In this world desperately holding back to organic living, we experience paradox of growing Industry thriving on ‘Mergers and Acquisitions’ a buzzing word in the competitive business as a source to grow multifold & also as it drifts away hiring talent and expanding gradually, today it is more common to grow by acquiring other firms and leapfrog into new markets with a fraction of the time and trouble.
It’s an experience of knowing the multitude of business activities and integrating them together in a system that brings them together in a common thread. It’s like setting up a Business all together. In this scientific evolved system to ‘accelerate business innovation’. SAP has indeed mastered the art, yet as every project & implementation always have unique dimensions to it, I am penning down some important & relevant notes in a structured fashion for reference to ‘an Integration approach of companies’ project in SAP.
Much after the M&A deal, the real work begins when the ‘integration’ of the new business begins. Integrating an acquisition into an existing company presents a wide set of challenges. As no systems or business processes are alike, integration is generally unique and requires its own set of solutions. Experience has shown that no two merging of systems are same, thus integration presents its own set of challenges, though some basic rules and points can be taken into consideration when planning/executing integration between two systems.
The old saying, “You can’t do the ‘one size fits all’ approach and just hammer standardization through” holds true in such scenarios. In a large integration project between ‘TWO’ systems, there are bound to be dimension of complexities related to people, Language, Business, geographical spread, time duration, multiple cross-functional teams, breath of technology platforms, technical, etc.
Through these series of Blogs will try to address through a combination of measures on the issues and complexities that could potentially differentiate the triumphs from the disasters and explain as how best to lay the foundation for an integration of different companies in terms of landscaping, data migration, business processes, structuring, etc thus plan for a smooth transition. Focusing more on individual categories which are critical to the success of a project especially when both the system are on SAP having different structure, business processes, landscaping, etc rather than addressing the phases of the methodology and the activities involved in each of these phases.
Use of organized methodologies for the development of systems have been around for more than three decades now, Today, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of methodologies available for use. Methodologies radically affect the corporate culture, as it represents standardization and uniformity in deliverables. In any methodology, there are three basic fundamentals: groundwork, planning and execution. Methodologies impose a disciplined process with the aim of making project lifecycle & describe the processes and tasks that must be completed to produce a product, service or system. With experience and learning’s from the previous projects, companies either have own methodology defined or follow the general roadmap defined in the SAP ASAP methodology.
There needs to be at-least five processes namely, Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling – Monitoring, and Closing. In ASAP the five general phases are Project Preparation, Blueprint, Realization, Final Preparation and Go-Live and Support. Each of these phases defines the processes and activities to be followed and the milestones to be achieved, before starting the new phase.
No matter what methodology is been followed, the following points should be taken into consideration, as existing system to be integrated is already on SAP and the users are well aware of the functionalities and the process in the system. One of the biggest challenges is to understand their process and make them adopt the new process in the new system.
- Planning and Management
- Documentation and Requirements
- Data Loading
- Team-work and Roles & Responsibilities
- Outputs/ABAP Development
- Workload and Effectiveness
In my next Blog, I would be covering all these points in more detail and in the final blog of the series would present a case study along with the Key Challenges faced during one of the project, i recently executed.