And then there were...6
So it's recently come to light that CPG giant BAT has reduced their hefty portfolio of 62 SAP systems down to a more manageable 6! The net effect of this is massive - less support costs, quicker reporting, easier access to information and therefore more accurate business intelligence.
Talking with Tom Bangemann of The Hackett Group last year when I was researching 15 Well Kept Secrets to Shared Services Success, he was very clear that one of the three mother-of-all secrets was to run off a single instance (if your business supported this). Unfortunately some businesses are so complex and have lines which cross so many industries, that running off a single instance of SAP simply might not work. Some companies may always have MFG Pro operating somewhere in the back ground. But, if it is possible, then a single instance could be your silver bullet.
So BAT are making real headway. Have you noticed that moving to fewer systems and 'doing' shared services at the same time is becoming common place. I will watch their developments with interest to see if their shared services centre in Romania, which is currently migrating countries, is operating off one system next year, and what the investment and savings looked like. I do know that they have a 4 year plan geared to save Â£549 million on supply chain costs, completing next year. So will this be achieved? Watch this space.