8 Reasons CIOs Must Walk Point On M&As*

*Even if it means eventually putting yourself out of a job.
8. Be Ready To Move Fast

In December, the Federal Trade Commission ruled that battery manufacturer Polypore International must divest itself of a company it acquired back in 2008, and it must do so within six months to an FTC-approved buyer.

Bankruptcies, divestitures, deaths of founders--a host of events can suddenly drop a sweet deal like this into the CEO's lap.

How fast can you move? A great exercise to build up your M&A skills is to create a timeline for the entire buying and selling process, including due diligence, integration, training, and anything else we've mentioned.

ATG's Abushanab built such a playbook, complete with checklist and workflows--very handy for ATG's four acquisitions, and useful in understanding the process from the other side with Oracle.

The notion of IT leading the charge, actively seeking out buyers or sellers, may seem odd. But who better? We've found that a well-run IT system is the best indicator of the overall health of any company, and if there's one thing CIOs can spot, it's good IT.

"If a CIO considers her role too narrowly, it's a mistake," says Babson's Lange. "A chief leads, doesn't follow, and is innovative."

Of course, if the CEO's goal is to sell the company, that often means the CIO will be putting himself out of a job.

"Understand if you're out, and get over it," says ATG's Abushanab, who will be transitioning his duties as CIO of ATG over to the Oracle team later this year. "You have to be able to get over the perceived insult and think of it as the nature of the position. Any person at the top of an organization needs to work with this reality. Focus on making the transition as streamlined as you can for your staff and colleagues."

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M&A Case Study: CUNA Mutual

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