Information Management During Mergers & Acquisitions
Tori Miller Liu

By: Tori Miller Liu on March 1st, 2024

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Information Management During Mergers & Acquisitions

AIIM Conference  |  Intelligent Information Management (IIM)

In January, I served as a panelist during a three-part series on mergers and acquisitions in the association space. Hosted by the ASAE Executive Management Advisory Council, the series explored what non-profit organizations need to consider before, during, and after mergers and acquisitions. The panelists were mainly executives and legal professionals, so the fascinating conversations focused very much on strategy, governance, finances, and human capital.

Afterwards, I was left wondering about information management during a merger and acquisition. Fortunately, as a member of AIIM, I have access to AIIM’s Online Community and a group of peers who were happy to provide some insights on information management integration. I am also excited about several sessions at AIIM Conference 2024 that will share skills and advice needed during a merger and acquisition. 

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Every Situation is Unique in M&A

There is no one-size-fits-all for information management integration and the consequences from inappropriate handling of information are severe (e.g., fines, loss of data, loss of customer trust, etc.).

 Cathy Blosser, CIP (Owner of IM Visibility), who has led the information effort during two separate acquisitions noted that “each situation was unique from both the technology and people side.”

“We have previously handled information management integration on a case-by-case basis depending on the percentage of ownership as well as the anticipated level of integration with our core business,” said Morgan Naleimaile (RIM Analyst, Cox Enterprises, Inc.). 

“In some cases we fully integrate the acquisition within our own RIM policies and retention schedules. In other cases, we take a step back and provide support if the business has their own existing policies and schedules. It’s variable depending on the terms of the acquisition," said Naleimaile. 

While the individual approaches will be unique to each situation, there may be value in developing a uniformed approach to assessing and executing information integration. Nalemaile noted that she plans to develop a more formal acquisition strategy in the coming year.


Importance of Assessments during M&A

How do you approach unifying two disparate information management programs, policies, and teams?

The first step is to assess both programs.

If one program is less mature than the other, it presents a great opportunity to elevate both programs. AIIM Fellow Jesse Wilkins, CIP with Athro Consulting recalled this occurred when his clients made acquisitions.

“Generally, the company being acquired had a lower-maturity program - where they had one at all - so it was pretty straightforward to instill or impose their IM framework and approach on the acquisition,” said Wilkins.

IM Frameworks don’t have to be applied wholesale, which is why an assessment and thoughtful strategy is so important. You can selectively apply components. Additionally, if both programs are of a similar maturity, Wilkins said “it becomes a question of which policies are the better for the merged organization.”


Education to Help You Navigate Mergers & Acquisitions

 The AIIM Conference 2024 in San Antonio, April 3-5 has a bevy of educational sessions perfect for any information leader interested in information management integrations. Pro Tip: Be sure to reserve your hotel room by March 11 before the room rate increases! 


Using the DiSC® Personal Assessment Tool for IM Program Success

April 3, 3:40-4:10 p.m.

It’s important to build trusting relationships during a merger & acquisition. AIIM Board Member John Daly, CIP (Manager, Global Records and Information Governance at Bunge) will share how you can use the DiSC® personal assessment tool to learn how to better relate to stakeholders and collaborators.


Take the Temperature of Your Information Management Program

April 3, 4:20-4:55 p.m.

You’ll get hands-on experience with an information management maturity assessment in this session led by AIIM Fellow Jesse Wilkins, CIP.


An Enterprise Architecture Approach to Information Management

April 4, 11:00 AM-11:30 AM

AIIM Fellow Candace McCabe, CIP (Sr. Solution Architect - Governance, Risk, and Compliance, will share how to develop a 1, 3, and 5 year information management roadmap using an enterprise architecture approach. 


Survival Guide to Legacy Data Remediation

April 4, 2:30 PM-3:00 PM

Dealing with legacy data can be a nightmare. This session with AIIM Fellows Donda Young, CIP and Jesse Wilkins, CIP will provide a concise survival guide to remediating your legacy data. 



More to Explore with Mergers & Acquisitions

The conversation around information management integrations was robust. There were so many kernels of knowledge that I plan to do a second blog post that will cover the components of an assessment for information management integration. Stay tuned!


About Tori Miller Liu

Tori Miller Liu, MBA, FASAE, CAE, CIP is the President & CEO of the Association for Intelligent Information Management. She is an experienced association executive, technology leader, speaker, and facilitator. Previously, she served as the Chief Information Officer of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and has 16+ years of experience in association management. Tori is a former member of the ASAE Technology Professional Advisory Council and a founding Board Member of Association Women Technology Champions. She was named a 2020 Association Trends Young & Aspiring Professional and 2021 Association Forum Forty under 40 award recipient. She is also an alumna of the ASAE NextGen program. She is a Certified Association Executive and holds an MBA from George Washington University. In 2023, Tori was named as a Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).