Protecting Your Ecosystem - Strengthening Your Network Through A Global SAP Rollout
As digital transformation continues to be a buzzword topic globally, it’s imperative to keep in mind that digitization and technical capabilities are only a fraction of the process involved in creating an effective organization. People are, and always will be, the foundation of a successful enterprise. Despite the advances being made in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence, many of the integral functions that your business provides will be carried out over the good old-fashioned mediums of email, telephone, and instant messaging. By investing in the proper integration of subsidiaries, you ensure that the intricate ecosystem of your corporate network is prepared for a successful transition.
Companies are Living Organisms
When taking a high-level view of the global enterprise company, there is no analogy more apt than that of a living organism. Every Fortune 500 company begins as a single organizational unit. As the business adapts to the market environment through evolving business processes, division, and reproduction, growth occurs. Depending on the industry, there may be fierce competition for resources that necessitate the development of novel strategies. And behind each adaptive transition and updated process, there are teams of people, the life-blood of your company, working hard to ensure the survival of this living organism.
Caring for your Organizational Ecosystem
A healthy ecosystem requires a strong symbiotic relationship between multiple organisms. As these different organisms evolve in unison, the strengths of some can be used to support the weaknesses of others, leading to a foundational support cycle. One of the most important aspects of a successfully conducted global SAP rollout is the proper integration of new subsidiaries into your enterprise resource planning system and master business protocol.
Communication is Key
Just like the human nervous system connects disparate limbs and organs into a centralized organism, consolidations - when properly implemented - allow global enterprise companies to function with a similar level of efficiency. But if your information systems are not implemented with a universal end user in mind, it’s likely that some of your limbs will be hindered, leading to wasted resources, inefficiencies, and demoralized workers.
The intricate network of subsidiaries, branches, and headquarters that constitute your international operations need to be able to communicate with each other across the globe in a way that maintains the clear transfer of information while also keeping cultural differences in mind. For instance, ERP systems now come with powerful language functionalities that allow for messages to be conveyed in multiple languages through the same interface. Similarly, centralized user accounts with authorized communication capabilities allow for the seamless transfer of information and messaging between different subsidiaries. Investments in digital solutions aren't just for your analytics and finance departments, they also need to promote effective communication on a company-wide scale.
Supporting Behavioural Transformation
The people who make up your vast subsidiary network aren’t like software systems that can just be updated overnight. Expecting such an instantaneous transformation during your global rollout can negatively impact your organization at a micro and macro scale. Allowing time for your employees to internalize changes to business practices at a realistic pace will show them that you respect the learning process.
During key transition periods, supporting your various departments with SAP strategists and business management experts is essential in implementing a successful behaviour transformation process. Experience in the human impact of a subsidiary integration is invaluable and should be leveraged whenever possible. Webinars and live training exercises allow your impacted employees to voice any anxieties and concerns they have surrounding these updated protocols with seasoned professionals. Especially for enterprises operating on a global level, leveraging the expertise of subsidiary integration consultants will help you deliver consistent messaging about updated practices to your multinational workforce.
Integrating Local Practices
If your company is in the process of acquiring a new subsidiary, conducting a thorough analysis of its current operations is paramount. Not only will this help you identify any inefficiencies or protocols that conflict with current headquarter guidelines, but it provides the perfect opportunity to maintain and integrate some of the local practices.
While each division of an enterprise needs to operate off of the same business template for optimal operations, there will likely be unique, location-specific practices that contribute to the success of each subsidiary. These practices have been internalized as part of the organization’s culture and identity, and are likely implemented for significant regional reasons. Organizational identity refers to the connection that workers feel to their place of employment and, when firmly established, can improve performance. Employees feel recognized and empowered by protocols that cater to their specific needs and head office can help foster a stronger intercompany network by integrating these protocols during a consolidation.
For subsidiaries operating out of emerging markets, regional laws surrounding accounting, taxes, and statutory compliance can change quickly. The front-line operators in these regions need to have increased access to central headquarters so that potential infractions and compliance issues can be resolved as quickly as possible. By keeping open lines of real-time communication with management at the local level, headquarters not only signal the value that these employees have to the organization as a whole, but are also better prepared to address any costly infractions.
Your global employee base aren’t the only people who will be impacted by the subsidiary integration process. Existing clients and business associates will also need to adjust to the changes, and providing them with additional support during this transition is key to maintaining those strategic partnerships. This doesn’t just mean sending out a courtesy email with updates about new practices, but contacting them face to face (or screen to screen) so that any immediate concerns can be addressed. In addition to being a more effective problem-solving solution, extending priority calls to your business partners and clients will display that they, too, are an essential part of your organizational network.