The Benefits of Consolidating ERP Systems

Published: June 24, 2024

Mergers and acquisitions are a common practice for companies seeking to expand market reach, diversify their offerings, or gain a competitive edge. A significant amount of work is devoted to valuations, due diligence, cultural integration, and strategic alignment during the deal process. Yet one of the most significant post-merger challenges is routinely misjudged by CIOs and IT Directors: The integration of disparate Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.

In the aftermath of such mergers, managing multiple ERP systems is cumbersome, costly, and inefficient, hampering a company’s ability to scale and grow in a competitive market. System consolidation is essential to driving operational excellence and strategic growth. While there are many benefits and advantages to ERP consolidation, we’re going to touch on six today.

Significant cost savings are among the most compelling reasons for consolidating ERP systems. Maintaining multiple ERP systems involves redundant licensing fees, support and maintenance costs, and IT infrastructure expenses. By consolidating ERP systems, companies can eliminate these redundancies, streamline IT operations, and achieve economies of scale.

Companies using multiple SAP instances, for example, can reduce licensing costs and negotiate better terms by consolidating into a single, unified SAP environment. This can also lead to substantial savings in maintenance and energy costs by reducing the number of data centers, cloud resources, and associated hardware.

Operating multiple ERP systems will generally result in fragmented and siloed data, making it challenging to gain a holistic view of the business. Consolidating ERP systems enables organizations to centralize their data, providing a single source of truth without middleware or excessively complex custom integrations. This improved data visibility is crucial for making informed business decisions, enhancing forecasting accuracy, and driving strategic initiatives.

For instance, a consolidated SAP S/4HANA system can provide real-time analytics and reporting capabilities, enabling executives to access critical business insights quickly. This centralized approach ensures that all departments and business units are aligned, fostering better collaboration and more agile decision-making.

Differing ERP systems utilize varying business processes and workflows, leading to inconsistencies and inefficiencies. Consolidation allows organizations to standardize their processes across the enterprise, ensuring consistency and that best practices are followed.

For instance, by migrating to a single SAP S/4HANA system, companies can harmonize their procurement, finance, and supply chain processes. This standardization not only improves operational efficiency but also reduces the risk of both errors and compliance issues.

Managing multiple ERP systems requires a significant amount of IT resources, including dedicated teams for each system, specialized training, and complex integration efforts. Consolidating ERP systems simplifies IT management by reducing the number of systems that need to be maintained, supported, and learned.

Unification allows for a streamlined IT landscape with a user-friendly interface that is consistent, reducing the learning curve for IT staff and end-users, ultimately leading to higher productivity and better user-adoption. A single ERP system can also be more easily integrated with other enterprise applications, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Human Capital Management (HCM) systems, further enhancing IT efficiency.

As businesses grow and evolve, their ERP needs change. Consolidated ERP systems offer greater agility and scalability, allowing companies to adapt to changing business requirements more easily. This scalability is particularly important for companies planning future acquisitions or expansions.

SAP S/4HANA, for example, is designed to support growth and innovation with its cloud-based architecture and advanced capabilities, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). By consolidating ERP systems, organizations can ensure they are well-positioned to leverage new technologies and remain competitive in a rapidly changing market.

Managing security and compliance is of utmost importance regardless of ERP system structure. Duplicating efforts across multiple ERP systems increases risk and introduces unnecessary challenges navigating differing compliance requirements and varying levels of protection. Consolidating ERP systems enhances security by providing a unified approach to data protection and compliance management.

A consolidated ERP environment enables IT directors to implement consistent security policies and procedures across the organization. This unified approach helps ensure that all data is protected to the same high standard, reducing the risk of breaches and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. Standardized security protocols and centralized control make it easier to monitor and respond to potential threats, providing a more robust security posture overall.

Consolidating ERP systems presents a compelling opportunity for CIOs and IT directors to drive cost savings, enhance data visibility, streamline business processes, improve IT efficiency, and future-proof their organizations. While consolidation is a complex process that requires careful planning, the long-term benefits far outweigh the challenges. Whether it’s through SAP S/4HANA or other leading ERP solutions, consolidating ERP systems is a strategic move to significantly enhance operational excellence and support sustainable growth.

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