At the end of 2005, Atlanta-based Oxford Industries was closing on its third major acquisition in as many years. Two-and-a-half years earlier, Oxford had acquired the Tommy Bahama brand in Seattle, and one year later, it had purchased London-based Ben Sherman. As Oxford's CIO, John Baumgartner has managed over the last three years to provide systems support to establish visibility into the day-to-day financial activities of the legacy company and the newly acquired operating companies, while at the same time minimizing any negative impacts on the profitability of the newly acquired companies through business process and system changes. As additional acquisitions are planned, however, balancing these two objectives is becoming more and more difficult. The degree to which the acquired organizations should function independently or be brought under one corporate information system is becoming an increasingly pressing issue.
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