A Recipe for Success

“No CEO will spend time playing around with business intelligence tools to generate the information they need,” says Albert Koay with a definite certainty. In less than 20 words, the IT general manager of the Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK) Berhad Group illustrated one of the most common problems in the business environment today – the need to obtain the right information at the right time, without having to deal with a complex system or relying on a third party to do so. Indeed, having the right information at one’s fingertips is crucial in the decision making process. Managers typically rely on IT staff to generate various reports, and more often than not, by the time the reports are ready, the numbers are already obsolete.
This requirement is addressed in SAP Business One, in the simplicity of its Drag and Relate reporting feature. With this feature, managers are free to generate reports based on relationships and conditions created on the fly, using real-time data. In addition, it has a graphical user interface that is easy to use, resulting in a short learning curve.
This is just one of the many reasons why Koay has pioneered the implementation of SAP Business One in one of KLK’s subsidiary companies, Batu Kawan Hevea Products. “We chose SAP Business One because it’s a complete ERP suite, and one of the more interesting elements of this product is the software development kit,” says Koay.
With the built-in software development kit, customers can conduct in-house development and build the add-ons directly into the system. Because the add-on modules integrate seamlessly to become part of the SAP Business One menu items, end users will not feel intimidated, he explains. “I found that SAP Business One is leaps and bounds ahead of its competitors. Its drag and drop feature is very powerful, and its drill-down capability is very significant,” he adds.
Koay also contends that SAP Business One covers practically every aspect of the business, thus giving him the foundation to build on the system further. “The sales module is superb. It allows me to track every step in the process until completion. Meanwhile, the customer service module enables you to know a customer and prepare a proposal based on the history of the customer,” he says. “Other ERP suites are not as savvy, including those from the ‘big boys’, because the ease of use is not there and the amount of customization required is tremendous.”
So, how did Batu Kawan Hevea Products end up with SAP Business One, given that Koay already had other ERP systems running in the Group? According to Koay, the decision to use SAP Business One was driven by the need to have a system that was less expensive and easier to implement. “We could have used other solutions, but they would have cost us anywhere between RM1 million to RM2 million and the required implementation time would be too long,” he explains.
So, when SAP’s Business Partner, Selatan Technology, showed Koay a demo of SAP Business One, he was understandably impressed with the features and, ultimately, the price. Based on Koay’s further research and several more demos, Koay and his team finally decided to implement SAP Business One for Batu Kawan Hevea Products for a five-user license at a cost of less than RM100,000. In total, there are more than 150 user licenses today in some of the other companies within the Group.
Deployment started in mid January and was fully completed within 15 days, says Tan Kok Pin, managing director of Selatan Technology. “One of the key reasons as to why we could do it in 15 days was the teamwork that existed between my team and the crew at Batu Kawan Hevea Products.”
“Also, we could have done this much earlier but we wanted to wait for version 6.7 instead of using version 6.5. In the end, it was well worth the wait since the new version has lots more features,” he adds.
Just like a proud new father showing off his labor of love, Koay just can’t stop waxing lyrical about SAP Business One. “In some ERP implementations, we spent almost six months just to come up with variations of reports for the management. But in SAP Business One, we spent just five days,” he says.
“Basically, SAP Business One has given our managers the power to drill down to get to the right data. If something (a field) is lacking, then it can be created on the fly and be included in the report easily,” Koay explains. Although Koay acknowledges there are already many features available in SAP Business One, he believes more value can still be derived from the new system. “For one, we’d like to see better integration of SAP Business One with the local banking system. We want to see both tie in seamlessly and if we can have that kind of interface, life will definitely be much easier,” he says.