What to do if your IT service provider is acquired: 3 ways to set new partnerships up for success – The Business Journals

Few business owners I know are pleased to find out that a service provider of theirs has been acquired.
This is especially true in the case of managed IT service providers, who more or less hold your ability to operate in their hands. If this provider has been purchased, what does that mean for your business? Can you trust this new company? What level of risk are you facing?
With the high level of merger and acquisition activity in the IT industry in particular—which is likely to continue given market growth projections—I’m hearing more and more concerns about these purchases and all the uncertainties and disruption they can stir up.
Over my 30 years in technology outsourcing I’ve made several acquisitions of my own, and have also had some of my key vendors acquired multiple times (some of which were handled quite well, some of which, from my perspective, were not). With these experiences in mind, here are three key ways to minimize stress and maximize the likelihood that this new partnership will serve your business well.
1. Prepare yourself for some inevitabilities
If you receive word that your service provider has been purchased, expect:
2. Ask questions to establish alignment and minimize surprises
Next, it’s time for an open conversation with your provider about what the acquisition means for you in both the near and long term. They may initiate this proactively, or you might need to kick-start the process.
In either case, asking these questions should remove a lot of the guesswork from the process and hopefully get you and your provider on the same page going forward:
3. Remove “over-communicating” from your vocabulary
As with any partnership, communication is key. Your provider is going to be quite busy on the back end as they work through integrating their teams and systems, but this doesn’t mean you should shy away from talking to them and getting your concerns out onto the table as soon as you can.
This goes the other direction, too – if it seems like you’re being pelted with information from your provider, they’re probably trying to allay your fears. This is a good sign that they’ll give thoughtful answers to your questions.
While providers will absolutely appreciate your understanding and patience during the transition, they are still ultimately responsible to deliver the services you’ve signed up for, and to be an asset to your organization — not a hindrance.
There will be hiccups along the way. How your new partner responds to those hiccups is the real litmus test.
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