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Merging IT departments

Posted on 2001-06-27
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Our 2 corp's are merging. What are the most important steps we need to take to ensure a smooth integration of the 2 networks. We both run WIN2K with MS Exchange 5.5 and Veritas B/U Exec 8.5 Enterprise.
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Question by:calberacer
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The integration probably isn't going to be smooth (it rarely is), but you can smooth out the bumps. You'll need to tell the users this too and acknowledge their patience. Users can make or break the success of a project.

Best advice is to get a specialist consultant. They can spot potential problems with your particular set-up that won't be covered in generic advice like this.

Win2K is supposed to be easy to integrate (or so a rep. from a certain software company told me). If you're using Active Directory, you'll want to look at the two directory structures to see how they match up. Sorry, I've not done much else with Win2K yet.

Exchange 5.5 - it's likely you'll have problems, because your two systems will presumably be in two different Exchange Organisations. You'll therefore have difficulty getting the two systems to talk to each other, other than by using basic SMTP. You might find some 3rd party tools to move one Organisation into the other, otherwise you might have to shift everyone onto one system while you rebuild the other into the correct Organisation.

If your clients are all storing data in PST files, then a server change should be easier because their data is stored locally and you can just point them to the new server. If not, you'll need to migrate the data manually using something like Exmerge:

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q174/1/97.ASP?LN=EN-US&SD=gn&FR=0

Public folders - tricky, and possibly your best excuse for hiring a specialist to do the hard work!

Look at the two Global Address Lists, including any custom fields. Plan how you'll put them together.

I haven't used Backup Exec for some time, but I don't think there'll be any major problems.

Don't forget the client software (Office, finance systems, etc.) in your planning.

Good luck!
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by:svindler
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First thing is, make sure that the IT people in the two organisations are able to talk to each other. If they don't mix, the networks won't, either! I know this from experience, where four companies merged, each with their own IT department. A lot of people had to leave (by their own choice) before the dust settled.

Involve some key users in all major decisions and have them participate in information meetings where you inform all users of major changes. You should try to identify users who has a lot of personal (not only by position in the companies) influence and respect in each company.

Establish a common intranet website where the changes will be told in good time. If possible, setup discussion group where users from both companies can exchange their expressions about the changes and the merger in general.

When you build up the common system, make sure that users from both companies get more than they might loose in functionality. Ie, if company A has enjoyed unlimited access to the internet and the company B has had a more restricted policy and you want to impose the restricted policy in the new company, users in company A might get upset. This could be helped by providing them with upgrades, new machines, higher bandwidth or whatever your budget allows. Users from both companies should have a more or less common platform (ie, not 300MHz Pentiums in one company and 1GHz Pentiums in the other) or there will be murmuring.

Also remember to look on your basic network infrastructure.
Are you using private tcp/ip addresses and do they clash? Same thing goes if you are using ipx or any other protocol?

Please be aware that my advice is influenced by the fact that I am from Denmark, where employees expectation on influence generally are higher than in most parts of the world.
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by:Beluga
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calberacer,

Any luck?
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by:lrmoore
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calberacer,
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