How to Build an M&A Center of Excellence from Scratch

Are you looking to build an M&A center of excellence? Then you are in the right place. In this article, we will discuss how to build an M&A center of excellence from scratch, with the help of Philip Pratt, director of M&A integration at Corning.

 "If you capture best practices and lessons learned and can apply them effectively on your next deal, then you're improving the efficiency and the effectiveness of your integration." - Philip Pratt.

What is it?

The M&A center of excellence is a community of M&A professionals committed to developing and operating a world-class M&A process. It is also a repository of knowledge and tools for everyone to contribute and access anytime they want. You can also provide general information in the center, M&A news, events, or other training opportunities. 

Why do it?

If your organization has an active deal portfolio, and M&A is a huge part of your growth strategy, creating an M&A center of excellence would make a lot of sense. Especially if your deals are pretty much the same, and leveraging past knowledge is crucial.

Having an M&A center of excellence can help you improve the return on investment on your deals. It can help you execute deals more efficiently and cheaper because you have that repository of knowledge at your disposal. Repeat mistakes can also be avoided and allow you to capture lessons learned on every deal to improve future transactions. 

How to do it?

Developing the Initial Concept

The first step in building an M&A center of excellence is defining your vision and mission and its governance. Then, everyone should align what you are trying to accomplish by creating this center.  

You also have to define the roles and responsibilities of the team members clearly. There are many people involved in this project, and some aren't going to be full-time. Find people who are passionate about M&A and are willing to dedicate extra hours outside of their day job, identify what functions should be involved in the center, and what tools are essential to maintain the center. 

Getting Buy-in

It takes a lot of work and people to build and maintain an M&A center of excellence. Getting buy-in from the stakeholders and everyone that needs to be involved in the center itself is crucial. You need to explain to people the importance of the center and the benefits that it can provide your company. Then, hopefully, you can generate excitement and gain the support of the people that you needed.

Repository Box

Now that you have structured the center and got everyone on board, you need to develop a database system, playbook, or tools to store all the information and data for knowledge keeping and distribution. Make sure that it is easy to use and intuitive because if you have hundreds of data, users will need to find the information they need easily. 

Maintaining that database is probably the most crucial thing in the M&A center of excellence. You have to continuously update the database with best practices and new lessons learned throughout its lifetime. Some tools need more frequent updates than others. Core team members need to be accountable for maintaining and updating the information in the center. 

Launching

So after the contents are all developed and the site is ready to go, it is time to launch the center. Communication is vital, and let people know that your M&A center of excellence is up and running. You have to educate people about your center's benefits, how it can help them, and how to use it. 

Training 

And lastly, you also need to develop a curriculum and train your teams, business leaders, and pretty much anyone who will be using the center. It is essential to educate them on what tools you have, how to find them, and here are the people you can call to get additional support. 

Conclusion

Building an M&A center of excellence is a lot of work and requires the cooperation of many people. However, a center of excellence can be a powerful tool in helping your organization do deals faster and more efficiently. So make sure you have proper buy-ins from enthusiastic people that will help you along the way.

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