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The role of event technology in M&A

15.03.19

Originally featured in Exhibition World January 2019

According to a recent article from Accenture, the IT environment plays a critical role in the success of transformation arising from M&A deals (Accenture Strategy, Revenue Growth Research, 2017). In it, the author claimed 41 per cent of companies see technology and mobility as disruptors of their growth strategies, according to Accenture Strategy research.

However, the same research found that nearly half (47 %) of executives are turning this threat into an opportunity by putting technology and mobility at the core of their future growth strategies.

Anybody watching the news headlines in our industry will know why this is such an important subject today. This year kicked off with Reed’s buyout of Mack Brooks and according to many commentators, we’re likely to witness more M&A activity in 2019.

Carefully structured and scalable growth is of paramount importance for companies subject to, or prosecuting a merger or acquisition. Technology after all plays a large role in establishing competitive advantage. Updating tech and digital event support systems at the point of the takeover or merger, taking into account new objectives, will help to push home this advantage.

The problem is that it’s often not possible to merge (for want of a better word) two different structures without replacing the tools that underpin them. This is of course quite an undertaking for new companies, but nonetheless a new tool that will cover the new requirements is the right way forward.

The operational processes of one company will not necessarily integrate smoothly with the equivalent processes of the other, and in order to unify them we have to rebuild processes taking into account the needs of both organisations.

However this strategic readjustment occurs at a time of great change for the companies involved – and of course these are not only the companies being brought together. Suppliers on both sides of the merger won’t necessarily have the best relationship and the task of managing this falls to the organiser. The task is to integrate them through the API or to replace the similar systems with the best option, based on the newly mapped out processes.

There may be conflicting goals at all parties involved, but in order to establish the way forward, the journeys of exhibitors, visitors, and the organiser must be clearly mapped.

When the merger/acquisition takes place, the organisers face the biggest challenge –synchronising these processes under one roof. And this is the right moment to introduce new technologies able to reconcile the sometimes divergent demands and priorities of the merging parties. Because there are many.

Technology enables the planning of exhibition hall layouts and activities programmes; the sale of stand/exhibition space; sponsorship; registration; catalogues; security and the supervision of exhibitor/visitor networking and engagement to name just a few.

In most cases we would advise organisers to carry out their M&A and tech transformation at the same time. In this scenario, transformational roadmaps spell out how event technology can lead to the company leapfrogging the competition, and must therefore be an integral part of merger integration plans from the off.

Modernised business platforms help drive business growth from day one, and ExpoPlatform has several successful examples of providing technology to companies on both sides of the M&A process, where problems of legacy, politics and technological had to be solved.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Contact the team today or catch us on Twitter!

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