Corporate mergers are often first heard about through internal rumours. This can have a negative effect on workers as it triggers a sense of generalised uncertainty. In the best of cases, the required adjustments will not include letting off staff, but will bring about major changes for a company´s employees, such as different supervisors, relocated colleagues, modified working conditions and even other technological tools.

Most companies involved in this adaptation process do not efficiently communicate the changes to their staff, and, as a result, concerned employees do not know what to expect. These organizations also run the risk of having some workers beginning to pursue other opportunities with the competition, which could prove to be an important loss in valuable human capital that has been trained by the company over years.

Some studies suggest that a lack of trust from corporate managers is one of the main reasons why mergers were stalled in 2011. This occurred mainly in the Euro zone. On the one hand, it is obvious that the current situation would generate suspicion among investors and executives, which affects their decision to perform complex transactions such as mergers. Secondly, this distrust seriously affects external debt financing, because banks are also becoming more stringent when granting credit.

Once the initial phase of adjustments has been passed, it is time for the new departments to re-establish their working procedures and redistribute their tasks. This is where document management software systems come in, by providing a solid working environments and facilitating overall business production.

Back to normal

In an abnormal and uncertain situation brought about by a merger, most staff members are eager to get back to normal. This will be easier to achieve if employees can continue using the technological tools of one or more of the merged firms or if at least one of the firms used virtual environments before the merger. In this scenario, document management systems enable the newly created organization to access both shared resources and the general information. This software would also unify business documents, reduce response times and speed up business processes. Finally, efficient document management helps to establish the new corporate identity, both externally and internally, to the bewildered workers.

Full preservation of data is another key aspect in which document management systems contribute positively, ensuring both the maintenance and the confidentiality of the information. Data preservation avoids loss of documents, prevents employees from having to perform the same tasks twice, and allows organizations to rapidly adapt to new situations if needed, since previously establishes deadlines can be rapidly met.

In addition, document management systems play a critical role in controlling which users or departments are authorized to access certain information. This means that only a select amount of people can access data about the real situation of a project, inside their office and also outside through their mobile devices.

Dealing with business risks

Any company, regardless of its size, should consider that all of the production processes may be affected by a technological risk. Obviously, the larger the volume the greater the impact on both the structural and the economic aspects.

A merger is a good opportunity for companies to implement a business strategy focused on the prevention of technological risks, although the best option for any type of organization would be to apply a business strategy at its foundation.

According to the Global Survey of I.T. Risk, by IBM and The Economist, generally, firms are not sufficiently prepared to take on risks and only one half of the survey respondents has a Risk Management department. In fact, most companies still perceive I.T. risks to be a unique situation that only affects I.T. However, they do not realize that it is part of the entire risk framework and therefore presents a risk to the entire organization.

There has been an increasing interest in technological risk management , which is largely motivated by the existing legislation. However, this notion must be further integrated so that companies perceive I.T. as being as vital as production.

Businesses must make sure to consider I.T. risks from the start and not to wait until a mishap occurs. Risk strategy must be considered as a business strategy and cannot be isolated from other departments or other aspects conceived as being potentially dangerous.

In this aspect, there is still a long way to go. Corporate managers must be aware that risks in I.T. should be treated as high priority. Meanwhile, manufacturers of document technology software, and particularly developers of document management systems, must assume their role in helping these organizations understand the real risks that I.T. may face. That is, they should help them understand the value of I.T. and of the different components that make up the company´s architecture. This will help them to detect the right moment for transforming their architecture when necessary. In short, it means helping clients understand and alleviating some of the technological risks.

Andre Klein and Julio A. Olivares
President and founder of DocPath
Document Management Software