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//This blog was previously published on medium, on June 5th 2019. Moving it to its permanent home here at SAP Community//


SUGRail — is an acronym that stands for SAP’s user group for the Rail Industry.

The objective of the SUGRail community is to support the Railway industry through:

Networking: Sharing of experiences

Learning: Product and solutions knowledge exchange

The future: Influencing SAP on the future of industry relevant software

Over the last 5 years, the community has matured, especially in terms of the quality of exchange, from the humble beginnings in 2015 in Vienna hosted by Austrian Railways to last week’s congress in Copenhagen hosted by Danish Railways.

SUGRail Events, Past, Present and Future

SUGRail05 — Copenhagen

The Copenhagen event attracted ~70 participants from 17 Rail companies across Europe.

Attendees of the 5th SUGRail in Copenhagen



The CIO of DSB, kicked off the congress with a session on digitization strategy at Danish Railway. A ‘Market Oriented DSB’: short, medium and long term strategy was laid out through massive digitization to bring about the desired outcomes for DSB.

SAP’s innovation evangelist, Tom Raftery followed with a keynote on innovations and the blending of industries and trends affecting several sectors — including utilities, energy, automotive, aviation — and a thought provoking If this is happening in other industries — what should we think for the Railways?? message.

Successively over two days, several sessions were shared. Below the highlights as brief summaries:

The S/4HANA Sessions:

S/4 is a major topic for Railways. Here, value driven approach (how to build a business case and subsequent road map), and a catalog of tools and methodologies on how to get there, were first discussed in presentations from SAP.

Deloitte shared a perspective of where and how S/4 fits into an overall organizational transformation in an enterprise and provided a ‘Journey Planning’ approach to achieve this.

The why, the when and the how from railways on S/4:

On the first day of the congress, ProRail (Rail Infrastructure Provider of the Netherlands), Latvian Railways, Swiss Railways and DB Systel shared their current stages and plans for the future on S/4HANA. JSC Freight One (Russia’s largest rail transport operator) and Banedenmark (Rail Infrastructure Provider of Denmark) did the same on the second day. Great sessions with ample back and forth discussions and Q&A on strategies.

Data and Analytics Sessions:

Thomas Madsen of SAP presented SAP Data Hub, SAP HANA Data Services, and the overall portfolio of SAP’s Data and Analytics products.

Several Railways presented use cases that they have achieved as bellow:

STIB/MIVB on self service BI dubbed ‘SAP Analytics Hub’;

Swiss Railways: Train Station Cockpit, being able to gain insights on your rail stations through data and explore these to make logical next steps;

Danish Railways: budgeting and planning use case that they are focusing on using SAP’s Analytics Cloud Product;

DB Systel: cross-analytics use case that leverages advanced algorithms on relevant data sets in the realm of linear asset management; and last but not least,

Swiss Railways: leverage data hub in having a clean and relevant data set in managing supplier data in supply chain management areas.

Asset Management Sessions:

Hanne Shultz Andersen of SAP presented SAP’s Intelligent Asset Management approach, followed by several deep-dive sessions in the areas of asset management:

Swiss Railways: on when and how a wheel set should be re-profiled using predictive and forecasting capabilities, creating a pro-active approach to wheel-sets maintenance;

Banedanmark on Asset Management as part of SAP Overall. They shared their current focus areas as well as plans that they intend to pursue subsequently to reach their desired outcomes in the S/4 world;

DB Systel: material forecasting, a very critical topic where cost management comes into play in warehousing, long term maintenance areas and for types of material that require long delivery times. They leveraged HANA and PAL for their use case.

Danish Railways: on co-innovation with SAP in the areas of SAP Asset Manager, a Native iOS App built with SCP iOS Sdk.

Innovations Sessions:

SAP’s Ryad Semichi presented The SAP Cloud Platform, both as a core platform to make the end to end solutions from SAP work seamlessly, as well as a critical tool to align to a business platform on four Major domain areas. The Build and Extend capability of the platform used to enable innovations; and the Experience and Integrate areas focusing on the end to end solutions.

Several railways presented their individual approaches to innovation and their organizational approaches:

DB: Intrapreneurship and Innovation Ecosystems in Corporations. A practical how-to on the path that DB took in a very structured manner from Incubation > Acceleration > Scaling, With several examples along each path.

Latvian Railways: hands-on examples of innovations and how they went about realizing them. Also raised were the challenges in embedding into organizations as a whole the idea of innovations and how to get the best out of existing resources.

STIB/MIVB: the Living Lab concept, where a pilot project is in the drawing tables to manage the mobility flow in a central location in Brussels and the interactions of the ecosystem within. With this understanding, to decipher innovate ways to manage mobility in the future, not only at the pilot location level — but across Brussels as a whole.

Danish Rail Digital Labs: Tieing back to the concept of ‘Market Oriented DSB’, the Digital Labs presented the structure and long term goals, with specific examples of some of the use cases that they pursued, e.g. Revenue management. Ultimate goal to bring DSB to full market oriented business and free from subsidies by 2030.

SAP and the Hyperscalers Sessions:

Ryad Semichi of SAP presented the working models that SAP has with all hyperscalers — a Multicloud approach.

Deloitte shared practical guidelines and things that one should consider on the journey to cloud.

With this backdrop, we had railways presenting as follows:

FLOW consortium: on the implementation of S/4HANA at Riyadh METRO in a private cloud option, hosted through SAP’s offering of converged cloud;

Nordcom: on implementation of S/4HANA on Google’s Cloud platform at FNM — Ferrovie Nord Milano;

DB: ‘DB’s way into the cloud’, leveraging two hyperscalers, Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure, for SAP and other enterprise workloads.

In all, lively and content rich sessions !!

The promise of these exchanges and conference is to be used as an input for yet another round of incremental innovations and upward trajectory in improvements by leveraging the experience, learning and new knowledge acquired. This is the ultimate goal of this user group!

A big thank goes to DSB-Danish Railways who hosted us, and Deloitte who sponsored us for this SUGRail.