Ignite SAP is delighted to share with our community our fifth transcript from the SAP Sapphire Now 2021 event. This program of interviews, taken from the finance content track from Sapphire Now is full of fascinating insights into SAP and their partners’ philosophies of modern finance.
The presentation began with a detailed discussion with SAP CFO Luka Mucic on the changing role of finance teams as we emerge from the pandemic, and how SAP sees its strategy in finance products developing over the following months.
This section is followed by a variety of interviews with SAP customers and partners including; Turkcell, Sanofi, Deutscher Bahn, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and EY.
We hope this transcript will provide a useful and detailed resource for the benefit of members of our community who were unable to watch the event unfold live.
More coverage from Sapphire Now 2021:
- SAP Sapphire Now 2021: Transform Finance and Risk with a Unified Platform in the Cloud
- SAP Sapphire Now 2021: Building A Resilient And Sustainable Supply Chain
- Sapphire Now 2021 Keynote Presentation – “The Enterprise In An Age Of Networks”
- SAP Sapphire Now 2021 IT Track: Drive Toward The Intelligent Enterprise (Transcript Of Broadcast)
SAP Sapphire Now 2021 – Modern Finance Discussion
Welcome, everyone to the Sapphire Now studio for Finance. My name is Melissa Chan, and I’ll be your host for this show today.
As we slowly emerged from this unforeseen global crisis, businesses have an opportunity to reshape the way they work and get even closer to their customers’ needs. Everything is getting more connected, more digital, and more personalised. Businesses that will thrive are the ones harnessing this amazing opportunity.
After an unprecedented year, it is time to think about the way forward and what that should look like.
Here’s what we have in store for you during this next hour. First, we kick it off with an interview of SAP Executive Board member and CFO Luka Mucic. Then we’ll hear from a few extraordinary SAP customers like Turkcell, Sanofi and Deutscher Bahn about their finance journey together with SAP executives who will give us regional insights and trends.
Among other topics, we will hear about financial transformation, access control and how to adopt new services-based business models. Throughout the show, we’ll hear from SAP Platinum partners, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and EY and the great value they have to offer. Don’t forget to visit our partner showcase at SapphireNow.com and keep your eyes open for some special announcements.
We’ve tailored this show for you and we want you to participate. You can do that through the live chat and social media. Our social media while host Claire Richardson will tell you more.[Claire Richardson introduces the interactive social media aspect of the program]
Thanks so much, Claire. So let’s get started and hear from SAP Executive Board member and SAP CFO Luca Mucic how finance leaders are empowered to run their organisations in a strategic way with the help of new technologies with Luca is Nicola Leske.
Over to you, Nicola.
Hello, and welcome to the SAPPHIRE NOW studio for finance. I’m here with Luka Mucic, member of the Executive Board of SAP and our outstanding Chief Financial Officer.
Welcome Luca, Sapphire Now, last year, a lot has happened since then, as you know, as we all know, tell me a little bit about what does this mean for CFOs? What are you doing? And what are you doing differently?
Yeah, thank you very much, Nicola. And hello, everybody. Welcome to Sapphire Now, we’re really very glad to have you with us. Now, back to your question.
I mean, there is no doubt that over the past year, really all companies have truly come to understand the need to adapt and respond to an ever changing environment. We have clearly witnessed the world that has become more volatile and uncertain than ever. No matter what industry, you’re talking about the ones that were more or less affected by the pandemic alike, the pharmaceutical or the automotive sector, I think all companies have come to recognise that they need to become more agile and resilient and ultimately also more sustainable.
And many of them actually needed to completely rethink and transform their entire business models to stay ahead. Now that all sounds perhaps like a risk and a challenge. But I’m convinced that there are also great opportunities connected with that changed environment. And actually, a recent BCG study confirms what we are also observing in our daily interactions with customers. 80% of companies across all sectors actually are convinced that they plan to move faster in their digital transformation.
And that is, I think, a great opportunity for companies to become even more relevant to their customers, which as a result will then also help to future-proof their business. Now that requires CFOs and finance functions, [to get] back to your question, to really step up.
We need to see ourselves as transformation agents for the entire company. Why is that? Well, because it cannot work without finance. Finance is at the centre of many decisions within companies, obviously also an essential part of their end-to-end business processes. And so digital transformation initiatives often start with finance then they always have to include finance. We have the data and we have a critical responsibility to prepare and predict for future business realities: to plan accordingly and then also to ensure we are ready to support our customers with the right tools in place.
Finance organisations have really to be very nimble here in order to enable those new services-based business models which are oftentimes high-volume and lower value per transaction.
I think another trend is that there has been an increased focus for finance organisations to drive stability in times of this higher volatility. So the basis of all of our operations, the fundamentals have become even more important to companies like for example, treasury, which has really been essential to optimising working capital and ensuring liquidity, and enough cash to keep the businesses afloat: in particular in the early phases of the pandemic.
And obviously, also due to the current unpredictability CFOs need to have a solid enterprise wide planning process in place in order to model and predict future business outcomes more holistically. And that obviously then helps to identify business gaps ahead of time and then follow up with smart planning, more and more increasingly also based on future-oriented technologies like artificial intelligence, or predictive analytics.
To sum it up in a nutshell, I think this crisis has clearly provided an ample opportunity for CFOs to step up both in their strategic roles, but also in their operational roles around liquidity, safeguarding, and obviously, safeguarding business continuity, and compliance. And I must say that, from my many conversations with CFOs, I think many of us have really stepped up significantly. And I think we were able to raise the profile of finance organisations during those difficult times. I think companies across all industries really critically depend on a very forward thinking and agile finance function, and many of us have been able to prove it.
Well CFO as transformation agent, I love that. But let’s be a little more specific and talk about your role. And what have you done at SAP in light of these changing conditions?
That’s an important question. And I mean, as you know, I like Latin proverbs, and I think the one that clearly summarises it very well is “Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis,” and it is: “the times are changing, and we have to change with them”.
This was certainly true for me and finance function at SAP as well. Clearly, the pandemic and its implications have affected our business too. One and a half years ago, I was actually confident that we would have a smooth, gliding path towards transforming our business model gradually to the cloud. But then during the pandemic, we have seen a radical shift in buying preferences. And we had to respond decisively to that: even if it was in the short term, painful to do so.
But we were leaning forward. So we quickly readjusted our strategy, and our business model. And we were willing to disrupt ourselves and invest into accelerating our pace in the move to the cloud. And I think that came along then, of course, also with increased investments to integrate our solutions, invest into a resilient cloud infrastructure. And all of this transformation, of course, has to also be reflected in our finance organisation as well.
We currently continue to undergo a next phase of our own transformation journey to become more agile, and also promote a customer-first mindset. And we do this by simplifying, automating and standardising our business processes. In this regard, I’m actually quite glad that we can be our own customer for some of the new capabilities that we’re currently bringing to market around Business Process Intelligence, or in short BPI, which is an initiative that I’m leading on behalf of the SAP executive board. And it has already really proven very beneficial to us in our internal operations as well.
For example, we use BPI to measure the automation rate of our processes, to then identify areas where we see a great potential to move forward to more hyper-automation with the help of Robotic Process Automation. And we have also placed (and it’s something I feel very strongly about) an even greater focus on sustainability.
Sustainability is something that I’m also sponsoring at the executive board level. And we have always had high ambitions. But we also there thought, let’s double down and lean into the opportunities that the pandemic brings to us. We obviously had far less co2 emissions due to less business travel over the course of the last year, and we decided to not lay back because of those windfall profits, so to say, but rather double down and actually accelerate our carbon neutrality targets that we had previously set for 2025 and pull them forward to 2023: two years earlier than planned, and we’re now currently very focused on delivering against this commitment.
And I think ever since I’ve known you, you’ve always been passionate about sustainability and really made that part of your position and thought leadership. So tell me a little bit about sustainability. How can SAP help there?
For me sustainability is actually a great opportunity and must be a core priority of our strategy. And I’m very glad that the company has actually recognised this. And clearly sustainability is one of our key initiatives that we’re talking a lot about, including at Sapphire as well. I really believe that sustainability will be a key driver, in order to enter the next phase of digital transformation.
At SAP, I believe we are in a unique position to enable companies to become even more sustainable. And we can do so by actually not seeing sustainability as an add-on.
We have the ambition to truly embed both analytical and transactional capabilities across our existing core solutions to just naturally enable our customers to live in sustainable terms as they execute their end-to-end processes. And in doing so we collaborate with great co-innovation customers that are forward thinking as well in this respect and eager to make sustainability an integral part of their core business operations.
Like for example, Doehler and the BMW group: we work with them to, for example, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and optimise their resource productivity, create social equality, but also manage their business holistically and responsibly across both financial, as well as non-financial metrics. And across the entire value chain.
I look to give you one example, we have recently introduced SAP Responsible Design and Production, a solution that we’re also talking about a lot at Sapphire here together with some co-innovation customers from several industries, such as consumer goods, for example, this solution enables organisations to really design out waste and pollution. The goal is to eventually achieve a more sustainable production process in order to move more closely towards a circular economy by really cutting out as much waste in a production process as possible.
So we’ve got sustainability as one driver of transformation. But what we’re also seeing is lots of our customers are just embarking on a broad transformation journey, also to bring their core finance systems into the cloud.
A big move there. An important move. What’s SAP’s role in there?
Yeah, the first of all, it’s very important to recognise that we really want to help our customers transform their business to the cloud, not as an end in itself, but as a means to an end. And that end always has to become more profitable, become more sustainable, and to become more resilient.
In today’s world, as we have discussed, I think companies that thrive are those that adapt most quickly. And this does not work only by lifting and shifting an established system to a different deployment model: to the cloud. It really needs to include a change of culture and mindset. And it has to also encompass redesigning your business models, your business processes, in order to really adapt to the new possibilities that the digital age brings.
And when you do this, when you act with this mindset, then actually new technologies also open up many ways of running businesses in different ways and staying ahead.
And our new offering Rise with SAP is really geared towards that. It really brings together everything that companies need in order to transform their business in the ways that work best for them, regardless of their starting point. And it also allows them to do the transformation at the pace they want, and they can actually absorb.
And they are not alone in this. It’s also not only SAP, which is part of that journey. But we really have an entire ecosystem of partners behind us that are part of the Rise with SAP movement, and that can help our customers chart their change.
So Rise with SAP really enables a holistic business transformation. It includes obviously an accelerated move of core peak processes to the cloud. It allows the customers to perform the technical migration to a more standard and modular landscape with a faster time to value.
At the same time, it’s also a very simple commercial model without any high upfront investments. And I think that has determined the attractiveness of the offering. I’m extremely pleased that in the first quarter alone where we had barely two months actually, to position Rise with SAP with our customers, already more than 100 customers have chosen to benefit from Rise with SAP. And I’m very confident that this will allow them to increase their operational efficiency, and agility, their resiliency, and their speed of innovation, as well as the ability to integrate sustainability measures in their value chains, again, because we are embedding them in S/4HANA right away.
But again, a successful digital transformation also requires a redesign and automation of business processes. And that’s why as part of Rise with SAP, we also include Business Process Intelligence capabilities.
We have actually announced here at Sapphire the launch of a new solution for the third quarter, which is called SAP Process Insights. This is part of the BPI portfolio, and it helps our customers to analyse and infuse intelligence and automation into their business processes.
How are we doing this? Well, SAP Process Insights can allow our customers to track performance data and performance indicators, process benchmark indicators based on a vast industry benchmark database that we have built from more than 3000 customers. It can then also recommend actions across a customer’s value chains. So which functions of S/4HANA to activate, which optimal process flows to embed, to really move closer to best in class process matrix for the respective industry.
So to conclude, there is really a tremendous opportunity and demand for businesses ahead for us to holistically transform. And with our Rise with SAP offering I really believe that we provide a very well adapted holistic transformation offering to support them and accelerating their move to the cloud. Again, not for the cloud’s sake, but really for improving business processes, and ultimately moving closer to becoming an intelligent enterprise.
Fantastic. I think this bodes well for SAP’s customers. Thank you Luca so much for your time. It has been a pleasure. And for everyone else watching thank you for tuning in. And I also invite you encourage you to watch all our amazing customer stories at SAPPHIRE NOW. Thank you very much.
Many companies have recently accelerated their digital transformation initiatives. This allows them to stay nimble, make quicker decisions and better respond to their customers’ needs. To discuss this topic I’d like to invite Martin Naraschewski, Global Head of Line of Business Finance.
(Martin Welcome back) and Kristianne Perry, Customer Solution Director of Finance Centre of Excellence at SAP, and our special guest Sena Emiroglu, head of Digital Transformation at Turkcell. Welcome everyone to the studio.
And, of course, welcome Martin into the physical studio. So we’ll start with you. Can you share what you hear from customers as it relates to their digital transformation journey.
The pandemic is slowly receding, and we see most customers turning back from resilience mode into finance transformation. Of course, there’s still a high interest in quick wins, in reducing the cost of the finance functions. And one great way to do so is for example, our partner solution from Black Line, which is allowing customers to support their substantiation of account balances from a single system rather than dispersed Excel spreadsheets.
But the bigger purpose of most finance transformations is really to make the finance function more relevant for the entire business. And there are two primary ways to do so. One is about providing better steering information. And when I say better, I mean more detailed down to a product level, customer segment level, more timely information. But also more forward looking information in the sense of forecasting simulation information.
The other is about supporting a broader transformation of an enterprise. We see today many companies adopting new business models that are maybe subscription-based or consumption based. And these business models require totally different order to cash processes: fairly complex order to cash processes. And providing these processes is a great way to support the transformation of the business, but also an important contribution to customer experience.
Yeah, the subscription is definitely a major change in this sector. Kristianne, can you share some thoughts on customers journeys to the cloud?
Yeah, sure. So, obviously, a lot of our customers have already made a cloud journey of sorts, perhaps they’ve put their HR in the cloud, or maybe travelling expenses. So they already know what the cloud is about, that it’s always up to date. Their data is always accessible, even on your mobile phone, which has been, you know, really important in the last year when we will be working from home. But I think perhaps in the past, and the companies, they might have been a bit reticent about putting their core Finance into the cloud, perhaps letting go of the crown jewels of their organisation. They weren’t quite ready for that. And I think the challenges of the last year for business have prompted really a change in attitudes that I’ve seen.
So for instance, some of the organisations I’ve been speaking to, you know, dependent on your sector have really had a lot of problems. And one company I can think of, they needed to go out for external funding just to remain afloat. And as a result of that the external investors are saying, “Well, you know, your reporting is too slow.” It’s, “we need more detail, we need it faster”. And of course, to address that they have to do it really quickly. And that’s why the cloud is important, because, they have to do it quickly. And that’s what our Rise is about, as well as to help people make that transition.
Fantastic. Now Sena: Turkcell has 37 million subscribers. And so as head of digital transformation, can you share some of your business challenges that you’ve had to address?
Sure, thank you Melissa. Actually we have started our digital transformation journey about a year and a half ago. And this is one of the largest transformation programmes in our system, which will transform how we can operate our businesses ranging from processes to technology, from organisation to people: every single aspect of our operating model.
It is also the leading largest transformation programme in the region, which impacts our top six group companies across five different countries and more than 300 people. Actually, our challenges are mainly around the complexity of our business and the pace of our world. We increased so fast in the last decade than our current systems could not keep up with it.
Discover more: SAP jobs in Germany
As Turkcell started off as a single telecom company and now we have 36 group companies that operate in many different sectors like telecom, digital services, TV, insurance and others, and we continue to expand into more digitised, digitised more complex innovative markets, we have become a technology company from a traditional telecom company is in less than two decades.
With this rapid growth, the volume and the complexity of data and transactions at the group level are increasing day by day. The majority of Turkcell companies are using Oracle ERP systems, but there are also SAP and other local ERP systems. Data-gathering, analysis and consolidation procedures are complicated and time consuming. Our finance team must have access to multiple SAP Systems and aggregate data from several sources and often output them in different formats for each group company.
Making predictive analysis requires also additional efforts, hence we were in need for a new, centralised, more standardised finance system to cope with our challenges which we cannot address with our current systems as of now.
So you know, you’ve talked about the challenges. So can you talk about the solutions on how SAP was involved in that?
Actually to support our finance function we selected the strong technology infrastructure SAP S/4HANA for central finance on top of our current ERP systems, mainly because of its ability to obtain a single source of truth data for transactions, budgets or reporting consultation analytics, which are exactly what we need at this point to address our challenges.
We are going through a magnitude source connect to effectively and efficiently interface data from multiple non-SAP source systems also. We decided on SAP Central Finance since it is a proven product with many references in terms of centralisation of financial activities. Besides that the SAP team’s expertise product know-how and product maturity… are other prominent factors for our SAP decision.
By the way, it was not an easy decision for us. A project duration will be approximately 20 months and we have started the first weeks central finance technical foundation. It will be followed with segment reporting IFRS reporting consolidation, budget and planning and analytic reporting packages respectively.
Overall, our transformation journey started a while ago, our central finance project SAP service started almost two months ago, and we’d love to go live early next year.
Excellent and so I have to ask Sena about the future and what are the expected benefits?
Sure. Actually Melissa in a nutshell the main benefit we are hoping for, and why we chose SAP is to take our existing group-wide finance landscape to the next level. We can group our expected benefits into three buckets. The first one is technology and data: we need to automate the centralisation and harmonisation of our data in a lean finance landscape with system-centred reporting capabilities.
The second one is the processes: we look for to have a real-time analysis and flexible scenario simulation techniques to support our pace of growth. We are going to drive operational excellence and margin improvements through short-term planning and forecasting capabilities with real-time analytics
For instance, in our current landscape, we have limited visibility to our profitable dimensions, and adding new companies to our current systems is a hassle that this new finance model will allow us to respond to the fast-changing market conditions properly and help us track our profits in any way we want.
And the last and third part is the people aspect. We want to change how finance professionals work in our organisation, we expect central finance experts to decrease the time they spend on tedious tasks, and the value it brings to the organisation with access to financial data will enable them to spend a more time, more effectively in data analysis and decision making, rather than gathering and rectifying that action.
Excellent. So Martin, after hearing from Sena, what are some of the other trends in finance?
Yeah, they’re essentially two things. The one thing is really about artificial intelligence. And artificial intelligence comes mostly into play in the relationships between our company and their business partners. Because this is where a lot of unstructured data is involved. And in particular, when we look at the order to cash process, for example, we see the entire portfolio of modern technologies being employed by customers already: be it robotic process automation, machine learning chatbots, natural language processing, up to experience management. So that’s the one area of the technology innovation, that’s really driving change.
And the other thing to come back to is really central finance. We have customers who have 30-60 or even more ERP systems. Centralising all of these landscapes in a short timeframe, it’s just not possible. But on the other hand, finance transformation depends on this centralisation: having all of the information together. And so central finance is a great way to de-couple both movements.
Starting with a central finance system, having all of the finance in one place, leaving the other operational systems untouched for now, at least. And I’m not only talking about reporting an essential system, it’s really about running processes, like the financial close in a central system, then the higher value processes like financial planning and analysis, consolidation, Treasury, tax reporting, but also legal entity statutory reporting out of the single book of records, and then the rest of the landscape can follow over time can stay where they are, the operational systems are being merged as well. It’s also a great way if you have mergers and acquisitions. So overall, really the fast time-to-value for the finance organisation, and the de-risking of the entire transformation process by making it more flexible. That’s really the big benefits.
Fantastic explanation. Now Kristianne, why do you think the cloud is a good idea, and that customers should go and get it?
Well, I think it boils down to three elements really, the first is to simplify, as we’ve heard, bringing the applications together in a single place. Obviously, that reduces cost. The second one is to standardise: so getting rid of custom code, everybody’s working from the same processes, which promotes a real consistency of data, and enables a trust in the figures created. And the third one is innovating. So with a standard system, the system can be updated regularly in the cloud by SAP as new technology is released. And that enables you to adapt your business processes as you need, perhaps to take on new business lines, diversify, because you’ve got that flexibility. And really, that’s what the cloud is all about. IT is changing so fast now, that in order to keep up cloud really is the answer.
Wonderful, Kristianne, thank you so much, Sena, thank you so much for joining us remotely. And Martin, thank you so much for joining us in the studio. I really appreciate it.
We are at the end of our first panel. Claire, have there been any reactions to the discussion?[Claire Richardson summarises the Sapphire social media interactions on the subjects discussed]
Thanks so much, Claire. So these first reactions are really interesting, so continue to participate and keep that discussion going. Now, let’s hear from one of our sponsoring partners PwC, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and their customer Dicerna. They discuss how Dicerna leverages SAP solutions as a platform for growth. Over to you, Abadesi.
Thank you. Today, I’m really excited to be speaking with Tim Bernstein, Vice President of Finance and Corporate Controller at Dicerna. And Tim Faubert, the Senior Manager at PwC. Welcome. So my first question is for Tim Bernstein. What recommendations would you have for those who are considering their S/4HANA journey?
Great question Abadesi. Thank you. My recommendation is to not take the “as is” we at Dicerna started when we took on this project we really used it as an opportunity to not do a lift and shift but take a fresh look at how we did things from an operational perspective, a process perspective, and really introduce some efficiencies that could be gained by using a great tool like SAP.
Thank you, Tim Faubert: What did you learn during the pandemic? And what can businesses do to really prepare for the next disruption?
Yes, that’s a great question. The entire project with Dicerna from requirements collection through the go-live was completely remote. We started up last March as the pandemic started sitting in. So it was a good opportunity really to look at things from a digital angle, making sure that the project was aware of digital solutions and how we can think about not having any manual interventions here: things that you would have to do in person, but also from the solution perspective: embracing those workflows, things that you can do to have that digitised view of the organisation of business process.
With that, since everyone was near their computer, it was also important, and Dicerna did a great job of setting boundaries here to say, “Hey, let’s not have meetings at certain time. Let’s try to have that work-life balance, and maintain that family aspect is everybody’s having a difficult time” over the last year. So being able to take that digital edge, but still try to respect those work-life balance, items was key.
That sounds great. Tim Bernstein. Can you tell us why were SAP and PwC selected as part of Dicerna’s growth strategy?
Of course. Yeah, we went down this path about 18 months ago. And we started with our assessment of both technology and partner. And when we evaluated PwC to start, we just felt like they were the best fit for us not only from helping us implement SAP, but really being a partner as we endeavoured down this journey of growing from a clinical biopharma company on its way to becoming a commercial biopharma company. So very much viewing them as a partner on this path of, yes implementing SAP, but more importantly, really becoming a commercial company.
When it came to SAP, we took a very thorough approach as well, with our partners from PwC, evaluating different technologies, thinking through how we wanted to build this fit-for-purpose commercial organisation with a large-scale system that really benefited us in what we were looking for. And when we went through our criteria, which were numerous, from finance supply chain, expanding the breadth of what we do as a team, SAP came out on top. And that’s really why we decided to go with SAP.
Fantastic, I’d love to hear from both of you next. But let’s start with Tim Faubert. What is the role of technology in a company’s transformation to becoming an intelligent enterprise? And how can PwC help?
So PwC really helped Dicerna it here by bringing perspective: understanding how to take some complex processes and breaking it down to the simplest components here. As Tim mentioned, Dicerna is an organisation that’s growing. So being able to bring that leading-edge solution and that experience, understand the impacts, was an important part of our design. This way, we could truly have a thoughtful design that’s fit for purpose for Dicerna going forward.
Yeah, for us at Dicerna it was very important for us to say not to do the lift and shift approach, but really step back, and how can we continue to leverage technology. And as we were going through this implementation as to mention, we were in the middle of the pandemic, and it really caused us to double down on what else could we do from our digital age, right really thinking about do we need to do manual reconciliations can we sign off on them electronically. We can do other types of communications or workflow reviews electronically. So it really caused us to think hard about what we do and change sometimes it can be hard. But at the end, it was really a great, great thing for us.
Thanks for sharing. My final question is for Tim Bernstein. How has S/4HANA and Ariba changed the user experience for Dicerna users?
Specifically, when you think about Ariba, it’s created a lot more efficiencies in terms of not having to manually enter every invoice that we process in the finance team. There’s some streamlined approach for e-invoicing on our times. It speeds up how we process invoicing and eliminate some of the entry, or manual work that my team had to do.
Tim baritone Bernstein. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you. Thank you for your time today.
Thank you Abadesi as always.
So with entire companies working remotely, access control has become a hot topic for many finance and risk organisations. To discuss this my guests are Roberto Diaz, User Access Management Lead, Centre of Excellence at Sanofi, and Vincent Doux, SAP EMEA North Centre of Excellence for Finance and Risk solutions. Hello, welcome to the studio both of you.
Now. Roberto, let me kick it off. Can you tell us a little bit about what Sanofi does and what your role is?
Yes, thank you very much, Melissa. So well. Sanofi is a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry, and very relevant to mention these days is that Sanofi is highly committed to the fight against COVID-19, mainly in two areas.
First, was to continue the development of two vaccine candidates. One of those already got very positive results and quickly approved in Q4 this year. And second, Sanofi has begun the work to support the manufacturing and supply of other COVID vaccines: candidates which are already in the market.
Right now, my role at Sanofi is to balance, security and compliance issues, ultimately, to make sure that only the right people have access to the processes at the correct time. It’s imperative to us to get compliant to external regulations, to fight fraud, and also to protect our information systems and processes.
Just to give you an example from pharma: it’s an extremely regulated industry. And we must prove a tonne of it, that only the right people have access to the very specific activities of our business processes, such as vaccines, manufacturing, finance or commercial processes.
Great Roberto, if you’ve talked about the challenges, why did you choose SAP?
Why? Well, Sanofi is a global and very complex organisation with many different systems and processes in each country, like many kinds of urbanisation and simplification. So we fix this issue through our global transformation programme, which is called the shift programme.
So what we did is to build a global solution, a global ERP using the latest SAP platform technology, which is S/4HANA and Fiori, and we are content currently deploying this solution across Sanofi worldwide. So basically, this is a this is our challenge. In this move to S/4HANA, what we did is we consolidated it and improved the security, especially the access management in the new platform, to make sure that the people has access to perform their jobs, while also managing the risks for the organisation.
Excellent. So Roberto, you’ve talked about the challenges in SAP’s role, what was the approach to tackle the challenges?
Well, our IT landscape has many SAP solutions already, so for us was almost natural to go to S/4HANA and SAP GRC Access Controls was part of the solution.
We had experience and knowledge on suggested solutions previously. So therefore, we want to build on this investment and skill set. We had with the last all the models and capabilities of the previous versions of SAP GRC Access Controls, including the native integration and reset for SAP.
Now, what were some of the priorities you had when deploying a familiar access control solution in this new SAP S/4HANA environment, Roberto?
Yes, let me have that. Just a few points. First of all, it’s key to start with clean roles during the design phase of the project. So this leads to a smooth rollout, lower the costs and reduced IT risks and potential issues.
We also realised and improved goals and concepts using business rules, which combines transactional elements with those for Fiori User Experience. So that helped us to introduce new authorisation concepts of Fiori user experience. And last but not least, it was also a key for us to fulfil the very specific pharma industry requirements on electronic approvals, provisioning, and secondary approvals, so the powerful workflow engine and audit trails definitely support the path on these efforts.
Excellent. Vincent, you’ve been very patient. Thank you so much. Now, you’ve listened to what Roberto has explained there was a phase when you joined the team. Is that correct? Tell us a little bit about that.
Yes, I worked with Roberto and his team in the in this early phase, we had multiple workshops together to better understand the solution, and how he could support the transformation with SAP S/4HANA in a non-compliant manner. And it was great to see Sanofi take an approach of compliance by design, where they evaluated the design as it was developed during the blueprint phase. So the SAP Access Control application played a part in this advisory role to support the team in the overall transformation programme. It was very impressive to witness.
Now Roberto, what else was important that led to success?
Well, keep in mind that S/4HANA, required a closer view on the new business processes and authorisations. So you cannot just replicate security from the former system. S/4HANA and Fiori begins new ways to access the data. And therefore the segregation of the duties matrix was required to reflect these changes.
And so what were the business outcomes?
So the most important business outcome for us was to want to support the business users, while also managing the access risks for the organisation. We had to enable sub-service and also to leverage the scalability that the solution provides to manage 1000s of approvals, requests, and the creation and maintenance of roads. And we also had to manage related certifications, and to support requests for temporary access to very critical parts of our application and data. And so while having automation in many of these areas, it is key to continuing efficiency and risk management.
Excellent. So, Vincent, I see you nodding, anything to add to that.
Maybe just one comment. It is of huge value to our customers that our SAP GRC solutions are well established in the market. And our large ecosystem of partners have vast experience with both mid-range and large-scale implementation. They bring best practices and experience with the solution. Having assisted with 1000s of implementations collectively. We really believe this collective experience really helps organisations get the most value aligned to their priorities.
Excellent. So Roberto, what’s next?
So we laid out a roadmap in our digital transformation. So part of my area of responsibility is definitely looking to extend our access controls to third-party cloud solutions. So we are very interested in this new phase, as we are considering on how SAP Cloud Identity and Access governance, might help us in extending to these scenarios.
Gentlemen, Roberto, Vincent, thank you so much for joining us in the studio. We really appreciate your thoughts.
That leads us directly to our upcoming demo on our SAP Cloud Identity Access Governance Solutions, which features brand new capabilities. Let’s have a look.
[There follows a short demonstration of SAP Cloud Identity Access Governance]
Enable simple adaptive access governance: creating a more intuitive user experience while helping to strengthen and improve compliance processes.
Continuous access analysis lets you identify user access risk with predefined access rules, update and refine user access dynamically, and enhance compliance with mitigating controls.
Role design means you can generate candidate or business roles. Role assignments can then be visualised and refined, and before activating the role, you can simulate access risk.
Once multiple roles are established, you can activate self-service requests, utilise an audit-able workflow with built in risk simulation, and close the loop by automating the provisioning of access assignments.
With privileged access management, manage critical and sensitive access by granting temporary use of elevated permissions, and automate the review of activity logs with anomaly detection.
Finally, with access certification, you can run automated periodic access reviews, providing data driven views for the review process.
SAP Cloud Identity Access Governance: helping improve security and compliance in cloud and on-premise systems, reducing the cost and effort of governance risk and compliance and security programmes, and providing real-time exception monitoring and decision making.
If you are interested in more information about SAP Cloud Identity Access Governance, visit SAP.com/GRC.
As my next guest I welcome Artur Tielmann. Senior IT manager at Deutsche Bahn the German railways, as well as SAP’s Anne-Christin Ahrens, who is Solution Management Lead for SAP billing and Revenue Innovation Management. We’re going to talk about the steps you need to take to transition to a services-based model. Welcome to the studio.
I’m gonna start with Anna. Why has SAP Billing and Revenue Innovation Management been such a strategic product?
Well, customers are changing the way they consume, they don’t want to purchase the entire product anymore. They just want to pay for the services they really use.
Just to give you one example: imagine you just pay for the pages you print, but you don’t buy the entire printer, or car-sharing instead of buying the entire car. And then also additional services can be wrapped around physical products and can be sold as a bundle.
This is a win-win situation, the consumer only pays for what he really uses, and the company benefits from more consistent revenue streams. And many customers are already using and monetising these trending business models. We see customers with subscription-based business scenarios with annual revenue growth between 30 and 50%. And now the pandemic situation even further escalated this trend and SAP Billing and Revenue Innovation Management responded.
Now I’m wondering, do you have to change the solution design in order to accommodate this escalation.
Um, no SAP was already prepared, but we further improved the different key areas. So the first aspect, for example is flexible pricing, we need to be very agile, and provide speed to market for new scenarios to make sure that our customers don’t miss any business opportunities. The second point is contract management. We have to support customers throughout the entire customer contract lifecycle.
Another aspect in these scenarios is multi-party relationships and revenue share. So especially in subscription-based or bundled scenarios, some components of the bundle might be provided by an external partner. Subscription business avoids silos here, but still you need to make sure that the revenue will be provided and calculated for the external partner.
And last but not least, the solution also needs to be scalable. And we see tremendous document growth and document volume. And we have to make sure that our customers will be provided with a highly flexible and scalable solution with automated processes and no-touch transactions.
But not only companies with subscriptions benefit from SAP Billing and Revenue Innovation Management. We also have companies that want to consolidate their billing processes and want to implement one single platform, which is scalable and highly automated. So Deutsche Bahn is a great example here as you will see.
Got it. Thank you. So Artur, can you tell us a little bit about you, and your role at Deutsche Bahn Energy and the company?
Yeah, thanks Melissa for inviting me. Yeah, I’m Product Manager at DB energy and there my responsibility is to implement several different billing scenarios into SAP BRM across the entire Deutsche Bahn group. And yeah, allow me to give a brief introduction about DB Energy before moving on.
So we are a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn group, of the German railway group, and we are the fifth largest supplier in Germany. And our focus is to supply railroad and industrial customers with electricity, diesel fuel and consulting services. And one of our biggest goals is to make rail transportation 100% green by 2028. So maybe you short introduction about myself and our company.
That is a fantastic goal. So what was your initial challenge at DB?
Yeah, so at DB, we have more than 300 companies, and way too many different billing systems. So actually, it’s more than 34. And even more than this employees had to manually jump into how the data run through the processes, the billing processes. So as a conclusion, or as, as we realised, we needed to reduce our systems, we decided to use a standard billing system, or standard billing application, with a standard interface that everyone could have access to.
So what was appealing about SAP Billing and Revenue Management, then?
Yeah, so we believed that it would allow us to create this one central billing platform where everyone could put on their billing processes. So we believe that is able to handle a high volume, business and being very stable at the same time, which is really important for us because of the high volume of revenue that will run through our system.
So we started then with four partners, four companies in the Deutsche Bahn group who have their own billing systems. And we started to create one platform for all four of them. And even more, we see the opportunity to support more than just four companies from Deutsche Bahn, but we want to make it a central building platform within the Deutsche Bahn.
Excellent. Artur, so what processes have improved as a result of SAP Billing Revenue and Innovation Management?
Yeah, thank you for the question. So many examples I could give, I would just highlight two of them.
First, I would call it the audit improvement example. So we have one of our partners, Deutsche Bahn Net, which is the railroad infrastructure manager in the Deutsche Bahn group. So DB Net serves 300 different transportation companies, railroad transportation companies in Germany, that are all competing for this one railroad. So in peak times, the colleagues from DB Net would be flooded with orders. And several colleagues, several employees would have them, to manually enter them. And in peak times a request could take up to three weeks to complete. Now, after we implemented SAP BRM and made it part of, let’s say, call it amazon for railroads, the pricing is done now in real-time. And you can order railroad tracks instantly.
So it addressed and drastically reduced amount of time. And the second example, I would mention, is here, the example of lowering the operation costs, as all the four partners removed their old billing systems, and are now partners on this one single platform. All of them were able to reduce their operating costs more than 50%. So a great achievement from this project.
Great, and looking forward Artur: how will SAP help you with your future goals?
Yeah, as I mentioned before, our goal is to have one central billing platform. And from there, I have two requirements. First is scale, we have to invite others onto the platform, so the platform needs to be able to scale in a quite easy way. And on the second hand, we need longevity. So as we want it to be our sample billing platform, it has to last in the long term, at least for 10 years. And yeah, we are confident that with SAP and BRM, we can reach these goals and also SAP can support us in these goals.
Yeah. Excellent. So stay with us. I want to look to Claire and see whether there have been any reactions or questions for you too.
Thanks so much for checking in Melissa. It’s so great to hear how Deutsche Bahn’s needs have been served by SAP.
I do have a question here in the chat for Anna. So I want to bring her in here to see if we can pose that directly to her. Now what our audience wants to know is what strategic direction SAP Billing and Revenue Innovation Management is planning to go in next.
Well, we are the leader in the market for billing solutions, and especially for very high complexity and high-volume scenarios. So of course, we want to continue to lead. And we want to provide additional functionality, especially for industry specific requirements, and really want to manage the customer lifecycle for the audit process, from an end-to-end perspective, also using Intelligent Automation and Integration. And we want to be a true Software-as-a-Service provider, which includes software as well as infrastructure.
Fabulous, thank you so much for fielding that question. I’m going to turn it back over to you now, Melissa.
Thanks so much, Claire. Artur, Anna, thank you so much for joining us in the studio. It was fantastic.
All right. Every year, SAP celebrates the most innovative organisations around the globe who harness the power of the latest SAP products and technologies to disrupt industries.[Short visual presentation of the winners of the SAP Innovation Awards]
One of our 2021 winners in the “Partner Paragon” category is EY with a COVID-19 tracing solution. Let’s now hear from them and learn how CFOs can reframe finance for tomorrow’s challenges. Over to you, Abadesi
Thank you, I’m happy to be joined by Hanne Jesca Bax, EMEA Managing Partner, Markets and Accounts at EY.
Hello Jesca. So my first question for you: what is the role of technology in a company’s transformation to becoming an intelligent enterprise? And how can EY help?
[Hanne Jesca Bax]
Yeah, so companies are going through a big shift right now. Everybody used to focus on short term results. But at the moment, they’re really focusing much more on purpose-led growth. And in that transition, they’re also changing from focusing on purely financial performance and efficiency to longer-term value, and what that means to the company, to the stakeholders, to the employees and to society at large.
And in order to create that trust, and long-term value, a complete different set of metrics is needed. And in order to do that, you need new technology, you need to have different data points, and you need to be able to up-skill all your people. And therefore that overall transformation is therefore critical in creating that long-term value, and goes much more beyond finance and tax and into ESG and sustainability, just to name a few of those things.
And I think the cloud journey, the architecture allows companies to achieve this faster, and go there as quickly as they’d like. And so to your second point, the role that we play: we help navigate our clients along that journey. We bring hopefully the outside-in perspective, we bring a healthy challenge. But also we didn’t just find that balance between efficiency, effectiveness, but also focus on the right levels of innovation.
Sounds great. My second question for you, how can EY help companies adopt new holistic business models for greater transparency, greater profitability, and greater sustainability from end-to-end?
[Hanne Jesca Bax]
So everybody’s rethinking their strategies, right? Assessing your portfolio and figuring out “how do I navigate? And how do I get ready for everything that’s approaching me?” And so in order to do that, they really need to have out of the box thinking. And what a lot of companies are doing is saying, “I need to leverage the rest of the ecosystem, whether it’s my customers, whether it’s my suppliers, global startups, but also even take my competition in, and really begin to figure out how do I create that next level of value? Right? How do I get ready for the future?”
And so again, where we come in, is we then help to go from the strategy into the processes, into technology and into the people. How do we change the end to end? Right? Because the biggest devil in every strategy is being able to actually implement it and achieve the change that you set out to do.
Discover more: SAP jobs in the UK
And so what we do is we focus on bringing together those different elements, and focusing on transforming the company, we bring that business insight, but at the same time, we understand technology and that is a winning combination, in my view: understanding business, being able to drive that change and use that technology. And that’s where the partnership that we have with SAP comes in.
What did you learn from the pandemic? And what’s the most important thing that businesses can do to be prepared for the next disruption?
[Hanne Jesca Bax]
Yeah, I think there’s so many lessons that we’ve all learned over this past year. And what I’ve seen specifically is the pandemic acted as a catalyst: both of smaller incremental changes, but also some really large-scale transformations.
And you’ve seen it in actually what happened at the beginning, and what happens in the longer run. In the beginning, we were all kind of shifting gears very quickly and rapidly, just to deal with everything. But now a lot of things that were postponed, waiting for life to return to normal can no longer be postponed. And so we see a huge uptake of having this large-scale transformations. Life is just going on. And we can’t ignore that anymore. And companies have it all the time to really strategically reassess their business, be ready for the recovery of the world, because the recovery will be there for recovery of our economies.
It’s already beginning to pick up, to be ready for the re-frame, and the reset. And this does not necessarily mean big programmes and big budgets, you can start small and create some of those wins very quickly. And so leaders are ready to get into the beyond. I think there’s a few things to focus on. It’s about trust, it’s about data. It’s about trade. It’s about technology, and then driving into that sustainable world with long-term value. And that’s how I think we learned those lessons.
Incredible. Thanks so much for sharing all this strategic advice today.
Thank you Abadesi. We are almost at the end of the show. Before we wrap up, Claire, what are some of the reactions on social media?[Claire Richardson shares some of the reactions to the day’s interviews on the social media wall]
Thank you all for our amazing speakers today. We hope you enjoyed this show and gained a few useful insights as you continue your own transformation journey. This is only the start of the day, so please make sure to join our upcoming sessions to hear more customer stories and get more insights on SAP’s and our partners’ solutions. As Sapphire Now continues, SAP experts are standing by to answer your questions. So please engage and reach out to them as we consider the role each of us plays in this ecosystem. I want to express our gratitude to all the SAPPHIRE NOW sponsors and remind you once more to visit our partner showcase at SapphireNow.com. With that said, stay safe and enjoy the rest of the programme. I am Melissa Chan, Thank you so much for watching.