This is the last post in this Follow the Money Series (we think) and a wrap up on when the inevitable happens and your tech partner is acquired or merged. What are the steps you should take?
First, pull out your contract and find out when your next opportunity to cancel is. If your contract’s termination date is out several months, mark your calendar to remind yourself when it’s coming due. If you’re on the final approach to a renewal date, call your account representative explain that — based on what you’ve heard about other acquisitions — you’re feeling uncertain and would like to transition your contract to a shorter renewal cycle: month-to-month, three months, six months.
If your vendor offers one, make plans to attend — or send one of your staff to — their next user conference. As we’ve discussed, the relationships you’ve developed with your vendor are likely to change after an acquisition or merger. User conferences are hands-down the best opportunities to build relationships up and down your vendor’s chain of command. You’ll also get information (whether explicit or implied) from the vendor’s executive leadership during “State of the Company” addresses that will help inform your decision-making on whether to stick it out with the merged company.
If you can’t attend the conference — or if your vendor doesn’t offer one — seek out introductions to newly-hired executive leadership from your legacy contacts. Realize that your legacy contacts are more likely to to eventually resign or be laid off after an acquisition, so you’ll want to start building new relationships as quickly as possible.
Don’t delay in expressing concerns to your vendor’s new top brass if the level of service you’re accustomed to deteriorates after an acquisition. Study your contract’s Service Level Agreement, especially as it relates to guarantees about response time, and be prepared to call attention to them immediately if your vendor fails to meet them. It’s important to send a clear message that your organization won’t tolerate any disruption to its normal business operations.
As Ben Martin, CAE says, “It’s like gravity. It’s not something we can avoid so just accept it.” Just use good business sense to maintain what could still be a healthy, happy technology relationship. After all, the money isn’t everything.