S/4HANA@European Schools: How a classic SAP ERP profits from SAP HANA & SAP Simple Finance in Public Sector
Fact Sheet of the solution
- S/4HANA system with functional scope
- Funds Managament
- Finance (incl. Banking, Controling, Asset Management)
- Human Resources
- Material Management
- Sales & Distribution (Billing)
- UI-Technology: NetWeaver Business Client 5 in combination with Screen Personas 3
- System deployed in SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC)
- System supported by SAP Application Managment Service (AMS)
- as first S/4HANA customer European Schools applied for the SAP HANA Innovation Award: S/4HANA@European Schools: How SAP Simple Finance helps to consolidate and innovate Financial Process
About the project challenge
The new system should cover the functional areas of Funds Management, Finance (incl. Banking, Controling, Asset Management), Human Resources, Material Management and Billing (SD) So far so good, but the requirements …
- stay as close a s possible to the Best Practice approach in a highly regulated environment
- please use Rapid-Deployment Solutions (RDS) so we do not reinvent the wheel
- keep operational costs and additional IT-staff as low as possible
- unify the administrative processes of the 15 entities (Company Codes), which all developed individual work methods – with some more than 60 years at
The overall approach followed the widely known ASAP 8 For Assemble-To-Order Project.
1st Challenge: New-SAP-Customer vs. SAP-world
The first challenge to tackle after project start was to bridge the gap between an unexperienced net-new SAP-customer and the SAP-world as such. Otherwise Fit-Gap-Workshops, which map Best-Practice-Processes to customer needs would fail. This is typically an predetermined breaking point since SAP experts struggle to explain a newbee-customer how SAP works and how to come up with a specification on what needs to be implemented.
SAP ValuePrototyping provided the foundation for the solution which delivered a system with Best-Practice-Processes and all the required seven country templates within days. Since the customer context required the Industry Solution of Public Sector, some additional basic configuration was needed. Consultants and future SAP-Users could logon to a real system, explain how SAP works in general and eventually discuss the best practice processes in detail. Check Box!
After the Fit-Gap workshops were completed, the system was transferred into the productive SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud environment.
2nd Challenge: Changing everything at once in a settled organization
So let’s build a new system for the customer based on European School’s historically grown processes! Or in other words: take the IT-solution which they have and rebuild it piece-by-piece. NEVER EVER! Although the pain throughout the organization was predictable, the customer has decided for the one and only way to go: leave the past behind and leverage the opportunities of a new start. But this comes at high stakes. The organization would not only have to digest the use of a new system but also:
- new unified processes
- a new unified role model
- new un cluttered budget structures (funds)
- unified Chart of Accounts
Needless to say, without a thorough organizational change management and strong stakeholder support, the project would have failed early on because of internal resistance.
3rd Challenge: SAP should not cause to rebuild the IT
For many reasons, it wasn’t an option to change the entire IT-infrastructure and the staffing on customer side.So, introducing the ERP system should come with as little as possible impact on the customer organization. This requirement had been addressed with SAP services HANA Enterprise Cloud
(HEC) and Application Management Service (AMS), taking up the 3rd level support during operation.
How SAP HANA helped to achieve the objectives
Overall the requirements sound rather classic, so why choose SAP HANA?. For several reasons:
- Performance: With 15 entities in one system, data volume grows rather quickly and performance might decrease without additional enforecement of the infrastructure
- Reporting: With new HANA-based transactions for line-item-reporting (FBL1H, FBL3H, FBL5H & FAGLL03H)
- No new legacy: When starting from scratch like we did at European Schools, it makes sense to intriduce Hana right away. Otherwise the customer does not profit from new functionalityand risks to start building a system, which becomes legacy as of Go-Live
How SAP Simple Finance solution helps to achieve future objectives, to innovate and lower costs
While the SAP Simple Finance solution matured during the project life cycle, the project team started to investigate, whether it makes sense or not to propose its deployment to the customer. Here the identified benefits for the customer context:
- smaller data footprint
- leveraging advantages of HANA-technology
- using simplified amortisation rules
- migrating an empty system easier than data-heavy system later on
- usage of new reporting incl. enabling FIORI
There appeared to be a window of opportunity. While balancing the moderate investment with the mentioned benefits the decision became quite obvious.
What else to mention?
European Schools decided for a state-of-the-art User Interface and uses NetWeaver Business Client 5 (NWBC). This way also HTML5-based screens are also accessible without changing the UI. Further screens were drastically simplified with Screen Personas 3, mainly by hiding fields and options which are not used. For the training material Workforce Performance Builder (WPB) was leveraged to create and organize user guides.
European Schools are official educational establishments controlled jointly by the governments of the Member States of the European Union. In all these countries they are legally regarded as public institutions.
Since 1953, European Schools have provided broad, high-quality education from nursery school through university, keeping pupils connected to their native language in a truly multilingual and multicultural environment.
There are 14 European Schools in seven EU-countries with roughly 25,000 students and more than 4000 members of staff. To ensure that operations are aligned, the organization needed to replace a custom IT system which was more than 20 years old