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Sunday, March 31, 2002


I've been reading Mike Sisco's final book in the IT Manager Development Series titled Acquisition: IT assimilations. This 58-page book is worth its weight in gold to any organization which is acquiring (or being acquired by) another and is faced with the daunting task of merging IT.

The book starts with the problem statement ("We've bought another company; what do we do now?") and then proceeds to lay out a ten-step process for assimilating the acquisition. The steps, each a chapter, are:

  1. Identify Objectives.
  2. Use the Objectives to Develop a Strategy.
  3. Ascertain that Due Diligence was Performed.
  4. Situational Analysis:
    • Key Risks
    • Potential Problem Areas
    • IT Dependencies
    • IT Organizational Impacts
    • Budget Implications
    • Opportunities
  5. List Key Initiatives.
  6. Prioritize.
  7. Obtain Stakeholder Consensus.
  8. Develop the Plan.
  9. Implement.
  10. Measure and Control.
I am not using actual chapter titles above because I wanted to summarize the contents. The final chapter is titled Got More than One Technology to Convert, which provides additional guidance when you're faced with integration challenges that can be best described as a hairball.

While the body of the book is well worth the price, the appendices significantly increase the value of this book. The six appendices are: A - New Acquisition Planning Questionnaire, B - Business Application Conversion Plan Template, C - Sample Employee Severance/Retention Letter, D - Legacy System Status, E - Transition Issues Templates and F - Transition Summary Checklist.

The capstone of value, in my opinion, is the straightforward approach provided, the case studies that reinforce the approach, and the personal notes and side bars that Mr. Sisco has sprinkled throughout. He's distilled his 25+ years of IT management experience into 58 information-packed pages that will give you the foundation for planning an assimilation of an IT department. Embodied in the pages are not only sage advice, but wisdom. It's obvious that Mr. Sisco has done this before, and you'll benefit from his experience.

I will review the companion book in this series titled Acquisition: IT Due Diligence later in the week. I've read through most of this 88 page book and should have reviewed it first because it addresses the software development contracting and outsourcing issues which we've been discussing. However, I had already read Acquisition: IT assimilations and wanted to discuss it because that book complements my ongoing discussion of the Tarrani-Zarate Model.

Have a great Sunday!