Project Management Tools Alone Don’t Cut it for M&A

Many companies are using or thinking about implementing project management tools to help streamline their M&A process – here’s why you might consider using a purpose built, M&A-specific platform.

“Midaxo’s M&A Solution has helped us by systematizing our work with accelerated efficiency and transparency, and by building playbooks to capture learnings and best practices. This way of working is and will continue to be central to our future M&A success.”
- M&A Manager, Daimler

The Pains of Using Project Management Tools for M&A

Though project management tools are great for organizing and tracking many types of initiatives – mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activities (buy-side, divestments, partnerships, legal entity rationalization, multiple sites) are probably the most complex, strict, sensitive, and information-dense processes.

Few project management tools are designed for multiple contributors and most lack the security features needed to keep sensitive information secure. M&A requires engagement from stakeholders across organizational boundaries, as well as strict access controls to prevent costly data leaks.

Project management tools are understood to be inefficient and easy to break, taking up precious time to set up and define individual projects. You’ve probably experienced this in the past.

M&A cases are not truly projects as there is a certain pattern or playbook that they follow, but the volume is too low and the variation and effort required are both too high for M&A cases to be considered truly process either. All M&A processes tend to follow a similar pattern, making it feel like you’re running the same projects over and over and requiring you and your team to execute similar tasks over and over.

Why not implement a system that will help you establish proper, repeatable processes with predictable outcomes?

Better yet, save time with automation and never worry about forgetting a due diligence or integration item again.

M&A Process Tools Out There Today and Where You Stand

First, let’s talk about existing M&A process solutions. The following are three different M&A solutions and the shortcomings of each. Where does your current M&A process stand against these?

1. Documented Process – KNOW HOW

Some companies will painstakingly write-out their M&A process into a beautiful, 100-page word document. The biggest downsides:

  • (surprise!) No one reads it
  • It quickly becomes outdated
  • It's highly disconnected from what’s actually happening during the M&A process steps

The upside to this method is the ability to capture the know-how from past M&A experiences.

2. Process Management - PLAN

It’s important to understand the process flow dependencies, including document approvals and sign-offs. However, defining the process flow:

  • Won’t enable you to capture all the information needed to run a smooth M&A process
  • Can’t help you make judgement calls
  • Is hard to use when disconnected from the project management tool

However, a process flow is great to help you put an overall plan in place.

3. Project Management - EXECUTION

While project management tools are good for ad-hoc, one-of-one projects and reporting, they have some downsides:

  • Prone to errors and inefficiencies
  • Difficult to adapt and reuse project plan
  • Difficult to capture learnings from previous M&A processes to continually improve your process

In the end, though, some kind of project management tool is necessary for well-coordinated execution and tracking.

Kalle Kilpi, co-founder of Midaxo, summarizes these shortcomings well.

“Traditional project management tools are considered unsuccessful as a category as they require a lot of work to create and maintain project plans while giving limited value back. Business Process Management (BPM) tools on the other hand try to model processes as deterministic flow charts - like if this happens then…, but you can’t model complex processes like M&A as a deterministic flow chart. You need soft process modeling where there is room for professional judgement.”

An M&A Solution That Combines Know-How, Planning and Execution

Why not implement a system that will help you establish proper, repeatable processes with predictable outcomes?

The Midaxo M&A platform is a secure, end-to-end solution that combines the above elements of Know-How, Planning, and Execution and folds them into one comprehensive solution.

WhenPMTdontcut_1Figure 1- Maintain a live playbook.
WhenPMTdontcut_2Figure 2- Add details and lessons learned for entire team.
WhenPMTdontcut_3Figure 3- Adapt M&A playbook for project and add individuals assigned, dates, statuses, and dependencies.
Figure 4- Execute efficiently with one source of truth, controlled access, and detailed reporting with live dashboards.

Here are just a few of the benefits of working with Midaxo’s end-to-end M&A platform.

Efficiently manage your project pipeline: Store all deals and associated documents in a single location, utilize best-practice templates, set stage gates and clear deliverables for each deal, keep track of communication with targets, automate reporting, and control which deals people have access to.

• Clearly track all due diligence activities: Buy and Sell side teams can create and iterate on a reusable due diligence checklist to gather the necessary information and documents, review issues and progress in real time, see watermarked time stamps, and document due diligence findings into the post-merger integration steps.

• Smoothly execute post-merger integration activities: Facilitate planning across all functional teams, provide task-level guidance with your own playbook or a Midaxo template, bring new team members up to speed faster with their own individualized view, and easily report high-level progress to executives.

Companies like Philips, Daimler, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise are using Midaxo to continually automate, improve upon and expand their M&A processes. Midaxo is a purpose built, M&A-specific platform that will help you maintain that value-driving momentum that you need to not only close the right deals but realize maximum synergies.

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