M&A Happens...Then What?

Sometimes the hardest part of merging companies is the merging of data management systems.

Mergers & Acquisitions happen in every industry, and the retail industry is no different. If you look back across the several years, quite a few high profile brands were acquired: Kraft Food Group merged with HJ Heinz Co, WalMart acquired Moosejaw, Hudson Bayacquired Saks Fifth Avenue, and BassPro is in talks to acquire Cabela’s. If it is a large merger then a nice new name for the company can be rolled out, like The Kraft Heinz Company, or the acquisition can be tucked into a portfolio of brands like Hudson Bay which owns brands like Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Gilt, and a few others with an updated shiny e-commerce site. That’s the easy part.

On to the Difficult Part

Most retailers have a dozens of different systems on the back end that make them scalable on the front end to meet their customers’ expectations. These systems have grown over time as well, so a thirty-year-old retailer might have several point of sale systems, several warehouse management systems, planning systems (or spreadsheets), dozens of other supply chain systems, an ERP system or two, an e-commerce site was added in the 1990’s and hundreds of shadow databases that the business has created to work around Corporate IT processes. Most of these systems are moderately integrated because they are managed by a skeleton crew that wears quite a few hats in the organization, and are spread very thin.

Once a retailer is acquired, their hundreds of systems are thrown into the mix with the acquiring companies hundreds of systems. In order to successfully manage your business through this important time of change a retailer needs a modern visual analytics platform that can thrive in an imperfect environment to move the business forward.

Acquiring a company means acquiring their data systems too. Here's how to ease the transition:

In Particular, the Four Realities Below Must be Addressed:

  1. Disparate Data – A single retail chain has data everywhere. A collection of brands under one retail umbrella require the ability to pull data from many different sources to get a line of sight across the business.
  2. Do More with Less – Retailers are not as well staffed as banks to manage technology. A retailer will rarely be at full staff and most members of your team are going to wear multiple hats.
  3. Quick Time to Results – 6 month projects are too long, and retailers do not have the time or budget to handle never-ending projects.
  4. It Has to Work – The technology and systems in place have to work. This may sound obvious, but it is amazing how many flashy BI systems that are in the market place, that are fantastic during the sales demo, fall flat on their face when addressing a real world business problem.

The good news is the Qlik Visual Analytics Platform that can expertly handle the challenges of modern day retail with the complexity of an acquisition. I invite you to investigate for yourself, but before you dive in, take the Qlik Retail Omni-Channel Analytics Solution for a test drive, and listen to the Warehouse Group discuss their omni-channel journey with Qlik which included quite a few acquisitions along the way.


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