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KatharinaR
Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

In a recent customer panel at the SAPPHIRE event in Barcelona, we had the opportunity to speak with two participants, María José González from Grupo IskayPet, and Marco Kramer from RWE AG, about their experience with implementing SAP S/4HANA enterprise financial software. Their insights shed light on the driving factors, guiding principles, challenges, surprises, outcomes, and advice they gained throughout the project. This blog post aims to summarize their valuable perspectives and provide a glimpse into their remarkable journeys.




  • What were the drivers for the change?


María José, representing IskayPet, shared that the merger of two companies prompted the need to unify onto a single ERP system. The goal was to standardize processes, increase efficiency, and streamline operations. Previously, Microsoft Navision and SAP BusinessOne were being used, but the decision was made to transition to the SAP S/4HANA solution for improved integration and scalability.




  • What guiding principles did you adopt?


María José emphasizes that the team at IskayPet adopted the principle of a Minimal Viable Product, aiming to achieve a fast implementation while focusing on the foundation and continuous improvement. The SAP Fiori user interface was selected to provide users with a delightful experience. Additionally, they set ambitious targets, aiming for a solid foundation that could support future changes and meet customer demands for an online shop and enhanced customer experience.


On the other hand, Marco from RWE reveals that they adopted the principle of keeping to standard processes without modifications to ensure seamless future upgrades and easy consumption of continuous innovation from SAP.




  • What excites you? What have you seen?


Marco from RWE highlighted the excitement around their "TranS/4mer" journey, involving a comprehensive transformation that necessitated significant change. In their case, the integration of the E.ON Climate & Renewals unit and RWE AG. Each company had their own SAP ECC ERP system, but each was completely different. The decision was made to implement a ‘greenfield’ S/4HANA making use of the standard delivered functionality. This transition brought about substantial differences in processes, such as Chart of Accounts and timelines for closing. The project fostered collaboration among individuals from different areas, enabling the creation of common processes and ways of working.




  • What challenges arose and how did you address them?


María José from IskayPet reveals that one of the major challenges they faced was the lack of skills in S/4HANA among the team members. Quick learning was required on the project, and ongoing challenges arose from dealing with different systems and the need to adapt and manage change effectively. They addressed this by implementing change management strategies, and by investing in thorough training, before each go-live and empowering trainers to educate their respective teams, including C-level executives.




  • What surprises did you face?


Marco shared an unexpected twist—the realization that a project of such magnitude could be achieved without face-to-face interactions. Despite travel restrictions due to COVID-19, the teams adapted and collaborated effectively across ten countries during the first phase. This revelation showcased the resilience and adaptability of the project team.




  • What advice would you share?


Marco from RWE suggested trusting the ‘greenfield’ approach, leaving behind the limitations of the historic ECC ERP system. He encouraged multinational companies to consider greenfield implementations, highlighting that technical upgrades alone may not yield transformative results.




  • What would you do differently?


María José from IskayPet shares her insights and suggests allocating more time between project phases to allow for better stabilisation of the implemented changes. Shorter timeframes between phases can seem rushed and lead to challenges. She stressed the importance of allowing time, perhaps a few months, for ‘settling down’ before moving forward and progressing to the next phase.




  • Where are you going next?


Looking ahead, both participants have exciting plans for the future. María José from IskayPet outlines their next steps, including point-of-sale system integration, adding e-commerce business processes, and integrating a second warehouse with their logistics service provider. On the other hand, Marco from RWE aims to continue rolling out S/4HANA to next-generation business sectors as well as in their trading business.


Conclusion:


This customer panel provided valuable insights into successful SAP S/4HANA enterprise financial software implementations. Key project leaders from Grupo IskayPet and RWE AG shared their experiences, ranging from the drivers for change to the transformative outcomes and lessons learned. Their dedication, collaboration, and adaptability were instrumental in navigating challenges and achieving significant milestones. By adopting guiding principles and focusing on user benefits, these organizations successfully transformed their financial systems, unlocking efficiency, data integration, and improved services.


 

Their stories may inspire others venturing into similar projects; emphasizing the importance of a clear vision, adaptable strategies, and a strong commitment to change and growth. We look forward to sharing more SAPPHIRE stories with the SAP community in the future!