When considering a split in your productive SAP system the first thing to do is to sit down with a cup of coffee and ask yourself why? Why do you need to split this well oiled SAP system into two or more separate systems? Depending on the answer you may have one or more options available, each one suited to different scenarios (with differing degrees of risk), the work effort also varies of course!
Here is a link to the blog that started this series
For the purposes of this blog series I will take a look at the following three scenarios and assume that in each one they consist of the business currently running one consolidated SAP system. The sale or business demerger necessitates that this be split into two separate systems, one of which will be owned or managed by the other party.
1) Business demerger to an unrelated third party
You have sold a business unit to an unrelated third party or possibly a competitor so you can’t leave any trace of financial, pricing or competitive information in the system.
2) Business demerger to a related third party
You have sold a piece of your business to a related third party, perhaps a combined joint venture or one in which you have an ownerships stake.
3) Business demerger to an internally related party
This is possibly not a business demerger as such but for whatever reason you still need to split the production system.
Now as you are drinking your cup of coffee you should have some idea as to the scenario you face (and possibly your role) and you can therefore start the most important phase. That is planning!
Business Divestiture Plan
The focus of this blog series will be on the SAP part of this business transaction so your SAP separation plan should be part of a larger plan. Ideally this big picture plan should take into account the following areas as a minimum.
- Milestones & Budget
- Business Demerger Strategy & Rationale
- Business Change Impact
- SAP Separation Plan
- Communication Strategy & Plan
Perhaps the most important part of this is the Business Demerger Strategy & Rationale. Clearly articulating this will ensure that we make the right SAP choices. The SAP seperation will come down to a choice from a limited number of realization alternatives, without understanding the business objectives we can’t make the right SAP choice!
Not only should you plan on obtaining great professional business advice (Legal, Accounting, Taxation & Finance), you should also obtain the same level of SAP advice. At the earliest stage seek out your current implementation partner (if you have one) and reach out to your SAP account management exec. Discuss with them the overall goals of the project and more importantly, the timeline involved.
I would also strongly recommend that you consider SAPs excellent System Landscape Optimization (SLO) service. Not only do they contain some of the most highly experienced SAP people you will ever meet, they have done hundreds of demergers and consolidations previously.They also have access to some tools that are really useful such as Global System Comparison Workbench & Transaction Data Migration Server. Actually TDMS is now available to customers but that is another story.
In the next blog I will share some approaches that have worked well in the past and we will start to work through some of the issues you may face in the above scenarios. Remember, you should do nothing without first obtaining the right professional business and SAP advice!