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It is hard to imagine a technology that has changed the modern world more than the smartphone. Every day, millions of us use a single device to talk with friends, take videos, share photos, check email, get driving directions, or go shopping.

It’s been a global revolution.

As one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, Vodafone Group connects more than 300 million people throughout Europe, Africa, and around the planet. And company leaders fully believe that tomorrow’s communications services will continue to transform our lives in powerful ways.

Vodafone is already preparing for this future by making significant changes – and they are starting from within.

Looking for Global Consistency

“Vodafone has been growing in recent years to strengthen its portfolio of services and expand into new geographies,” says Ignacio Garcia, CIO of Corporate Information Systems at Vodafone Group.

But as Garcia explains, much of this growth has been through acquisitions which has resulted in various system landscapes and often inconsistent business practices throughout the group of companies.

“We needed to operate as a single global organization and drive further innovation across the entire business,” Garcia adds. “To do that, we needed to run our company with a consistent, digital-first focus.”

This realization led to big changes at Vodafone.

The company migrated its complex and disparate ERP environment to a single digital core based on SAP S/4HANA.

“And we built on this solid foundation with SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Ariba, and SAP Concur solutions,” adds Holger Grewe, Head of Corporate Transformation at Vodafone Group.

Grewe – who has played a key leadership role in this project – points out that Vodafone benefited from some strong partnerships along the way. This included support from implementation partner Accenture, SAP Services and Support, and customer success experts from SAP.

“This was a massive transformation covering more than twenty countries,” reports Grewe. “And SAP was by our side throughout the journey supporting us with a Customer First approach.”

Driving Needed Change

The impact of the project on Vodafone’s operations has been huge.

“We now have one data model that is standard across the footprint,” Grewe says. And Vodafone is simplifying the workplace for its more than 100,000 employees by digitizing business areas such as HR, travel and expense, and supply chain. (Check out these videos on Vodafone’s experience with SAP Success Factors, SAP Ariba, SAP Concur, and SAP MaxAttention.)

Garcia estimates that Vodafone has standardized more than 80% of its core business processes and boosted automation levels to over 60%.

“And it’s not the endgame,” remarks a smiling Garcia. “This is just the beginning.

In addition, Garcia notes that new capabilities like machine learning and advanced analytics will help Vodafone develop the next generation of products and services.

Building a Digital Future

Innovation will be crucial as Vodafone looks ahead to achieve specific goals for improving people’s lives.

By 2025, for example, the company wants to:

  • Connect over 50 million people and their families to mobile money services

  • Bring mobile to an additional 20 million women in Africa and Turkey

  • Support 10 million young people in learning the digital skills needed to thrive in the digital economy

  • Connect 150 million vehicles to IoT

Vodafone is confident that today’s transformation will enable the company to build a digital future that works for everyone.

“These changes are helping Vodafone work as one company,” Grewe says. “So, people around the world will stay better connected.”

Be sure to watch this video to hear more from Ignacio Garcia and Holger Grewe about the changes at Vodafone Group.