According to David J. Manthey, a senior analyst covering industrial distribution, in this Yahoo finance article, “Consolidation…has always been the single most important driver within the industrial distribution industry. Although there are market segments and points in time when merger and acquisition activity picks up, a great deal of share gain is driven by hand-to-hand combat in the marketplace every day”. Manthey continues, “I believe the big will continue to get bigger and the largest players will continue to stretch their lead.”
For companies involved in any stage of consolidation activity, a business intelligence application can be an exceptional tool for understanding the individual companies as well as the effect of the combination. BI can aid significantly in performing due diligence, company valuation, negotiation, and post-consolidation integration analysis, implementation, and reporting.
Pre-consolidation—How Can BI Help?
The first thing that comes to mind as to where BI can lead the way for a consolidation project, and rightfully so, is financial analysis. Since BI can take data from multiple disparate systems and allow you to compare and contrast data, looking for trends and outliers, this is a perfect analysis tool to look at the financial compatibility of two companies. Alerts can be set up to notify the Controller and others working on the project of changes in financial status, so any new information can be immediately considered in discussions and resolutions.
But BI goes way beyond financials. For instance, with a good BI application, you could get a very good picture of customers. Are they complementary? Does the consolidation provide opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling to current customers? How do order fulfillment, current order statuses, and backlogs compare? Side-by-side comparisons, sophisticated graphics, drill-down functionality, and the ability to quickly change your entire analysis because a new idea comes into focus as you are looking at the numbers all contribute to making BI the most effective tool for making sense of vast amounts of data.
Or how about vendor performance–does the consolidation present an opportunity to leverage existing vendors to obtain more profitable pricing? Does the consolidation present opportunities to eliminate unprofitable operations or expand successful operations? What is the impact of combining the inventories, capital assets, facilities, and product lines of the two companies—what is complementary, what overlaps, what causes what to become obsolete? These are all examples of areas in which BI can play a significant role in the strategic and operating success of business combinations, turning data into relevant insight for decision making.
Post-consolidation—BI Continues to Provide Insight
Once the business consolidation is complete, data will need to be consolidated for reporting purposes. The cost to convert one of the companies to the other ERP can be enormous in terms of both direct costs such as licensing, consulting, and training and indirect costs like the loss of productivity resulting from any system change. Because BI can pull data from multiple sources, it can allow each of the consolidating entities to retain its own ERP while providing the ability to consolidate the data for reporting and analysis. Or if management determines that it is best to consolidate accounting and operations systems, BI can give your folks the ability to consolidate data from day one until the conversion is complete and then continue as the post-conversion reporting and analysis tool of choice.
Regardless of ERP path, BI provides invaluable insight on an ongoing basis. BI can present role-based dashboards to those who need to be “in the know,” from the CEO and department heads to operations managers, financial analysts, and product managers. Advanced visualization capabilities like spark lines, geo-location mapping, and traffic lights enable an at-a-glance picture of the current financial and operating status and trends. Further, BI makes standard and ad hoc reporting a snap for even non-technical users and results can be shared with the appropriate people via the Internet, SharePoint, PowerPoint, or just about any method that uses a web page.
BIO—Consolidation Tool for Microsoft Dynamics
BIO Analytics Corp. provides business intelligence software and services created especially for users of Microsoft Dynamics. BIO has the deepest out-of-the-box connectors for Microsoft Dynamics SL, GP, and NAV and is fully customizable for other data sources. BIO is expandable from a departmental application to an enterprise solution, giving you the option to start small and grow as your company’s needs grow. As a tool for turning thousands or millions of data points into understandable information, whether for consolidations or day-to-day decision making, BIO can’t be beat. Visit our website or view a short video demo to learn more. And feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 203.705.4648 with any questions, whether about BIO or business intelligence, in general.
By Sandi Richards Forman of BIO Analytics, Corp., a Business Intelligence (BI) Microsoft Dynamics ISV