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The role of IT integration in M&A and becoming AI-ready

Nurdianah Md Nur
Nurdianah Md Nur • 5 min read
The role of IT integration in M&A and becoming AI-ready
By connecting local operations and integrating into its parent company’s ERP system with Boomi, HEB Construction can ensure data governance and prepare for AI more effectively. Photo: Unsplash
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IT integration is among the top challenges after M&A activity. When the IT systems of the parent and subsidiary companies do not integrate well, it negatively impacts productivity, collaboration, cybersecurity and access or visibility to information.

Yet, standardisation of the full IT stack across the parent company and subsidiary may not be possible due to regulatory requirements, especially if the organisations are based in different countries or regions.

HEB Construction experienced this firsthand. The New Zealand-based construction company had to adopt the parent company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system after being acquired by Vinci Construction, a global organisation headquartered in France. However, HEB Construction could not fully replace its ERP system due to the maturity of existing local technology investments and the regulatory frameworks under which it operates.

 “With New Zealand’s regulatory and functional requirements contrasting previously deployed markets, it became clear a ‘digital/ERP transplant’ wouldn’t be suitable – HEB required a different approach. So, my team considered a hybrid integration approach. This decision was driven not only by the necessity for a compliant governance system but also by our imperative to uphold our existing expertise in local systems like HR,” says Mircel Van Der Walt, HEB Construction’s enterprise architect.

A smooth transition

Likening the ERP replacement project to a heart transplant which can be traumatic, Van Der Walt highlights that the integration enabled by Boomi “enabled a smooth transition as it lessened the ripple of changes”.

See also: Redefining Asean’s manufacturing landscape with deep learning

HEB Construction implemented Boomi’s integration platform as a service (iPaaS) to establish hub and spoke integration patterns between its local applications, including payroll, timesheet, inventory management, and equipment maintenance systems. It could also mirror its local patterns with the global ERP stack to form hub-to-hub connectivity by adopting the ERP’s data structure as its data standard. This enabled seamless communication between HEB Construction and its parent company and established reusable integration patterns.

“Using the analogy of a hamburger, your IT systems are the ingredients to be stacked and Boomi is the sauce that ensures everything sticks to one another. [Thanks to] the Boomi Enterprise Platform, we [were able to move to the new ERP in 12 months] plus create design interfaces that had reuse value – it can effectively replicate what we achieved in other parts of the world with similar local guardrails, regulations, and operational requirements,” states Van Der Walt.

Preparing for AI

See also: No net zero without the help of SMEs

To become a data-driven company, HEB uses the Boomi Master Data Hub to manage its digital assets through three abstracted layers: people, projects, and equipment.

Van Der Walt says: “By establishing boundaries between the three data archetypes, ERP data accurately feeds through and lands where it should locally, and vice versa. For example, new hire information now pulls in our Boomi ‘people’ bucket and trickles up to the ERP when minimum data completeness is reached.”

Connecting systems around a stable enterprise data core, he adds, is key to HEB Construction’s plans to use artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance its operations.

Information is at the heart of AI so you need to build a good [IT] foundation that allows you to have good data. You cannot have AI without information architecture.

Mircel Van Der Walt, enterprise architect, HEB Construction

Boomi CEO Steve Lucas echoes the same sentiment. “AI thrives on reliable, secure, and current data. Yet too often, this data is fragmented, difficult to govern, and not securely managed. What companies urgently need is a unified, enterprise-scale platform that not only bridges application programming interfaces (APIs), applications, data, and AI models, but also accelerates digital transformation,” he says in his keynote at the Boomi World 2024 in Denver, US.

To help companies (even those not undergoing M&A) become AI-ready, Boomi has expanded and deepened the capabilities of the Boomi Enterprise Platform with:

  • Next-generation API management for the AI economy
    Boomi announced the acquisitions of APIIDA’s federated API management business and API management assets from Cloud Software Group. The move will allow organisations to rapidly and securely deliver business value through API products in one end-to-end enterprise platform.
  • The Boomi AI agent framework
    The framework provides out-of-the-box AI agents, pluggability for third-party AI agents, as well as the ability to automate AI orchestration workflows. This enables business and IT users to run AI agents to solve pressing integration and automation requirements.  

    For instance, Boomi Scribe is an agent that automatically documents existing and built-by-AI integrations. Meanwhile, the Boomi FinTalk powered by Vianai agent connects to sources of financial data in an organisation to enable its users to discover and analyse financial data and trends in real-time by asking questions through a natural language interface.
  • Boomi DataHub, a trusted data foundation for operational, analytical and AI workloads
    It provides master data management, integration pipelines, and a framework that will expand over time to provide other data management capabilities, including enterprise-scale movement and standardisation of data for AI and analytics initiatives.

    “Centralising data has proved to be a dead end for companies. A better approach is to build connectivity, governance, and automation into the IT resources companies already have, taking advantage of AI to make this work faster and easier than ever before,” says Lucas.

“The only enterprise applications that will matter five years from now are the ones that can reason [and this calls for organisations to have a] foundation that connects and manages all their data and helps accelerate AI and API development. Using Boomi, customers can say goodbye to the digital fragmentation that’s been undermining their digital transformation efforts and finally get the comprehensive visibility, control, and automation they need,” he concludes.

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