Taking Merger Integration All the Way to the Knowledge Bank (Part 2)

By Marc Solomon posted 10-26-2011 12:23


After three SharePoint migrations plus an acquisition and a merger thrown in for good measure I'm starting to believe that SharePoint integrations are a little like childbirth: if the mother honestly remembered the depth of her labor pains, there would be a lot more only-children in this world.

I'm not sure if us extended SharePoint families need to stick together. Those hidden gotchas -- they're still hidden! Those internal SharePoint names -- they're still concealed in the gibberish of each file storage location. Yes, a little commiseration is useful as a best practice practitioner therapy session. It's even better for organizational preparedness. But do we do need a better way of processing the recurrences that pattern out over the migration cycle?

The documentation angle begs the more opportunistic question: Could you imagine a gold partner who actually specialized in SharePoint for mergers? All that mad scrambling to be a proactive problem-solver-turned-unauthorized decision-maker begets major amnesia as well as stress.

Imagine an outfit with benchmarks to compare and targets to hit around content quality, metadata mapping, and expanding (let alone preserving) communities of practice? Imagine a new co. where my IP is your IP and we’re not just building the future together but doing it in an operationally coherent way.

Now that would be entirely too ... practical.

I'm guessing that gold partners don't assume this position because they could be in the same crouch long after the World Series is decided. That’s because ECMs are still the afterthoughts in the going forwards. That's because consulting outfits who sell successful merger integrations are aligned with the excessive optimism of the transaction suitors. Too big to fail, anybody? These guys can order up an XXL like a seasonal fashionista fresh off the M&A rack that comes in...

  • Cultural fit
  • Employee attitudes
  • Retention issues
  • Teamwork and reward

All of them are vaguely clad in the wardrobe of human capital. None of them offer any clear balance sheet implications or anything as earthy and crunchy as post transaction implementations. Once the prices and fees and retention bonuses are set so is the org chart. No one wants to limbo any lower than say the post approval starting gates, i.e. define the must-haves that are issues-free on day one.

In that sense SharePoint and ECM rationalizations in general are where the go-to-market pedal hits the post honeymoon metal. I've heard a complete range of leadership thought around the need for knowledge capture and retention. Of course knowledge capture and retention can't happen when doubts loom about the infrastructure used to host those assets.

I've heard the most cavalier assessment (and by extension the most sincere): "IP travels down the elevator each night. It resists capture." I've heard the opposite argument from a predecessor: "Take our accounting, HR, and CRM systems but don't lay a hand on my IP!"

Somewhere between these extremes is a defensible middle: "We saved the hardest job for last." I was reminded of this sage observation by my colleague in the migration trenches the other day. I asked her if this puts us in the catbird seat or behind the eight ball.

"Yes!" she said emphatically.

Such the knowledge diplomat.

#changemanagement #GoldPartners #knowledgemanagement #IPintegration #MergersandAcquisitions #ScanningandCapture #feedback #systemintegrators #SharePoint