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8 Reasons CIOs Must Walk Point On M&As*

*Even if it means eventually putting yourself out of a job.

Like Gordon Gekko in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, merger and acquisition activity is back. In 2010, deals were up 24% compared with 2009, according to Mergermarket. In fact, just about every sector showed an increase since the low point of the recession, across all deal sizes.

This is a good thing, right? Not always. In a well-known study, Boston Consulting Group looked at 14 years' worth of M&As and found that 58% of them ultimately reduced the value of the acquiring company. Name your favorite letdown: AOL-Time Warner, Quaker Oats-Snapple, HP-Compaq, Daimler-Chrysler--the list is endless. Not surprisingly, there are countless books, MBA courses, and consulting firms dedicated to explaining the root causes of M&A failures. You can blame misaligned cultures, talent defections, customer resentment, communications breakdowns, or just a poor all-around fit. Everyone has an opinion.

Us? We blame IT. Technology is now the core of any operation, and merging two platforms into a harmonious whole requires a unique skill set that, frankly, few CIOs possess. Buying or selling a business only gives you a potential upside. Integrating the businesses is where you make or break results.

When leading up to and working through a merger, the entire IT organization must take on a new role, whether your company is buying or selling. We're talking about leading the charge, not simply documenting and programming. Follow our eight steps to make sure your purchase or sale works out. And remember that M&A work starts before there's even a deal on the horizon.

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