The Tele-Merge Flu
The past few years have seen multiple mergers and acquisitions in the telecommunications industry.
I would be hard pressed to name one that hasn’t had some form of M&A action, buying or merging with a competitor generally focused on B2B services (AT&T being a bit of an anomaly, their acquisition strategy seems more focused on content and the consumer market).
I’ve seen these happen, over the decades, and generally see a stronger more capable company emerge…at some point…in time…after much, well, pain.
For a long time now, I’ve called it the Tele-Merge Flu. It’s cyclical, and I’ve seen a few iterations over my career. They all seem to have a bit of the following:
- Disparate systems, painfully complicated to begin with, will now be merged (or attempted to be merged) with generally a Frankenstein’s Monster result, a broken shambling, groaning thing, with the local residents always on the verge of storming the castle with torches and pitchforks.
- Legacy employees, often identifying their allegiance to either the M or the A in the M&A equation, by (and no kidding, this is a thing) the primary color of their legacy companies logo. “Well, Legacy Purple didn’t require this sort of nonsense, and now Orange is screwing up the ______ for my team/the company/the client.”
- Process and procedural changes that can take what was previously the best product on the market, and make it so difficult to buy and/or implement, that inferior products are picked.
- A period of fear, with employees feeling lost/in danger/etc. This is also often compounded with the above process/procedural nightmares, creating a sense within the employee base that they just can’t get anything done (often true and almost justifiable). They go limp, and stop trying.