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The Importance of Technology Due Diligence in Mergers and Acquisitions


As global commerce evolves, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) remain a crucial strategy for companies seeking expansion, diversification, and increased market share. However, to ensure these transitions go smoothly, assessments must be conducted and information must be gathered. To accomplish this, companies must perform IT due diligence.

What is Technology Due Diligence in Mergers and Acquisitions?

For organizations acquiring another company via M&A, technology due diligence is a critical process that goes beyond merely assessing the financial and operational aspects of the target company. It is an in-depth audit and examination of the organization’s technological environment, ensuring that the acquiring party has a complete understanding of every aspect of the IT infrastructure.

At its core, IT due diligence in M&A involves evaluating an array of elements, including but not limited to:

  • Technological Assets: Assets include software applications, platforms, proprietary technologies, databases, and even intellectual property related to tech innovations. The goal is to gauge the value and relevance of these assets in current and future market scenarios.

  • Infrastructure: This refers to both physical and virtual infrastructures, such as server architectures, cloud deployments, networking equipment, and other hardware. The state of this infrastructure often determines the ease or complexity of post-merger integration.

  • Processes: Understanding the technology-driven processes of an organization provides insights into its efficiency, agility, and adaptability. This may cover software development life cycles, deployment methodologies, and other tech-related workflows.

  • Potential Risks: Every technological environment comes with its own set of vulnerabilities, which could include outdated technologies, pending tech upgrades, or weak points that can spell disaster in the face of cyber threats and data breaches. Assessing these risks is paramount to foreseeing potential pitfalls or costs in the future.

  • Technological Scalability and Resilience: With the rapid evolution of the tech industry, it’s crucial to evaluate how scalable and adaptable an organization’s technological foundations are. Can their tech framework support growth? How resistant is it to potential disruptions or technological shifts?

  • Compliance and Regulations: Especially important in sectors like finance, health, and e-commerce, the technological facet of a company must adhere to various regional and global compliance standards. This could focus on data protection laws, like GDPR or CCPA, or industry-specific standards.

  • Technical Debts: These are the “costs” an organization might incur in the future due to its technological decisions made in the past. For example, a technical debt could involve outdated software that needs updating, or technologies that are soon reaching their end-of-life and might need replacement.

  • IT Policies and Practices: It is important to conduct an in-depth look at how the organization manages its IT departments, including hiring practices, training methods, project management methodologies, and even vendor relations. This can reveal much about the company’s technological maturity and forward vision.

Who is Responsible for Due Diligence?

In the previous section, we looked at due diligence from the acquirer’s point of view, but it is crucial to note that this is also important for the company being acquired. Although most people would say that the responsibility of IT due diligence lies primarily with the acquiring party, both involved parties have roles to play. 

The acquiring company primarily conducts due diligence to understand the technological worth of the target company, which leads to better decision-making regarding valuation, negotiation, and post-merger integration strategies; however, it’s also in the best interest of the company being acquired to conduct its own due diligence. By identifying and rectifying potential technological issues beforehand, the target company can present itself in the best light, often leading to a better valuation and smoother negotiation processes. Also, taking a proactive approach to due diligence can significantly expedite the M&A process by addressing and resolving concerns before they’re raised by the acquiring party.

Overall, technological due diligence is a joint effort that improves the quality and execution of mergers and acquisitions. When both sides conduct due diligence, they help ensure the process is financially and operationally sound, technologically secure, future-proof, and free from hidden pitfalls.

Why is Technology Due Diligence Important?

The benefits of technology due diligence extend to both the acquiring and target company, contributing to the overall success of the M&A process and outcome alike. Below are some examples of how due diligence can benefit the participants of M&A:

Risk Mitigation

Every business comes with its share of risks, particularly in terms of its cybersecurity posture. These risks can often be latent, hiding behind robust financial figures or operational successes.

Through a diligent tech assessment, potential pitfalls or liabilities such as outdated systems, compliance issues, or security vulnerabilities come to the forefront. By uncovering these challenges, companies can either renegotiate terms, prepare for necessary updates, or even reconsider the viability of the acquisition altogether.

Accurate Valuation

The value of a company is not solely based on its financial performance or market presence. The technological foundation also plays a pivotal role in determining its worth.

By understanding the technological infrastructure, software assets, intellectual property rights, and other tech-related resources, companies can determine a more accurate valuation. This ensures that the investment is grounded in tangible and intangible tech assets and not just market speculation or shifting trends.

Strategic Alignment

The alignment of technological strategies can often be key to a successful merger or acquisition. To accomplish this alignment, it is wise to perform technology due diligence.

A deep dive into the target company’s tech stack, processes, and innovation strategies can reveal how well it meshes with or complements the acquiring company’s existing systems and visions. This alignment is essential for ensuring that the combined entity can operate cohesively and capitalize on each part’s strengths while reducing weaknesses.

Post-merger Integration

One of the most challenging phases in an M&A process is the post-merger integration, where two distinct entities aim to function as one.

Technology due diligence facilitates a smoother integration process by proactively identifying potential synergies, redundancies, and challenges. Knowing the tech landscape of the target company in advance allows for better planning, resource allocation, and transition strategies. Whether it’s merging IT teams, combining software platforms, or aligning cybersecurity measures, a clear plan significantly reduces post-merger friction and costs.

M&A Technology Due Diligence Checklist

An effective due diligence process focuses on identifying potential risks, but also aims to provide a better understanding of opportunities, strengths, and strategic fit. Here is a structured breakdown of the critical components of a thorough IT assessment:

IT Security

Past Cyberattacks

  • Focus on any historical breaches or cyber incidents.
  • Evaluate the company’s responsiveness, learning, and post-incident changes to improve defenses.

Security Policies Review

  • Examine crucial security policies and procedures.
  • Determine if policies follow industry best practices and proper standards.

Security Gap Analysis

  • Highlight potential vulnerabilities in the current IT infrastructure.
  • Look for proactive measures in place to address these gaps.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recover (BCDR) Policies

  • Scrutinize the company’s success in managing crises through its business continuity and disaster recovery strategies.
  • Assess the practicality and effectiveness of these plans through historical data, if available.

Data Privacy and Governance

  • Investigate compliance levels with international standards such as HIPAA and/or GDPR.
  • Look at the mechanisms in place for data protection and user privacy assurance.

Legacy Systems Assessment

  • Locate any outdated software or hardware.
  • Evaluate any potential risks or costs associated with these systems.

Threat Monitoring

  • Understand the spectrum of tools and processes employed for consistent threat surveillance.
  • Gauge the company’s agility in responding to emerging threats.

Endpoint Protections Evaluation

  • Assess the resilience of endpoint defense mechanisms, from workstations to network devices.

Mobile Security

  • Examine the measures for safeguarding mobile devices, apps, and their data.
  • Ensure they align with contemporary security protocols.
IT Environment and Administration

IT Resources Summary

  • Compile a comprehensive inventory of all tech assets, from hardware to software.
  • Identify any potential redundancies, outdated resources, or imminent upgrade requirements.

Customer Systems Overview

  • Dig into the tech interfaces for client interactions.
  • Ensure the user experience, security, and performance meet or exceed the acquiring company’s benchmarks.

Software Procurement and Maintenance

Vendor Contracts Review

  • Evaluate current agreements with third-party service providers.
  • Unearth any hidden liabilities, long-term commitments, or potential areas of renegotiation.

Business Automation Analysis

  • Investigate the automation tools deployed in the company’s operations.
  • Gauge their impact in terms of ROI, efficiency improvements, and strategic relevance.

Utilize Professional Expertise to Guarantee Proper IT Due Diligence

While the complexities of IT due diligence can be overwhelming, its success depends on thoroughness and attention to detail. Rushing this process can lead to overlooking critical issues, which may later translate to costly setbacks post-acquisition.

For this reason, many organizations are now choosing to partner with experts to implement the due diligence process. The right professionals bring a wealth of experience and specialized tools to pinpoint hidden pitfalls and highlight opportunities, ensuring a smoother and more profitable merger and acquisition process.

I hope you found this information helpful. As always, contact us anytime about your technology needs.

Until next time,


Meet the Author
Tim Burke is the President and CEO of Quest. He has been at the helm for over 30 years.
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