07 Oct 5 Keys to Acquisitions with SAP Integration
Mergers and acquisitions are a fact of business. Often it makes more sense to acquire new technologies and market share than to develop them. Along with this strategy, comes the challenges of integrating multiple distinct businesses into one ERP. This will achieve operational and reporting efficiencies. These projects are usually a significant change to the business, with a lot of effort, and often fast-tracked to realize benefits as soon as possible. There are many markets, personnel, and system factors to consider that are unique to this type of integration. Below are five key areas to remember during acquisitions with SAP Integration. A focus on the following five areas can help ensure a solid foundation. It will also provide the basis for a successful transition for the entire company.
The first necessity during an acquisition or merger is strong leadership support and the need to co-mingle the businesses. By support, for instance, I mean, direction, decisiveness, and communication of the importance of the effort. The scope of an integration project is difficult to predict and manage when integrating business with diverse business processes. A solid leadership team will stand together to make decisions in the best interest of the combined business and its auditors, customers, and vendors. It is important for all involved to have visibility of the high-level objectives envisioned by leadership and the support of those objectives at all levels of the organization.
Dedicated Business Involvement
Although business involvement is key in any SAP implementation, in the case of acquisitions it becomes even more important. You have current and new users who play an integral part in these projects. Current users will need to provide current business process expertise, business knowledge, and training. New users and management must engage in the project to provide requirements, guidance, review, testing, and training. To minimize the impact, there needs to be a successful transition between the business and the system processes. Involve key users from both businesses early and often to get maximum cooperation and buy-in.
Adherence to Existing Design
The more established the source and destination ERP environments, the more challenging these implementations can be. Years of established business processes may require change and which process works better for the new combined business may not be clear. These are difficult decisions and will require the input and support of management and senior leadership. Develop escalation and review processes to facilitate making these decisions in a formal and timely manner. It is imperative to control scope and limit system changes to those that are critical to customer relationships and legal or regulatory compliance. The scope will be the biggest impact on how quickly a project can be completed and time is typically the most important factor in an integration project.
Organizational Change Management (OCM)
Acquisitions with SAP Integration have significant OCM challenges that often occur independently of system integration. The higher levels often make these changes. Communication and preparation do not get applied to the project level. If involvement at the project level is not realized and/or communication is lacking this can be a barrier to key decisions and project deliverables. There are many diverse considerations that need to be addressed. Legal entity changes can impact implementation timing, business partner communications, employee payroll and benefits, and audit or regulatory requirements. Re-branding requirements will impact development efforts and business partners. Organizational changes and turnover will impact the target audiences. Even if the organization is not changing, the tasks required to do the job likely will.
Collaboration Between Business Units
Building relationships among the IT team and the business units is critical to the success of an integration acquisition project. The trust established among the teams will allow for requirements, ideas, and solutions to flow freely and result in the best solutions. The single largest effort in an integration project is the conversion and consolidation of master data. Working together to determine common customers and vendors, comparing contract terms and conditions, agreeing on standards, and mapping values between systems must be a joint effort. A collaborative approach will provide for master data, processes, and a system that serves the needs of the entire organization.