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Single Vs. Multiple ERP Instances in GBS


For Global Business Services to achieve the greatest results, there needs to be an emphasis on end-to-end process design, reducing complexity, and taking advantage of size and scale.  While many bolt-on solutions can be successfully deployed, reducing system complexity by having as few instances of a common ERP system as possible is often the greatest contributor to achieving success.  In multiple ERP system environments, it is very difficult to standardize processes or optimize your end-to-end process design.  Being on one ERP is better and being on a single instance of one ERP is the best.

iPollingTM Results Review

Peeriosity’s iPollingTM was used to better understand Peeriosity member companies’ ability to reduce system complexity by transitioning to a smaller number of EPR instances.  The results indicate that 36% of companies are running a single instance globally, with only 9% reporting that they have little or no standardization of their ERP systems.  23% indicate they are standard across multiple regions, 14% are standard within a region, and 9% are standard within a country.  Note that some companies who responded with a response of “less than global” did so because their businesses are not global.

poll on Highest level of ERP system standardized in companies

When asked about the amount of time until companies expect to be running on one instance of their ERP system company-wide, 48% indicated that they already are doing so.  An additional 19% expected to get there within 3 to 5 years, and 10% think it will take longer than 5 years.  The balance of 24% indicated that having one instance of their ERP isn’t their company’s ultimate goal.

poll on the timeline of running one instance of ERP system company wide

Here are some of the comments from members:

  • We went live with 1 global SAP system at the end of 2020 after many years of operating in multiple SAP and non-SAP systems.
  • We have only one main ERP (SAP), but it has multiple instances currently. We are working to upgrade right now but will maintain multiple instances of the same platform (SAP S/4).
  • We were uniquely fortunate to be ‘born’ from a spinoff directly onto a global single instance SAP environment.
  • Have had several failed attempts to move to one ERP. Currently moving to a single financial system of record (S4Hana) as opposed to true single ERP.

Closing Summary

The ability of Global Business Services (GBS) to influence the company’s decisions regarding standardizing on an ERP system platform, and then further reducing complexity by limiting the number of instances on that platform, will vary greatly depending on the unique circumstances at the company.   Fortunately, for many companies moving to as few instances as possible is worth the investment for many reasons, with the positive impact on GBS being one of many benefits. 

How many ERPs does your company have, and how many instances of each ERP are there?  What is your strategy for reducing the number of ERP instances?  In what ways does your GBS design take advantage of your company’s systems strategy?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling. Peeriosity members are invited to log into to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here

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