans to use APIs during the integration process, you need an IAM solution that accommodates your needs without compromise. This means having the functionality for everything to be called through a robust, RESTful API set. With RapidIdentity, 100 percent of our solution’s capabilities can be delivered through APIs and surfaced in your own technologies.
One unique and powerful feature of RapidIdentity is the ability to extend the API capability within the solution itself to meet your specific requirements. So, if there isn’t an existing API call for something you want to do, you can create an action with RapidIdentity’s logic engine and publish it as an API call. This means you are only limited by your creativity.
As an example, let’s say the company your organization acquired already has an established process for requesting access through SharePoint. To minimize disruption, you want to allow users to continue using the process they already know.
Well, with RapidIdentity, you can do this—while completely changing how that process is implemented on the back end. To do so, you would simply write an action set, publish it as an API, and then point that SharePoint workflow to the action set. The access requests would then be automated through RapidIdentity; but on the face of things, the end-user experience would still be the same.
M&A Underway: Security on the Brain
As you can see, having an IAM solution in place, and specifically the right solution, can alleviate many of the issues that arise with technology integration following an M&A. The right solution minimizes disruption, reduces expense, and allows IT to focus their time and attention on other challenges, like security.
In part four of this M&A blog series, we’ll talk more about security challenges during an M&A, specifically: maintaining compliance, lacking a comprehensive data security architecture, and vulnerability to insider threats. Then, we’ll look at how these threats stack up once we add a modern IAM solution into the mix.Want the full guide instead? Download the complete ebook, IT Success in M&A Starts with IAM, to have your own copy of all five challenges and solutions.