Today, many companies consider merger and acquisition (M&A) integration skills a core competency of their management teams. They understand the mechanics of operational integration, as well as the art of the deal. But despite this wealth of experience, one nagging question persists: why hasn't increased proficiency in integration translated into improved bottom line results?

The importance of customers in the M&A integration process is often overlooked. Corporate objectives and culture dictate how the new entity will be integrated. But one element remains constant: retaining and enhancing the customer relationship is vital. Where integration is poorly managed from a customer perspective, success of the integration and performance of the new entity is unimpressive, and shareholder value is not achieved.

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