December 08, 2000, 3:48 PM — DANNY GLANTZ KNEW he had a big project in front of him. Glantz, network systems
analyst and one of 55 employees with Sierra Imaging, a developer of digital imaging
software in Scotts Valley, Calif., had to integrate his company's information systems
with the systems of a much larger company. In May Sierra was bought by Conexant, a
7,000-employee, Newport Beach, Calif.-based provider of semiconductor solutions for
electronic communications devices.
"Our newly merged IT team of five people prepared for an information systems
consolidation that we knew would be a big hurdle," Glantz says. "We had to converge two
networks. So we made sure that this issue was one of the first challenges addressed by
both staffs." Glantz and staff inventoried both companies' information systems and
computer equipment and then ranked which were critical to the newly formed larger
company's day-to-day software and hardware development needs.
The detailed work paid off. Sierra employees left the office on a Friday. On the
following Monday morning the staff returned to the office and logged back onto the
network without missing a beat. Glantz and team seamlessly integrated both companies'
Unix systems with Windows 95/98/2000 and Windows NT systems without any disruption to
Sierra's or Conexant's production schedule.
Communication eases the process
Preparation and communication were key to the transition's success, says Andy
Schloss, Sierra's vice president of software development. "The Conexant staff allowed
us to keep the Sierra working systems running. Everyone's jobs kept moving as the
changes rolled out. The reason the post-merger technological transition was so smooth
was that we communicated clearly what systems were crucial and what were not," Schloss
Luckily for Sierra's staff, Conexant is an old hand at folding smaller companies
into the mix, having acquired 11 such companies in recent history. In the past year,
Conexant acquired Maker Communications, a provider of programmable high-performance
network processors, software solutions, and development tools, and Microcosm
Communications, a supplier of high-speed integrated circuits for fiber-optic
communications. In fact, Conexant has one full-time integration specialist who manages
not only the legal and accounting questions but also the IT issues that arise during
the merger and acquisition process.