Mergers and Acquisitions: Managing the Transition – Story Of Software S03E25

Aine Buckley, Director of Engineering ERP at The Access Group talks about Mergers & Acquisitions, having been part of an acquired business and now being on the acquiring side.


The Guest – Aine Buckley, Director of Engineering ERP at the Access Group

Aine Buckley is the Director of Engineering for ERP at the Access Group, one of the largest providers of business management software to small and mid-sized organisations in the UK, Ireland, the US and APAC. Aine is leading a global team of over 280 engineers across a wide technology stack and is responsible for over 20 products. 

Aine is here today to talk about the M&A process and managing the transition within teams. Having been part of an acquired business and now on the acquiring side, it’s fair to say that she’s gained invaluable experiences along the way.

Navigating the Mergers and Acquisitions Landscape

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) are a key strategy for businesses to expand their reach, resources, and market share. But what exactly are mergers and acquisitions, and are they a guaranteed path to success? Aine Buckley helped us explore the different types of deals, the potential benefits and drawbacks, as well as the factors companies consider before taking the plunge. 

Some of the highlights in this episode include:

  • The experience and process of being acquired
  • How to adapt your leadership styles to different company sizes and situations
  • The influence of company culture
  • Integration processes and employee impact in M&A


Q: AI is a buzzword that just never goes away these days. At this stage, every day there’s something new. Within your teams, where are you seeing it having the most impact as of today, and where do you actually think it’s going to go?

How far is it going to go? I think this one’s going to stick actually this time. For us on a day to day basis, I think QA and testing automation is probably the biggest area where I see it can bring the most early value. We’ve done a lot of  automated testing for years, but they tend to be quite brittle and slow and they need a lot of input and maintenance, um, depending on how they’re written. We are using AI testing tools now that effectively self heal, right? So, if you move a button across the screen or re-label it,  it realises that. It reduces the cost of maintenance and those automated tests significantly.
We’re also using it heavily as well in our support teams. Intercom is a great Irish example of how that can happen and they’re really embracing AI. From what I’ve seen so far, it seems to work, right? It just allows support to have more of the personal touch and instead of them answering the same questions, they get to add more value and make outward calls to customers.
o, our support teams are running that out, they’re using the chatbot for support. There’s a few tools as well on the QA automation side, but also we’re looking at how we roll out AI to our customers as well. 


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