SAP on AWS
EDI for SAP
Key Considerations to Successfully Integrate a Merger or Acquisition into SAP
by Jodi Abrams
While the foundation of a project like this such as planning, communication, collaboration and stakeholder buy-in are the same as with any large project , we are going to look beyond how project management principles apply and dive into the SAP specific side of things. How can you bridge the gap and make sure the new company or business unit integrates into your existing processes with as few changes as possible? What can you do to make this process streamlined and efficient?
Understanding the existing system
In order to integrate a new company, your System Integrator (SI) needs to understand what the existing system looks like and how it functions. Don’t skip this step as it builds the foundation for a successful project. Perhaps the SI is already very familiar with your system having worked with you previously. If not, dig up your documentation and have some business walk-throughs to show the unique parts of your business process. This way, they know what they are working with.
Identify a similar business unit
For this step the business and SI will both need to collaborate. After gaining some base knowledge of the new acquisition, a similar existing business unit should be identified. This could be a plant, warehouse, sales org, company code etc. depending on what is needed. This will be the foundation for your integration. The processes from this entity will be used as your “as-is” model and demonstrated to the new company to perform a fit-gap analysis.
A hands-on approach to fit-gap
After identifying a similar entity in your system that best matches the one you intend to integrate, your SI will need to perform a fit-gap analysis. That is to say, what fits exactly with the existing processes, and where is there a gap? By doing a walkthrough/demo of the similar business unit in SAP for the business users of the new company, you’ll be more successful at unearthing the nuances of that company.
Data Migration Strategy
Data migration is a key component to any of these projects. Whether it’s a matter of extending existing data or creating new data, the key here is review and test. Testing will tell you if in general, your choices for the master data fit with the process. For example, materials – one of the largest objects to migrate – have so many different views to consider, you need to walk through the process to make sure it will work with your configuration. However, walking through a sample of materials won’t validate all of them. This is where the review comes in, the business needs to work with the SI to understand the values in the different fields, and then do a thorough (though tedious) review of the data. It's important that this step is not skipped and may require business leadership to step in to ensure the right resources are allocated.
Everyone knows the value of testing, but what kind of testing you do will be vital to a successful go-live. Day-in-the-life testing will be a key component to your testing strategy. Take everything that happens in the legacy system over a day, or a few days and replicate it in SAP. Walk through the same transactions, produce the product, enter in new master data etc. Not only does this test the system, but it lays some foundation for user training.
Integration projects of this nature can range from adding some new products to a whole new line of business. Like any project, up-front planning and tight project management will help in the success alongside the other SAP specific recommendations mentioned here. Working with an SI who has done this numerous times before, and that you trust will also be vital to its success.
With input from our professional services team.
Jodi is an expert in SAP and eCommerce integration, and is Vice President of Applications for CONTAX.