As if the hypercompetitive, constantly evolving com-munications and high-tech business weren’t alreadychallenging enough, Nokia Siemens Networks hasbeen operating over the past four years with theadded burden of merging two industry heavyweightsinto an even stronger one.Formed in 2007 as the result of a joint venturebetween Siemens’ COM division and Nokia’s NetworkBusiness Group, Nokia Siemens Networks is now oneof the largest telecommunications hardware, softwareand services companies in the world, with more than70,000 people in 150 countries. The company’s suc-cessful work following the merger to drive consolida-tion and integration of two very different, complexorganizations provides important insights about howto develop an agile change capability to underpinand support new business strategies.As Nokia Siemens Networks discovered, creating anew business strategy is only a first step. The morechallenging part of the journey is about putting inplace the organizational structures, systems, processes,leadership capabilities and learning opportunities thatenable the company to execute that strategy.
Nokia Siemens Networks executives recognized thatan immediate priority following the merger was theimplementation of a common IT platform and onemode of operations, consolidating the company’s pro-cesses and systems end-to-end—from “quote to cash.”Non-standard procedures were interfering with nor-mal business operations. Simply processing an orderwas a major undertaking, because a customer teamwould have to check which parts of the order werefrom the former Nokia portfolio and which were fromthe former Siemens portfolio, and then enter differentparts of the order into different systems.To address these challenges, the company launcheda Process & IT Consolidation program to standardizenumerous business processes and consolidate legacyERP systems onto one platform. More than 1,000people were assigned full-time to the program, work-ing in five areas: offering and configuration, salesorder management, supply end, demand supplyplanning and master data. The consolidation programwas planned in phases, with rollouts scheduled bygeographic region.
Signs of resistance
The complexity and risks of the consolidation programbecame clear in its initial months. For example, work-ing and conducting business in a merged organizationmeant dramatic changes for sales and customerteams—changes in processes, technology, productportfolios, and roles and responsibilities.The companies also had very different operating mod-els. Siemens’ COM division was primarily decentralized,while Nokia’s Network Business Group operated on amore centralized basis, with standardized processesand systems companywide. Cultural challenges existedas well: the two partners had incompatible back-grounds regarding customer service and differentattitudes toward formality and reporting hierarchies.About a year into the consolidation initiative, theglobal recession hit, making the situation even morestressful. Grander goals of supporting organizationalchange began to take a back seat to simply hitting
August 2011, No. 1
a strategyand communications consul-tant and the managing editorof
For more information,contact Paivi.Koskimaa@accenture.com.
Talent & Organization Performance
Driving successful change at Nokia SiemensNetworks
By Craig Mindrum