The term “Day 1 planning” gets a lot of emphasis in any integration planning discussion, as it should.
A flawlessly executed Day 1 can be a powerful catalyst for achieving integration objectives, and can help set a positive tone for the execution phase of an acquisition or merger.
Here’s a quick summary of what I consider the key common denominators of a well-planned and flawlessly executed Day 1.
While there are always some additional tasks you may need to do based on the specific requirements of a transaction, these are the basics:
- The Integration Management Office (IMO) is fully mobilized, and all project governance has been fully operationalized (e.g. the Steering Committee has been formed)
- All workstream leads have been identified, and joint teams have been working on non-sensitive integration planning initiatives for at least several weeks or more
- All “day 1 mandatory” initiatives have been identified, and status tracking has been established to confirm completion by or on Day 1 (the list is typically dominated by IT, Finance and HR initiatives)
- Processes & protocols for the requesting and sharing of data has been formalized so workstream leads can use it to inform integration planning
- All IMO collaboration tools, templates and processes have been defined, trained and “stood up”
- Robust tracking for issues, risks and decision needs has started to help identify any problematic topics that need to be addressed
- Initial workplans and year 1 roadmaps have been started to allow for a quick pivot to the execution phase after close (while these are certainly not complete at this stage, having them stubbed out by Day 1 drives momentum into the overall planning effort)
Day 1 Communications Planning
- Key messages and talking points to support Day 1 communications have been drafted and vetted thru the senior management team
- All key stakeholder groups and key contacts have been identified
- Materials for customers & suppliers have been developed, and a plan for contacting key contacts is in place (e.g. some key customers may require a personal call ahead of the formal announcement)
- Materials for employees (FAQs, resource guides etc.) have been developed to support Day 1 employee events
- Materials have been translated into native languages where needed
- Logistical planning (who is where) along with a specific Day 1 schedule of events and any week 1 visits at key locations has been formalized
- Feedback mechanisms have been established to solicit customer and employee questions or concerns
- Public facing branding related changes & announcements (e.g. websites, social platforms, signage) has been prepared & staged for execution as soon as the deal is announced
- All of the above has been reviewed and where needed, rehearsed ahead of Day 1
Completing these basics will allow for a quick transition to the execution phase, and will ensure all key stakeholders are informed, engaged and on board.
Good luck with your integration!
Scott Whitaker is a partner at Global PMI Partners, an M&A integration consulting firm that helps mid-market companies around the world bring their operational, technical and cultural differences into alignment. Global PMI Partners has a reputation for delivering exceptional consistency, speed & customized execution on the complex operational, technical and cultural issues that are so critical to M&A success.