Over the past few weeks, I’ve researched how integration management office (IMO) teams use artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate integration activities. It’s becoming clear that the integration of AI into acquisition planning significantly impacts the business world. Large consulting firms are over-indexing on AI as they support IMO teams. AI is changing how leaders approach the planning and execution of acquisitions, with many seeing it as a valuable tool to improve decision-making and reduce risk. But what exactly is the impact of AI on integration planning during an acquisition, and how does it affect critical thinking and decision-making?
First, it’s essential to understand what AI is and how it works. AI is a branch of computer science that aims to create intelligent machines that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as recognizing patterns, learning, and problem-solving. AI technologies are used to analyze large amounts of data and provide recommendations based on that analysis. This allows leaders to get a clearer picture of the opportunities and risks associated with a potential acquisition. One of the benefits of AI in acquisition planning is that it helps to identify and prioritize key integration issues, such as cultural differences and process alignment. By analyzing large amounts of data and providing recommendations, AI can help leaders quickly identify and address potential problems that could impact the success of the integration. This enables leaders to make more informed decisions and reduce the risk of failure. However, the use of AI in acquisition planning also raises important questions about the impact on critical thinking and decision-making. Some experts believe relying too heavily on AI could cause IMO teams to move too fast without considering all the variables. Some IMO teams, if they rely too heavily on AI, will miss vital cultural sensitivities if they don’t use their gut instincts and experience to make decisions. Another concern is that AI can make an integration team prone to miss critical items they might have yet to ask for specific AI help. For example, AI might not consider significant cultural differences that could impact the integration. In the limited research I’ve done, I’ve yet to see any AI tools with meaningful culture capabilities, but there is a lot of activity, so I expect great new resources soon.
We all need to be aware of these limitations and use AI as just one tool in the integration planning process rather than relying on it entirely. The use of AI integration planning during an acquisition is only going to accelerate. Using AI with their critical thinking and experience, leaders can ensure that they make the best possible business decisions.
Here are a few questions for leaders and IMO teams to consider as they use AI to accelerate their integrations:
How do we implement safeguards to ensure we do not become not over-reliant on AI?
What data are we most comfortable using AI analytics and recommendations to accelerate integration?
Do we have a culture that allows team members to speak up if their gut instinct differs from the AI recommendation?
I welcome the opportunity to hear from you regarding using AI in integration planning. Drop me a line at Matt.Duncan@DuncanBusinessAdvisors.com with your experience or thoughts about using AI during integrations.