Riding the tiger of change

IT in mergers and acquisitions

David Arnett

Information Technology Editor

What happens when change never seems to end and change-exhaustion threatens to run amok? Often by nature and certainly by occupation, Information Technology (IT) professionals are agents of change-but how can management protect them from the impact of change, especially during mergers and acquisitions (M&A)?

American Electric Power (AEP) and Central and South West Corp. (CSW) are expected to complete their merger soon, according to Tom Shockley, CSW president and chief operating officer. Announced December 22, 1997, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approval is still needed.

When combined, the new AEP will serve more than 5 million customers, but company officials believe the M&A process will continue to grow to 10 million customers. The company could soon become America`s premier electric power company.

Currently CSW vice president of operations services and selected as vice president of enterprise application services with the new AEP, Waldo Zerger described the problem saying, “The most difficult IT challenge is not so much a technical challenge as it is a personnel challenge in a technical field.”

In a series of interviews with CSW`s IT management and executives, EL&P took an in-depth look at an IT division in transition, riding the tiger of change.

Peopleware impacts IT

“People are either real exhilarated or real deflated by just the magnitude of what lies ahead,” said Zan Blount, director, IT Energy Development Energy Services. “I personally-and in talking with the other directors believe we all have this issue in common-spend an awful lot of time trying to mediate the concern and fears, general anxiety and angst

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