How AmerisourceBergen Tamed M&A-Related Data Fragmentation
We want to be One ABC to our business partners. To be successful, we’re building a data foundation with Informatica so our partners can do business with us more easily. It’s helping us to look at our business interactions holistically across our customers with 99% accuracy. Peter Stormer, Director of Data Management, AmerisourceBergen Corporation
Mergers and acquisitions wreak havoc on data traceability and trust leading to data fragmentation and ultimately impacting your customer relationships.
AmerisourceBergen Corporation (ABC) knows this better than most organizations; the company was formed in 2001 as the result of a merger, and it has continued to grow through multiple acquisitions since.
Not only that, but its customer base has also experienced a number of mergers over the years. This Revenue & Profits article documents how 60 pharmaceutical companies became just 10 in the 20 years between 1995 and 2015.
Today ABC is one of the largest global pharmaceutical sourcing and distribution services companies, helping both healthcare providers and pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers improve patient access to products and enhance patient care.
But, with four separate and distinct lines of business, and an increasing burden of regulatory compliance, the data fragmentation caused by ABC’s legacy of acquisitions eventually required to be addressed.
Driving growth and compliance with MDM
Four years ago, ABC raised the priority of data integration and created a strategic approach to harmonize and cross-reference select business information using Master Data Management (MDM). At the time, ABC was a single corporation operating as 15 separate business entities, each with its own Profit and Loss (P&L) and independent operating processes.
To gain a single view of its customers, also known as business partners, and act as one company, ABC would unify its data across the lines of business and drive two important business needs:
- Create opportunities for growth. At ABC, the role of a business partner changes depending on the line of business or the interaction. For instance, some customers may also be vendors or suppliers. And because of the nature of the pharmaceutical industry, many of the customers themselves are also made up of merged, fragmented organizations. Understanding the relationship of their business partners across the whole organization would help ABC sell more efficiently, provide better service and improve the overall customer experience.
- Improve compliance efficiency. The Federal Drug Quality and Security Act of 2013 requires companies like ABC to track pharmaceutical products from manufacture to distribution and every point in between. Improving the traceability of its products would drastically reduce the cost to stay in compliance with this important regulation and lower the risk of compliance errors.
Each business group at ABC is supported by specialized software systems uniquely suited to their needs. Rather than disrupt and impede the business by standardizing software and systems, ABC standardized the data instead.
Due to the size and complexity of their organizational data, tackling it all at once would not be feasible. Instead, to ensure the success of the project and minimize disruption, ABC created a methodology around three key tactics:
- Address the highest priority business need first and identify commonality across businesses
- Keep the scope small, and expand and evolve with small victories
- Centrally manage and sync common data to support specific business unit needs
Making consistency and efficiency pay off
Informatica MDM helped ABC untangle its complicated web of customer relationships and provide transparency for both products and customers across business units. Regardless of where data enters the organization, it can be correlated with data from other business units and software systems, giving a complete view of the business relationship. Business benefits include:
- Consistency when communicating with customers
- Complete reporting across business units
- Greater efficiency in auditing and reporting
- Decreased logistics and procurement errors
Listen to our on-demand webinar “AmerisourceBergen: Architecting Enterprise Master Data Hub for One ABC,” as Pete Stormer, Director of Data Management for AmerisourceBergen shares a detailed walk through of their MDM implementation journey. In addition to the challenges faced by data fragmentation, Stormer shares best practices and lessons learned in their MDM journey.