A Good Place to Work

Feature Article | May 25, 2009 by Anna Simmes, SAP

We seldom notice the hard-working people who show up early in the morning or late in the evening to empty the waste paper baskets, clean the offices and restrooms, and keep the air conditioning running. Often, an external facility management company is at work behind the scenes. Its services include providing evacuation maps for emergencies or managing the expenditure and revenue associated with facilities.

STRABAG Property & Facility Services GmbH (STRABAG PFS) is such a facility management provider. Headquartered in the German cities of Frankfurt and Münster, it offers a range of services, from receptionist and cleaning services to cost controlling, the provision of technical equipment, and full location concepts.

STRABAG PFS
A company with 5,000 responsible for approximately 175 million square feet of chiefly business space needs totally dependable technology

To provide the commercial services, STRABAG had been using the SAP ERP application – with its second enhancement package. However, since early 2009, it has been using SAP enhancement package 4 for SAP ERP, a part of the SAP Business Suite 7 software – the first SAP customer to do so.

A company with 5,000 employees responsible for approximately 175 million square feet of chiefly business space needs totally dependable technology. An affiliate of Deutsche Telekom AG until it was bought by Vienna-based construction company STRABAG, the company still counts Deutsche Telekom as its most important customer. Yet STRABAG PFS also serves a growing circle of banks, insurers, industrial companies, and public-sector entities. Customer requirements differ widely.

“Our biggest challenge is adapting standard processes to the needs of our customers and promptly supplying the latest information – say, about unused space – when it is wanted,” says Wolfgang Hohmann, senior SAP consultant with STRABAG PFS. He finds it a distinct advantage to work with a good system that also offers competitive advantages.

IT must always be up to date

Benefits of the SAP Ramp-Up Program

  • Achieving implementation goals more rapidly
  • Earlier start on projects
  • Support from ramp-up back office
  • Direct access to SAP developers
  • Influence on future development

To keep ahead, the company’s IT must always be up to date. “That’s why we installed SAP enhancement package 4 for SAP ERP. Rather than implementing an entire upgrade, we could pick and choose the functional innovations we needed and import them quickly and simply,” Hohmann says.

He adds that they had gladly agreed to be a ramp-up customer for SAP enhancement package 4 for SAP ERP because they had benefited in that role with SAP enhancement package 2 for SAP ERP.

The only complaint: Although SAP enhancement packages for SAP ERP are much quicker to install than a full upgrade, it still took an entire weekend. “That’s near the pain point for a company on call 24×7,” comments Hohmann, adding that SAP had already promised to do better in the future.

Risk mitigation

  • SAP solution validated in real environment
  • Support requests receive priority attention
  • Project analyzed before accepted for ramp-up
  • Project continuously monitored by ramp-up back office
  • Weekly progress reports to the SAP Executive Board

Early in the project, his team was given an overview of the new functions at training courses and workshops. Three issues came up during the import that required support from SAP, and they were all answered within a day or two. “The solutions SAP suggested to the problems were solid,” Hohmann says.

All in all, STRABAG PFS is pleased with its choice of software, which provided content that it would otherwise have had to develop itself at considerable expense. This content included functions to deal with German value-added tax law amendments and improved standardized reports on expenses settlement and land-use management.

Hohmann believes the company saved around €60,000 plus support costs. “And we can continue to take advantage of SAP’s support services, which, frankly, we don’t want to do without,” he adds.

Instant overview with business intelligence

Strategic advantages

  • Low-risk business and IT innovation
  • Accumulation of expertise on new SAP solution
  • Company at cutting edge
  • Influence on development of solution

Together with SAP core and industry software, STRABAG PFS also uses the SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse component for business intelligence. Hohmann says, “We don’t just want to manage our customers’ real estate and facilities, we also want to give them the standardized reports they need.”

Using the SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer tool, the company developed a cockpit in which managers can quickly and simply find all of the data, graphs, and reports they need for their properties. They access the management cockpit on the Internet through the SAP NetWeaver Portal.

The next step will be adding a download function to the cockpit, so managers can do more work on any of the data. “Our employees report that customers find real-time insight into all business processes a real benefit,” Hohmann says, adding that the management cockpit will incorporate more ideas from the customers’ wish list.

For example, integrating Google maps would help customers visualize the locations of their facilities.

“In the end,” Hohmann says, “our role is to provide a pleasant working environment – with the trash regularly emptied and the desks cleaned – so our customers can get on with their business.”

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