August 22, 2012 // By: Andreas Schmitz // “IT Mirrors the Business”
Merck acquired life sciences company Millipore in mid-2010, a company that runs Oracle. What has changed since then?
We have opted for SAP globally, and have set up a department of functions that is tasked with defining central processes. Managers in the divisions are also responsible for global processes and are heads of functions, helping to shape the standardization and harmonization process. Our next task is to use the same ERP system in every country. We are about half way through the integration process.
You are responsible for business process harmonization at Merck, so you have to bring together the divisions and corporate IT. Not an easy job….
Sure, every division has different targets and business models. Time and again we have long discussions with the managers of the divisions and corporate IT. And it soon becomes clear that IT does more than just implement technology. It does not dictate what others should do; instead it brings the divisions together, and so simplifies decision-making.
At a time when budgets are shrinking…
Of course it can only work if we drive innovation at the same time. We have to spend less time on commodity IT and invest more in business value. That’s why it’s certainly better to think about the e-commerce platform of the future rather than typing code or solving IT problems. IT is still not doing enough about developing new products. Let me give you some examples.
It took scientists at Merck too long to analyze data. The processes involved were not efficient. We developed a tool for them, the Data Analysis and Report Tool, or DART, which is an interactive Web application that helps our researchers analyze complex data and display it on the screen. Another example is “easypod,” an application for which we delivered the software. It records when a patient takes medicine, and what dose, and stores this information in a database, helping both doctors and patients. Our job was to find new services for administering medicine.
Read on the next page about Millipore, the latest acquisition.