Vodafone’s SAP estate, centered on an S/4 Hana business useful resource scheduling (ERP) technique, has turn into a keystone of the telecoms company’s transformation into a good enterprise, according to two of its corporate enterprise technological innovation leaders.

Holger Grewe, team head of company transformation, and Ignacio Garcia, CIO of company devices, at Vodafone, depict the telecommunications supplier’s romantic relationship with SAP as strategic in character, not just a supplier-purchaser 1.

Operating with SAP and Accenture, Vodafone has proven a solitary digital core dependent on the ERP system SAP S/4 Hana in a manner that may have leapt off a meeting slide deck. The implementation’s goal was to boost operational efficiency in organization capabilities these as finance, offer chain and IT, and it was carried out in a huge-bang roll-out across 26 international locations, for 130 in addition lawful entities.

The program go-reside was at the conclude of November 2019. The challenge took 18 months, moving Vodafone’s solitary-instance SAP Enterprise Core Parts (ECC) program to become one particular of the 5 premier SAP S/4 Hana situations around the world, with the major range of preset assets in any one-occasion SAP method globally. 

The challenge also incorporated world-wide roll-outs of SAP’s peripheral software program-as-a-support products Concur, SuccessFactors and Ariba.

Grewe’s remit at Vodafone includes data governance throughout all functions and all locations, as effectively as setting up and running SAP S/4 Hana for finance, supply chain and human sources (HR), SAP Concur journey reserving and bills, and logistics with improved warehouse management. He also has a concentration on mergers and acquisitions integration and separation at a enterprise that has a advanced background of fusions and splits.

The digital transformation of the guidance features, making use of SAP technological innovation, at Vodafone started off back again in 2007, says Grewe. Listed here, “support functions” indicates HR, provide chain and finance.

Vodafone builds smart enterprise on SAP S/4 Hana

“What is distinctive at Vodafone is that we have been able to have a core of regular procedures throughout all our companies”

Holger Grewe, Vodafone

“We appeared at it from the viewpoint that Vodafone acquires, integrates and also divests providers,” he says. “In the heyday of our mergers and acquisitions, we included a good deal of providers that experienced developed on their personal and established their individual processes, devices and so on in the track record. The essential to the transformational agenda at that time was to get Vodafone operating in the very same way, where ever we have been working.”

Vodafone is a lengthy-standing SAP shopper, but that is not so particular, claims Grewe. “What is specific at Vodafone is that we were in a position to have a main of normal processes across all our providers. There are other individuals with heaps of distinct SAP units, but they operate incredibly unique procedures in just about every of these devices, whilst our focus on was really for the processes that we chosen, that we arrived at a standardised model,” he says.

And now, with the implementation of S/4 Hana, the enterprise has been brought to a new degree, he states.

“The 1st phase was really rather cumbersome, since heading from marketplace to current market to do this requires fairly some time. The very first step took us four to 5 several years. The S/4 stage is about optimising the procedures and also optimising the user encounter,” says Grewe.

“It is also reasonable to say in the outdated [SAP] ECC entire world, we experienced this just one, solitary-occasion process, and it was pretty complicated to get the information out of the method and do the suitable evaluation. With S/4 now, we are actually capable to get the facts and perception out significantly easier.”

The data windfall from Hana

Ignacio Garcia, as CIO, backs his colleague up on this stage about higher insight staying discoverable from S/4 than from ECC.

“We didn’t have the computing electric power prior to. In our business enterprise, we have hundreds of 1000’s of towers, and each and every tower has 1000’s of components. The data from all of those people property was too big to be analysed just before. Now, with Hana, we can have examination and do predictive on that kind of knowledge,” he states.

“That is 1 illustration of the profit, but there are additional. There is also the integration with external data sources and IoT [internet of things] knowledge. Formerly, that was challenging and not real time, and now we are attaining that. And that is opening our program up to a seriously comprehensive digital working experience.”

The S/4 implementation is on-premise. “At some level, we will go to the cloud,” says Garcia. “We are now obtaining the gain of a commoditisation of the [in-house] datacentre path. Now, things are moving, the know-how is evolving, the major providers are now having licensed and in the measurements that we have, and sooner or later we will shift to the cloud.”

Vodafone builds smart enterprise on SAP S/4 Hana

“We have managed to optimise our personal operations and be significantly far more successful. We have killed all the legacy and the more complexity that we experienced in the landscape”

Ignacio Garcia, Vodafone

In the meantime, even so, “SAP also has two hearts”, cautions Grewe.

“One is the shift to software package as a assistance, and the 2nd is that there are incredibly big customers on-premise, specially on the S/4 side, simply because SaaS will hardly ever cater for all the needs of a large corporate organisation. They require to make a compromise on speed of enhancement for these two pathways that they however need to assist,” he claims.

“And for us, of course, as just one of the major S/4 Hana installations in the environment, we want to make positive that the on-premise side gets the necessary attention when it arrives to integration and out of the box abilities.”

His colleague Garcia states the implementation has radically simplified Vodafone’s enterprise software package landscape. “We have managed to optimise our possess operations and be significantly extra successful. We have killed all the legacy and the extra complexity that we experienced in the landscape. So, I would say indeed, the energy of Hana is basic, not just for computing but similarly for integration.

“Our procedure integrates with all the area markets. We have a lot more than 1,000 interfaces with unique units. We have facts flowing across the enterprise. And this is at the heart of our finance function and everything. But that simplicity and integration is also essential mainly because the integrity of the info and the point there is no breaking down is what enables us to be extra digital.”

Garcia concludes, invoking a Monthly bill Gates trope from the 1990s, that the “enterprise of the upcoming must be like the human physique, finding details from the senses, processing tremendous-swiftly in the mind, and sending an instruction quickly to the body”.

“That is what we are seeking to do, doing away with bottlenecks the place you have manual processing,” he says. “That is the analogy for us, the place information and facts just flows. It is not a new idea, but now we have the computing electrical power to realise it. We will destroy manual processes everywhere you go.”


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