A year ago, Sparkassen Informatik had every reason to celebrate. The IT service provider successfully united the business processes of the three merger partners Informatik Kooperation, Sparkassen Informatik Baden-Württemberg and Sparkassen-Informatik-Systeme West, merging them into a uniform SAP system. After concluding this mammoth project, focus was directed at adding the final touches in March 2002. Sparkassen Informatik united and mapped out the invoicing process in SAP standard within a period of six months. In September 2002, all locations work started working with the Sales and Distribution module (SD) of SAP R/3. This significantly decreased the workload for all departments, and it has also made revenue reporting much more transparent today.
SAP R/3 SD for all
The IT experts at Sparkassen Informatik did not have much time to relax after successfully merging the business systems. Upon completing the “Consolidation of Business Processes” project, the team of IT specialists turned their attention to the next project. The SAP R/3 SD module for invoicing, which was previously rolled out only in the locations of the former Sparkassen-Informatik-Systeme West, is supposed to be implemented at all locations now.
The goal was to replace the individually developed host invoicing systems of the other two merger partners with the standard software and to standardise the processes of all departments at the various locations. In addition to simplifying processes, the new system shall also provide homogeneous sales and profit data and thus increase the transparency of revenue reports. And last, but not least, the layout of outgoing invoices was supposed to be standardised and adapted for the entire company to the corporate design of Sparkassen Informatik.
Once again, Sparkassen Informatik called for consultants from noventum to accomplish this project. Due to the successful merger of the other business systems, the consultants were still familiar, on the one hand, with the corporate processes, and on the other hand, noventum was able to fall back on experience gained with other IT service providers. A project team was created with 14 employees taken from individual departments, six employees from “Business Systems” department and two consultants from noventum. For all that, company employees were not released from handling their daily tasks in addition to focussing on the project. Sparkassen Informatik’s project manager was Hans-Gerd Flock who also played a significant role in supporting the previous merger project.
The project was carried out in four phases. During the first phase, all three existing invoicing systems were analysed to evaluate the current situation. The team then decided to aggregate the invoice data on the non-SAP systems and transfer these for further processing to the SAP system. The alternative for aggregating the entire monthly data in the SAP system was rejected because it was deemed too complex and expensive. After analysing the current situation, those responsible developed a conceptual design, followed by the preparation of a prototype and a test phase.
Sparkassen Informatik placed particular emphasis on the test phase, which was subdivided into an integration test, a mass test for evaluating response times and a monthly test. Within the framework of the monthly test, the team simulated the complete invoicing process of an entire month and compared these with the values of the old systems. This should help to eliminate errors in the invoice data and thus prevent losing one’s image among customers. Upon successfully completing the tests, Sparkassen Informatik launched SAP’s SD module at the various locations in September 2002.
Coordinating over five locations
A serious challenge posed by the project was distributing the processes among five locations (Münster, Karlsruhe, Fellbach, Cologne and Duisberg). It was not always an easy task to coordinate the concerns of the individual locations. One factor that was decisive for the project’s success was the seamless support provided by the departments Financial Accounting, Business Management, Controlling, Auditing and Production.
The project team prepared two training profiles in order to ensure that the employees of these departments are familiar with the new system. One profile for Financial Accounting and one for Controlling. Altogether twelve employees in the departments went through intensive training. Project managers and department heads informed all other employees about the roll-out of the new system and were available to answer any questions.
Afterwards, Sparkassen Informatik’s Sales department took on the task of notifying customers in a detailed letter about the future changes to the structure and layout of the invoices.
Plans for further optimisation
Today, Sparkassen Informatik is successfully working with a uniform SAP system for order processing and invoicing. The products of the service provider are arranged on the invoices in accordance with the current price model which increases the transparency for the individual Sparkasse savings banks. Invoice layout is now uniform for the entire company; all documents are issued centrally using an internal printer line at the Fellbach location. Even revenue reporting has become more transparent for the entire company as a result of implementing the Sales Information System in the SD module.
Future plans include continuing steps to further optimise processes at Sparkasse Informatik. Aggregation and data preparation on the non-SAP systems will be simplified during the next stage in order to decrease invoice preparations.