Pharmaceutical ingredients supplier Aesica has completed a 12-month SAP project to support an aggressive program of acquisitions.
Speaking at the SAP World Tour 2009 event in Birmingham, Bhavesh Kotecha, head of IT at Aesica, said the company's goal is to integrate business processes and IT from the companies it acquires to its core IT platform within 12 months.
"Managing information is key when you acquire companies. We have to ensure we have common policies and processes," Bhavesh Kotecha said.
Since it began in 2004, Aesica has grown through acquisition, and has taken on board a number of ERP systems including a SAP R/3 system, JD Edwards and a legacy system.
The company realised it needed a new ERP. Last year it selected IBM to run a hosted version of SAP, designed for the pharmaceutical sector.
By using a standard template from IBM Global Services, Kotecha said IBM was able to produce the first application in just 20 days of signing the contract. He said the IBM templates provided about 85% of the functionality required by the business, leaving 15% customisation work.
Change management and winning over the business were the major challenges during the project, Kotecha said.
"We had to get the top people in the business involved to validate the applications," he said.
The company has spent 15% of the project's budget on training end-users.
Aesica took control of the data migration from the old systems to SAP, which enabled it to match user requirements to what the system delivered.
Kotecha said: "The hardest part of the project was getting the data out. We looked at how to map our data and had a very good internal team to understand the data."
Now the project is live, Kotecha is looking at how to consolidate some business practices into shared services, such as a common process across the companies it acquires to rationalise suppliers and accounting.