Integrating systems and allowing connectivity into a corporate environment after a merger or acquisition is often complex, rarely is it the same from deal to deal. One of the most important concerns is the asset investigation during the acquisition; platforms are bought and should be reused if possible. This is where cost avoidance by using a remote connectivity solution comes into play until you can either rebuild the existing system to the parent company corporate image or the acquired system is replaced due to asset end of life cycle schedule.
Remote Access Considerations
There are several things to deal with when you’re confronted with the challenge of maintaining productivity while being cost effective. Based on my experience in several acquisitions and various remote connectivity testing situations, the following use cases are the key ones to consider.
Acquisition day 1 - The first day the new employees become members of the parent company there may be legal conditions, forms or enrollments and benefits they must agree to or choose. Large acquisitions may pose a logistical risk due to hardware delivery into emerging markets in large amounts given short time. A remote connectivity solution would alleviate a logistics strain and increase the time to procure hardware or a corporate reimaging strategy.
Offsite Contractors - Allocating physical systems to contractors (who must maintain access to administer systems, perform development work or consult for the parent company) will increase the need to maintain security, hardware health and support of two systems. Remote connectivity options allow a parent company to reduce costs and increase security by limiting exposure using Mobile Device Management, enforcing a minimum security specification and allocating software only connections for speed of deployment.
Subsidiaries and Divestitures - Collaboration with the parent company may be mutually crucial for many Subsidiaries and Divestitures to maintain market segment shares as well as reduce the logical nightmare at segregating network access to avoid IP contamination. A remote connectivity solution may help the subsidiary or divestiture benefit from the reduced hardware on the infrastructure as well.
Challenges and hurdles
Hardware requirements - Some Virtual machine systems require Virtualization Technology(VT) capability to run effectively. Many of the enterprise class systems in corporate environments now come standard with VT capability in the ecosystem, not all will have that capability though. The benefit of running a 64bit image over a 32bit image is six times the speed, my experience has shown that this solution works the best on Intel 3rd generation Intel® Core™ vPro™ processors.
OS platform compatibility- During an acquisition if the remote connection capability requires a specific platform this may steer you away from a solution unless your solutions are OS, browser and platform agnostic; from the authentication measure, client to browser- all have to be compatible with many platforms.
Load balanced to GEO's needing the solution - When acquiring a company several thousand miles away and across the ocean from you, remote connectivity servers can pose a huge risk to stability by increasing latency and disconnection points. Without a globally dispersed server solution, expect issues in connectivity and/or satisfaction.
Scalable for Online/Offline usage - Ensure you have many differing solutions, one for online only quick connections and if possible one for online /offline capability such as a Virtual machine with a corporate image. These capabilities won’t compete with each other, only compliment as one may take VT capability (which may not be a capability of the platform being acquired). If the platform needs offline capability (maybe the user travels) then the choice is to upgrade the system to a VT capable system or provide a new corporate system.
Challenging configuration - Operational efficiency on setup and sustaining usage is a must! Complex configurations on startup and reconfiguring can lead to productivity loss. Support and escalation turn time needs to be streamlined for fast break/fix solutions and maintaining customer satisfaction of this new acquisition.
Security of the End Nodes - The purchasing company will want security assurance that the clients connecting to the corporate environment do not infect or compromise the safety and security of the corporation. This is done through requiring security patching compliance, Antivirus and Malware detection and prevention software, identifying/ reviewing past infections and mitigation history.
These again are my thoughts and observations working through past acquisitions while testing remote connectivity solutions. If you’ve run into similar things, how did you overcome them? What solutions are you benefitting from in an M&A scenario?