Digital Transformation Center: Migration to S/4 on a monthly basis
On average, one go-live of migration to S/4 per month. Merge and carve-out transformations, data harmonizations, conversions of chart of accounts and more. Over 150 completed projects. Dozens of consultants specialized in such projects. Welcome to the Digital Transformation Center – a dedicated All for One Poland department that supports complex SAP migration projects for global corporations.
The dominant theme of the decade among SAP users is certainly the migration to SAP S/4HANA. The end of support for the SAP ECC version in 2027 is a cut-off date. For more than 40,000 companies that simply have to make the change – as long as they want to keep a smoothly running transaction system – this project can prove to be quite a challenge. Not because of its level of difficulty – consulting firms have already gathered a lot of experience in this area, good practices have been developed, and tools are available to automate and support the project at every stage. The risk associated with the conversion is lower than when the S/4 was launched on the market.
The problem may be an access to competences, as the number of companies ready to start a project is rapidly growing unlike the number of SAP module consultants and IT/SAP specialists.
Migrations to S/4 are just the tip of the iceberg. Business and technology transformation projects are a constant element in the life cycle of companies. Merging companies and their systems, carving out a system from a corporate template for a selected company prior to its sale, consolidations, standardizing a chart of accounts, creating a shared service center for a corporate group and data harmonization, and in recent years, migrations to cloud services. Each of these undertakings is fraught with risk, takes a long time, disorganizes day-to-day work to some degree, and requires shutting down the system, often for the amount of time unacceptable for business.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. The ability to efficiently and quickly react to changes in the competitive business landscape is a key competence in today’s global economy – a premise on which our strategy is based in the approach to projects of transforming enterprises using SAP systems. Our goal is to implement such projects much faster, with minimal involvement of the customer’s employees and near zero downtime.
Nothing will surprise us
After four years of the Digital Transformation Center operation and completing projects on our own and in cooperation with partners, our experience is really extensive. Consultants are simultaneously involved in an average of five projects of different scales, in simple and very complex system environments.
Depending on the customer’s situation and business conditions, we perform S/4 implementations “from scratch", in the greenfield model, we carry out typical technical migrations, i.e. brownfield projects, and we also use Bluefield, a unique approach using the CrystalBridge platform, which allows us to quickly launch S/4HANA with historical data selection and merging several sub-projects in one go-live.
Migrations to S/4, carve-outs, mergers, harmonizations… When it comes to SAP transformation projects – nothing seems to surprise us anymore.
Krzysztof Siwiec, Director of the Digital Transformation Center
Digital Transformation Center
The Digital Transformation Center at All for One Poland (formerly SNP Poland) was established in 2018 as a response to the growing demand for consultants specializing in transformation projects in SAP systems. It is a competence center that brings together mainly SAP module consultants, often with prior business experience and as key users of the systems in large companies, as well as SAP integration and technology specialists and developers, including ABAP experts. It has now grown to more than 50 people, divided into several teams.
Unlike the consulting department, where teams group specialists in specific business areas and system modules, DTC consultants are divided into teams assigned to the locations of our offices:
Poznań (two teams), Warsaw, Cracow and Gdańsk. The department is growing rapidly – the Tricity team has been operating for a short time, and in the spring of this year we opened a new office in Gdańsk mainly for that team. Anyway, recruitment for DTC is open all the time.
High competence and many years of experience are confirmed by numerous SAP certificates. All for One Poland’s consultants (from DTC and other departments of the company) have several hundred certificates confirming their expertise in SAP S/4HANA.
As Krzysztof Siwiec, Director of DTC, emphasizes: “Our consultants participate in a few dozen projects simultaneously, working both for the Polish company All for One Poland, for the All for One group, and for the SNP group. They implement international projects often in multinational teams. As a result of completing tasks of varying complexity, for different clients in different industries, their competence is comprehensive and the experience they accumulate is diverse.”
Plans for this year include the implementation of about 100 projects, the majority of which (ca. 85%) are migrations to S/4 in international groups. For the All for One Group, we are implementing a program of migration to S/4 HANA, with at least one go-live each month.
The All for One Data Transformation Center is the only competence center of its kind in the All for One Group. However, our potential in implementing transformation projects is not only DTC. The Consulting Department, supported by SAP technology specialists, is an important part of transformation projects and carries out migrations in Greenfield, Brownfield and Bluefield models.
Partners and customers
Initially, DTC’s main tasks focused on carrying out work for SNP Group clients, using the CrystalBridge, data transformation platform. Currently, after ownership changes, our key partner is All for One – the largest SAP partner in the German-speaking area, with a base of more than 2,500 customers, a significant number of whom are planning or already implementing migrations to S/4. We also serve customers acquired directly by All for One Poland.
We work for a variety of business partners: most are German companies, however there are also global corporate groups. Projects are carried out for companies in various countries in Europe as well as in Asia and both Americas. One of the largest projects in which DTC consultants participated involved more than 30 countries.
The vast majority of the work is carried out remotely, making it possible to carry out tasks for multiple units in parallel. This significantly speeds up the whole process and allows it to be better organized and controlled. The customer does not incur additional costs related to logistics, and consultants do not waste time traveling.
Work virtualization is a dominant trend in IT projects for customers. The share of remote work started to increase earlier, but the last two years have definitively confirmed that projects implemented in this model are an effective response to the increasing volatility of the business and the pressure of decision makers to deliver effective solutions faster and faster. Together with the use of supporting work automation tools, this model is working very well and allows us to successfully deliver more projects than with the traditional approach.
Migrations to S/4 and more
Over the next few years, migrations to S/4 will make up the majority of DTC projects. Let’s list some of the most interesting projects completed with participation of DTC consultants. We were involved in a migration to S/4 with simultaneous implementation of initial optimization projects in a business planning environment and the Internet of Things for one of the largest international suppliers for the automotive industry in the field of steel forging and further processing.
For a global leader producing soil, asphalt and trash compaction equipment, as well as stabilizers and recyclers, we carried out a project in which, in addition to migration to S/4, a new optimized global financial reporting model was implemented in all branches worldwide.
Another project – for a manufacturer of refractory materials for the construction industry – was a classic migration for several companies, which additionally included the reorganization of organizational structures and corresponding processes.
In addition to migrations to S/4, the most common types of projects are carve-outs, i.e. system separations for selected business units, as well as system mergers and harmonizations. The most interesting projects of this type include harmonizations, in which data is changed in the SAP system to meet business requirements that change over time. This applies to both master data and transactional data. We can also change the history in the SAP system!
DTC in numbers
· 1 productive start up to S / 4 per month
· Over 50 SAP consultants
· 5 teams
· Over 150 completed SAP transformation projects
· More than 30 countries covered the largest DTC project
· Consultants work simultaneously on an average of 5 projects
It is said that the biggest risk associated with SAP projects today is a limited access to competences, which simply means a shortage of consultants in the market. That’s why our approach to transformation places great emphasis on the use of tools that support and automate the various stages of the project, including data cleansing and migration. Such tools include SAP Landscape Transformation and the CrystalBridge platform.
The CrystalBridge data transformation platform, produced by SNP – a global leader in SAP transformation solutions, is a rich portfolio of transformation tools that automate multiple project stages according to various scenarios, such as migration to SAP S/4HANA, business unit merge, system architecture upgrade, harmonization (e.g. of a chart of accounts, master data when converting to a business partner, to a new general ledger), move (switching to, e.g., another database or operating system, migration to the cloud), business unit carve-out, test data management, as well as assessment and interface management.
Using these tools, we execute projects quickly and safely, maintaining control over their progress at every stage.
Automation allows us to minimize manual workload, for example, in the analysis phase of the project scope, when checking data consistency or conducting application-level tests. System downtime time is dramatically reduced (near-zero downtime). It is also possible – and safe – to run several projects in parallel, ending with a joint go-live.