One Business, Many Systems? Time to Consolidate!

M&A leads to complex landscapes. Here’s what to do.

consolidate and automate cio

Looking at a merger? Consolidating SAP instances? Streamlining your data center operations? Spinning off a business unit? In each of these scenarios, it comes down to the same question. How can your team ensure a smooth transition – and make sure that every business process works during and after re-structuring?

For some companies, the acquisitions happened years ago and the enterprise has been living with the pain and expense of a tangle of diverse systems for a long time. Maybe it’s time to untangle, streamline, and consolidate your enterprise application landscape. For many firms, today’s pace of change is making maintenance and upgrades a real challenge, so for them the choice to consolidate is clear.

Standardized business execution, greater efficiencies. A financial VP at a large telecom company recently gave her views on the matter of consolidating enterprise applications, “As you may know we get involved in a lot of merger and acquisition activity. Over time, we’ve come across multiple instances of various ERPs, including SAP, so it’s really important to us from a standardization and finance transformation perspective, to make sure that we are collapsing into standardized processes and bringing platforms together to gain greater efficiencies across our financial systems.”

“Budgets are always a consideration, so more systems means more people, division of labor. Collapsing the pieces together, especially in the finance industry, not only accelerates the closing of the books and the results, it also helps from a headcount perspective to get synergies across different organizations.”

Remaining rock solid. At the same time, the integrity of the business process is vital – before, during, and after the consolidation project. The VP continued, “We have to be accurate. When we’re closing our books and reporting to the street, we have to be absolutely accurate and know that we can stand behind our data.” In other words, business execution needs to remain solid.

Ensuring the fastest possible transition and smooth operations. When it comes to the IT side of consolidations, mergers, and splits, the success of the restructuring can be defined by the lack of drama. Smooth, continuous business operations – and no delays because of IT system failures or glitches. Seamless business integration and continuity are the objectives.

These projects are especially challenging because consolidations can bring an enormous number of application changes – removing, adding, and restructuring business processes, transferring data, changing interfaces, and introducing new applications for parts of the business.

Consolidations impact technology, IT infrastructure and business applications – which can introduce risk to your business process continuity. Automation can help ensure success on the IT side for large and small enterprise system consolidations and splits. How’s that?

Automation eliminates the drama. For the re-structuring to be most successful, organizations need to ensure that with every change, critical business processes continue to function as designed. That means testing and validation of every business function. It sounds like a lot of work – and it is. But it’s work that does not need to be performed manually. Functional test automation platforms like Worksoft Certify® can be used to validate that processes are executed with the highest quality – before, during, and after the project. After all, business operations can’t stop because you are in the midst of a reorganization. Let’s look at a real consolidation example.

Going from 23 data centers to two? One of the world’s largest car companies took on the challenge of consolidating from 23 global data centers to two in Michigan – all while making the shift 100% transparent to more than 20,000 SAP users worldwide. The project involved moving production landscapes and hundreds of technical instances, changing operating systems, and implementing architectural changes.

A project of this scale involved a massive regression testing effort to ensure continued business process quality. That needed to happen rapidly, efficiently, and make use of re-usable test assets to guarantee minimal impact across the enterprise. So how did it turn out?

It worked. Despite the complexity, the consolidation adhered to a very strict timeline without disrupting the company’s global operations. Business users barely noticed. That was victory.

Why do companies turn to test automation during consolidations? Six reasons. We’ve found it’s because they are looking to achieve one or more of the following:

  • Eliminate the risk of business disruption with a seamless restructuring of your business systems
  • Ensure quality execution of core business processes during and after a system consolidation or split
  • Validate business processes that span multiple platforms, interfaces, geographies, and devices
  • Mitigate technology risk with the ability to catch and resolve production errors before they impact business users
  • Reduce project time and cost by eliminating manual effort, and replacing manual labor with machine labor
  • Maximize the likelihood of a successful merger or acquisition with successful technology integration

For more information, please contact us.


Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.