Vodafone has grown to be the largest mobile communications company in the world, serving more than 400 million customers. To achieve this fast growth rate, we made a series of major acquisitions, but we wanted the operational and organizational efficiency of an integrated approach, so in 2006 we launched a program called EVO, short for evolution.
One of EVO’s key global processes is month-end closing. Because of the billions of rows of data and large number of people involved, month-end closing initially took seven business days, but we resolved to reduce it to a five-day process. We’d already eliminated one day from closing by using process improvements. Saving a second day required performing computations far more quickly. Closing requires several iterations of elaboration and replication: each was taking 2.5 hours, and we typically needed three or four of them.
With its ability to analyze massive amounts of data in local memory, SAP HANA cut data extract, processing, and load times from 2.5 hours down to 6 minutes, a reduction of 96 percent—and took that second day off our month-end closing time. We’re going to be saving €500,000 over the next four years in labor efficiency.
We also have less tangible benefits: Faster access to month-end closing data enhances the responsiveness and agility of the business. Data extract, processing, and load runs on SAP HANA are so fast that we can execute as many of them as we want to find out what we need to know. The general ledger is available for analysis in real time. Even counting the time it takes people to digest the results of an iteration and react to it, the process is 25 times faster, giving us flexibility we never had before. For all these reasons, I can tell this is going to be just the first of many SAP HANA applications for Vodafone.
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