Integration is one of the most important aspects of an acquisition merger. Acquisition integration is often not considered by companies until it’s too late. It can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful deal. The integration of acquisitions is a huge undertaking that requires a lot of time.

Many companies fail to realize the anticipated financial benefits of a merger as a result of poor M&A integration planning and execution. The most common reason is a lack of alignment and commitment in the leadership team in facilitating integration processes. The first step is to identify and raise leaders with the motivation and experience to lead integration efforts. This includes the M&A leadership team as well as functional teams involved in the process, such as human resources, finance operations, human resources, and other departments.

Another important aspect of M&A integration is to establish clear tracking mechanisms that link the process to the P&L. This means setting specific KPIs that reflect the business model of the target firm, not just the acquirer’s. This ensures that only the right measures are tracked and proper goals are established.

A final consideration is to engage an integration director as soon as is feasible. This can be done during the diligence process, and can help optimize the value of the target by identifying synergies that aren’t being realized. A competent integration director can identify the opportunities and ensure that they are taken into account in the target’s value.