By Claire West

Fujitsu is calling upon British business to push IT up the agenda in merger and separation situations as organisations are struggling to understand the challenges and opportunities that IT can present in a merger or separation deal.

With merger deals expected to surge over the coming 12 months (according to Ernst & Young* and BDO**) and many high-profile financial services separation deals set to take place, Fujitsu has recognised the need to bring its significant experience and existing customer offerings and consultancy in this area together to ensure IT is one of the critical success factors for a deal whether it is a merger or separation scenario. As a result Fujitsu is launching a focused offering called MISS (Merger Integration Separation Service) which will be headed up by the company's Graeme Wright. Fujitsu expects the hottest market sectors to be finance, government, technology and energy.

Graeme Wright, head of MISS (Merger Integration Separation Service) Fujitsu UK & Ireland, said: "Market pressures, regulatory reform and strategic opportunities are all driving M&A activity as well as business separation. Businesses undergoing a merger, integration or separation want to realise the business benefits but wrestle with tough IT related challenges. The combination of diverse visions, objectives and priorities simply amplifies the challenges, but if done right the business benefits achieved through a successful IT merger or separation will hit both the bottom line as well as going some way to helping with the cultural challenges facing the parties involved."

Fujitsu believes the main challenges in merger and separation deals revolve around:

-IT being hidden from the business units responsible for making M&A decisions

-Politics around which systems should be kept in a merger situation, with horse trading playing too much of a role in favour of objective assessment, i.e. 'one of your systems for one of ours'; jockeying for the top IT position, etc

-Keeping the business running whilst either integrating two companies or separating systems from demerging organisations

-Key cultural values of merging organisations being embedded in the IT / business processes which may not be right for the new future organisation

-Achieving a collective and agreed approach to governance for a complex transformation

-Aligning technology roadmaps

Fujitsu's MISS offering focuses on four key service areas across a company's business services, applications and infrastructure:

Blueprint services — development and communication of pragmatic IT change plans and roadmaps to ensure a united approach to IT and that benefits are aligned with business needs

Integration services - combining, rationalisation and alignment of IT portfolios using Fujitsu's 'discovery process analytics' (APD) to ensure benefits from both mergers and business separations are achieved

Separation Services — Fast and safe separation of IT portfolios

Decommissioning Services — safely and efficiently consolidate the IT and remove unneeded assets, eg data centres