Mergers and acquisitions are common ways through which firms gain a competitive advantage in the market. For today’s firms, knowledge is a key factor in success and rejuvenation. As a result, the desire to acquire, transmit, and exchange both prospective and current information drives many cross-border acquisitions and mergers (M&As).
Human resource policies, cultural barriers, intercultural firm linkages, the infrastructure mode, employee engagement, and communication, have all been proposed as reasons behind the success or breakdown of knowledge acquisition and dissemination in previous M&A studies. The above factors are dependent on the enterprise resource planning (ERP) model implemented.
Information sharing is multi-dimensional, thus requiring careful consideration of the aspects to use. Remarkably, earlier M&A research has concentrated on challenges relating to information sharing between merging firms, ignoring the reality that, recently, customers have been the most valuable source of information for many businesses. As a result, despite the growing emphasis on the marketing function of M&As, our understanding of how merging companies assure customer knowledge exchange remains limited.
Castagna notes that researchers have been unable to comprehend the role of consumers in the knowledge processes and the processes that translate information into improved post-acquisition results. In the case presented, the two B2B companies should integrate both ERP models to benefit from improved customer relationships after the merger.
Information systems maps are crucial for integrating and combining two information system models in an organization. In this case, the customer relationship model (CRM) and knowledge management systems (KMS) should be integrated into the customer knowledge management (CKM) model after the merger. According to Castagna, integrating CRM and KM is a proactive approach that provides value to customers, while ensuring the two companies keep their brand promises.
Information acquired will be disseminated through all the firm’s segments to facilitate effective decision-making. This way, knowledge management will be used to improve customer relationships in the CKM model. The model developed by Degbey and Pelto has the four aspects of knowledge integrated into a CKM map as shown below. The model shows that CRM infrastructure will be applied for information gathering and the knowledge management system will complement it in dissemination and utilization.
The information system in this case will be founded on customer data. This option is derived from the firm’s need to gather relevant consumer information for improved customer service. Since these are B2B companies, they would need to understand what target firms are looking for and identify gaps in the market. The gaps could be in terms of quality or quantity, both of which can e addressed through innovation, as shown by Castagna.
Since each company has been operating independently before, they should evaluate their customer data stored in databases. The data will be in terms of previous purchase records, failures, successes, and points for improvement noted. With the merged resources, the firm will then use artificial intelligence and data mining for in-depth analysis and enhance its performance.
Due to the large volume of information available for processing, a data bank will be the most viable storage option. In this case, the data bank will store all relevant information regarding customer preferences and trends. According to Degbey and Pelto, data storage in a merger is essential because it defines the retrieval mode, speed, and efficiency. It is also crucial to consider data security since as the firm grows larger after the merger, it may be targeted by hackers.
In this regard, the information would be safer in the cloud with enhanced security systems and well-laid-out access options and permissions. Degbey and Pelto define a data bank as a repository from which information can be accessed remotely and over long periods. Since the organization is bound to face new challenges, having a thorough knowledge of the past through data access will be valuable for sustainability and competitiveness.