Despite months of negotiations, no formal merger between the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) and the Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (AEEMA) will take place.
Instead, the two organizations said they will work together on "common interests in close collaboration".
Last year both associations announced they would merge and create a new organization to present the IT and electronics industries.
A joint steering committee was established to oversee the investigation and assessment of the proposal, which included joint member surveys, market research and comprehensive membership consultations. The boards, the two chief executive officers and their management teams collaborated to find ways of leveraging synergies and working together on common objectives.
It was quickly recognized that both organizations also provided unique offerings to their members which were highly valued by them, but not necessarily across the entire industry - electrical safety compliance, lighting standards, software partnerships, meeting government CIOs to understand strategy and state-based branches are a few examples.
The conclusion of this investigation was that the merger was unlikely to provide the same level of support for members as that which currently exists. Moreover, significant structural challenges were identified during the formal due diligence component of the investigation, and the boards decided that the best interests of both associations would not served by a formal merger.
"While synergies exist between the two membership bases, the core elements of both organizations proved too complex to merge effectively into a structure representing the diverse membership covered by both AEEMA and AIIA," a statement released by both parties said.
While they will not merge, they have agreed to lobby together for the benefit of both sectors.
AIIA and AEEMA will also pursue some specific joint opportunities in areas such as export promotion, e-health, standards, and industry events.
AIIA has also gained a deeper understanding of its own association and the needs of members, and as a result will be able to deliver a new suite of services based on information gained from feedback and surveys undertaken during the merger exploration process, says AIIA's chief executive officer, Rob Durie.
"The lessons we've learned will enable AIIA to better represent an industry which contributes 5.9 percent of Australia's GDP and is the driving force behind the economy's productivity growth," he said.
One of AIIA's new initiatives in 2006 is the development of collaborative networks, or clusters, which will work together to source new markets and increase sales. The program, called CollabIT, already has the support of the Victorian Government, and AIIA is working with both federal and other state governments to promote its broader adoption.