Business continuity plans are not only to be used when uncontrollable or unpredictable events beset an enterprise. They also have a role to play in events that, so to speak, firms bring upon themselves. Mergers and acquisitions are good examples. Such events are deliberately induced, unlike fires, floods or IT systems breakdowns. However, that still means having adequate business continuity planning, which is best done early in the whole M&A process. Which then are some of the key points to be addressed as you begin to deal with another, perhaps very different organisation?
Business continuity planning information is one of the first steps: gathering data on the number of employees and contractors, and their spread over different locations of the other company, for instance. Contracts that will need to be taken over and looked after are also key pieces of information. The next part of your BC intelligence operation will then be to assess the level of BC management already in existence at the other company to plan for dovetailing with it, or bringing it up to speed as appropriate. Making contact, communicating and establishing good relationships with your counterparts will also be necessary to reassure the other BC personnel in what may be a time of uncertainty.
As the M&A process unfolds at a global level, business continuity from each enterprise will need to transition into one overall BC team for the new corporate entity. Teams will need to work together to ensure that plans are in place for the start of the operations of the new entity, including emergency and crisis management plans to deal with any possible mishaps as the separate companies join forces. Much of the business continuity planning processes that you already know may need to be done or re-done. The difference is that you now also have a new group of people and a new business culture to deal with at the same time.