The heart of the IT of this newly formed construction and building-services provider, which arose from the merger of the two biggest Swiss construction concerns Zschokke Holding SA, Geneva, and BATIGROUP-Holding AG, Basel, goes back to a proprietary SAP application landscape that was conceived and developed especially for the construction industry. Like Implenia today, the Batigroup in the past pursued a clear sourcing strategy and recognised early on how important software solutions are as tools for efficiently designing construction processes.
While the management, operation and technical optimisation of the entire SAP application landscape were handled in AC-Service’s Managed IT Service Center, its proprietary IT resources were employed to develop a universally integrated SAP construction solution. This solution covers all the typical construction-related business processes from quote to cash, or in other words from project acquisition to building construction and invoicing all the way to the financial statements. Concentrating IT resources in this way let Batigroup CIO Johnny Gschwend, now the head of IT at Implenia AG, achieve a high degree of both process harmonisation and cost optimisation.
One of the first mySAP ERP applications
In the course of implementing this IT strategy of the newly formed construction services provider Implenia AG, which is listed on the Swiss Exchange SWX and, according to its initial pro forma figures, represents sales of CHF 2.3 billion (or some EUR 1.5 billion), the in-house developed SAP Construction solution and the expanded SAP systems will be gradually deployed throughout the entire Implenia Group in cooperation with AC-Service. From this will arise the biggest and most comprehensive SAP application operation within the Managed IT Service Center of AC-Service, one that will result in an incremental expansion of what are now some 850 users to over 1,600.
The successfully completed switch to mySAP ERP 2005 was one of the first project steps made for Implenia’s IT in AC-Service’s Managed IT Service Center. This move makes Implenia one of the first companies in Europe to have mySAP ERP 2005 in productive operation. The technical migration from R/3 Release 4.6c to mySAP ERP was made in one step. This latest software generation from SAP boasts a fundamentally new technological basis, one that follows the example of service-oriented software architectures and together with Netweaver delivers an open application and integration platform. It is on this new basis that Implenia will also be using the comprehensive extensions in the functional areas FM (Facilities Management) and RE (Real Estate).
Implenia focus its own IT resources on generating greater value
All SAP servers and systems are operated and managed within AC-Service’s Managed IT Service Center. The multi-tiered server landscape includes identically constructed quality-assurance and productive systems and includes the operation within the Backup Service Center, which takes over the running of the systems in case of emergency or disaster without any interruptions that could seriously impair business operations. The data is continuously mirrored over redundant storage area networks, or SANs, so that the same stock of data is always on hand at the primary and the secondary data center locations.
This comprehensive system environment also includes an exclusive operating basis for mobile computing. Site supervisors and foremen enter their people’s activities and work hours via Qtek PDAs (handheld computer) into the SAP system right from the construction site and can access master and facility contracts online, track operations and allocate construction machinery. All together this enables a significant increase in scheduling and cost reliability, two critical issues in any building project.
SAP Construction is based on the overall application scope of the mySAP Business Suite. Building and construction processes are modelled and depicted with the functional areas Finance (FI), Controlling (CO), Material Management (MM), Sales and Distribution (SD), Project Systems (PS), Human Resources (HR) and Service Management (SM). The groupwide employment of SAP Construction from within AC-Service’s Managed IT Service-Center ensures Implenia a permanently high level of process innovation and harmonisation, so that it can achieve significant competitive advantages.