The ANWR Group, a Mainhausen-based group of economic providers and retailers within the footwear, sporting items, and leather-based items industries, has, till 2018, used the ERP system of its financial institution subsidiary DZB Financial institution, and consequently, banking sector laws for monetary accounting and controlling additionally utilized to the retail space of the corporate.
Over time, these laws turned extra restrictive, and the flexibleness wanted for the buying and selling trade was not obtainable. “We had already began separating the IT techniques a couple of years earlier to be able to higher put together each the financial institution and the buying and selling firms for the respective necessities,” recollects ANWR Group CIO Sven Kulikowsky. The ERP software program was the final shared system.
Collectively within the greenfield
ANWR adopts a cloud-first technique for brand spanking new IT tasks, and in 2018, the IT division tackled the migration to SAP S/4HANA along with the enterprise areas of economic accounting and controlling. There was already data of the options from the Walldorf-based software program firm for the reason that earlier core system was an on-premises SAP R/3 that was closely modified. So the brand new atmosphere actually needed to be based mostly on a greenfield strategy within the public cloud arrange by SAP.
“It was extraordinarily vital to get the departments on board from the beginning,” says Kulikowsky. Collectively they decided what the brand new resolution had to have the ability to do from the beginning. In joint workshops, blended groups from enterprise departments and the IT evaluated the capabilities and diploma of maturity of the cloud platform.
Agile with objective
In an effort to arrange the change, a steering committee was shaped as the very best management physique. Beneath, a mission board shaped as a management workforce from Kulikowsky and his counterparts in monetary accounting and controlling, which coordinated with the mission supervisor of the exterior companion Camelot ITLab for 2 hours every week. The workforce acquired enter from cross-functional working teams made up of employees and exterior consultants, who mentioned issues with particular processes. “We had been in a position to rapidly examine completely different opinions and make selections,” says Kulikowsky. Because of this, departments and IT have all the time pulled collectively.
He set a objective of migrating all techniques to the brand new atmosphere by the tip of 2021, and the 2021 annual monetary statements created with S/4HANA. Plus, the 2022 monetary 12 months was to begin with out the previous atmosphere, and to do that, Kulikowsky outlined 9 waves.
In these phases, the groups labored with agile strategies and versatile time schedules. ”With this mixture of milestones and sprints, the groups have a transparent objective in thoughts, whereas on the similar time we consider dangers that might have derailed a set schedule,” he says. Developments could typically take longer, however the principle factor is that every part matches in the long run.
The beginning sign was given in Q1 of 2020 and after 4 weeks, Covid-19 hit. ”As a result of uncertainty in retail and the numerous lockdowns and difficulties within the provide chains, we needed to cease the mission,” says Kulikowsky. Six months later, the mission workforce resumed work on the migration, but utterly remotely, which was a brand new expertise for everybody concerned. “However we coped properly,” he says. Beforehand, the workforce labored in a mission space within the workplace and exchanged concepts carefully, however this abruptly modified to distant working. “We used Microsoft Groups as a central software for data and file alternate, conferences, and appointments,” he says. “All colleagues had been simply accessible and will work very flexibly.”
Migration in 9 waves
After virtually 5 months, the primary pilot was applied on December 1, 2020, in six small firms that had no interfaces to HR or reserving techniques, and had small firm codes. The workers switched to the brand new system and received to understand it with the primary bookings.
The remaining eight waves had been unfold over 2021. As much as 4 firms had been transformed to the brand new system and on November 22, 2021, everybody had migrated to SAP S/4HANA. After some changes to interfaces, the mission was declared over on March 30, 2022. “Now it’s about ironing out workarounds, enhancing processes, and shutting gaps,” says Kulikowsky. The objective is to have as a lot standardization as doable.
Along with the issues brought on by Covid-19, Kulikowsky and his workforce overcame plenty of different challenges. In IT and different departments, the mission meant extra work in day-to-day enterprise. “If a vendor has an issue, it must be solved rapidly, no matter whether or not we’re at the moment migrating to SAP or not. We needed to consistently handle this double burden,” he says.
As well as, it was essential to persuade different division employees. “After 20 years within the previous system, some colleagues had difficulties getting used to the brand new interface and processes within the cloud,” he says. To this finish, the mission administration held weekly conferences with the enterprise items to debate the processes, questions, and issues.
On the levels when sure firms went dwell, the accountable accountants had been current at every of those conferences. They drew consideration to particular points or necessities and helped to develop options.
There was additionally a bug monitoring checklist that was edited twice every week. In it, the workforce collected questions, fears, worries, and feedback, addressed them and advised options.
Curler coaster SAP requirements
A significant concern of IT for the brand new panorama was standardizing as a lot as doable. “The enterprise areas ought to turn out to be much less depending on IT,” says Kulikowsky. There have been many particular capabilities within the previous system and particularly within the retail space. Right here, too, he used workshops with specialist departments to seek out out what necessities SAP normal software program was obtainable for.
Virtually 90% of the brand new ERP system now runs on normal software program. In some locations there have been difficulties with the options from SAP, in accordance with Kulikowsky.
Within the first take a look at runs and demonstrations by SAP and the implementation companion, it seemed as if the cloud modules would match all use circumstances. In day-to-day enterprise, nevertheless, Kulikowsky’s workforce observed that the software program was inflicting some issues. “We didn’t test the choice fastidiously sufficient so we solely observed in the course of the ongoing mission that elementary capabilities weren’t operating easily,” he says. Pay slips, for instance, couldn’t be built-in seamlessly.
A complete of round 35 inside and a dozen exterior staff participated within the mission with about 35 interfaces constructed between SAP and different techniques. ”The connection of the HR administration system HCM to S/4 is very a catastrophe,” he says. Commonplace integrations from the previous system are not obtainable within the new one, so crucial info isn’t transferred to the cloud, like payments with out an bill date, for instance, or if the SAP system didn’t replicate authorized necessities for monetary accounting within the processes.
“Some SAP options have had issues with their very own cloud interfaces,” says Kulikowsky. “In that case, it might have been simply as troublesome to attach a non-SAP resolution.” In distinction, the mixing of the gross sales and repair cloud C4C in HANA was simple. This means that SAP was not investing in HCM, though the product continues to be being utilized by many firms. Because of this, buyer satisfaction suffers.
Efficiency was additionally an issue. Exterior of the take a look at environments, the efficiency of some cloud apps usually dropped. ”Our workforce is now used to a consumer expertise like at residence and subsequently has greater calls for on the options within the workplace,” he says. If the efficiency collapses throughout operation, the company IT has little affect and depends on SAP.
Nonetheless, Kulikowsky sees the advantages of migration. For instance, cost transactions have turn out to be leaner. “We’ve automated the method of studying in an account assertion so colleagues not should kind it in,” he says. “That saves time.” All accountants now use a single system with out particular options, giving IT extra time to innovate and implement extra simply with out the previous banking system.
Kulikowsky additionally needs to enhance information high quality. The brand new processes mechanically consolidate the incoming info by way of interfaces however inaccuracies from the supply techniques are nonetheless transferred to the cloud ERP. Nevertheless, it’ll nonetheless be some time earlier than the complete extent of the enhancements is seen. ”The brand new processes could also be quicker, however the staff want time to familiarize themselves and to go away previous paths.”
Clear line and belief
For Kulikowsky, working carefully with the departments was essential to the success of the bold mission. “It wasn’t simply an IT or departmental mission, it was a collaborative effort,” he says. ”Everybody concerned knew the necessities and doable obstacles from the beginning.”
As well as, everybody had a transparent concept of the goal state and the mission priorities. “We had necessities from the enterprise items: paying and submitting payments, and the advance tax return needed to operate completely,” Kulikowsky says. The mission workforce was all the time in a position to obtain this.
He additionally insists on belief in his personal workforce. “The time strain must be maintained, but when a colleague is not sure whether or not we will truly go dwell with one thing, we take the danger and plan two extra weeks,” he says. For the subsequent main mission, he needs to speak extra and enhance the alternate of data. For the long run, he thinks a few hybrid mannequin: two to a few days within the workplace and the remainder in teleworking. “On one hand, we might have the required alternate. On the opposite, our colleagues might work from home in a concentrated and undisturbed method.”