At the other end of the complexity spectrum is the integration that occurs when you acquire the actual operations of a company, including its R&D, engineering, supply chain and support operations. Yet another layer of complexity exists if the two companies have overlapping products, functions, geographies, and IT systems – the Compaq-HP merger, for example. Most operational integrations require 2-3 years to complete, but if you merge two large companies with full stand-alone IT platforms, a full IT integration will more likely require 5-7 years.
Against this backdrop, companies who undertake an integration or carve-out must buckle down for the inevitable bumpy ride that comes with large-scale reorganization. The business case may promise financial rewards at the end, but revenues will drop at the outset as employees worry more about their jobs than their customers. Competitors will seize on the disruption. Talent will be lost. You can lose sight of the underlying business case for the initiative, resulting in decisions that may steer you in the wrong direction.
But success can be achieved, and there are Best Practices to help assure it: