Modern ERP for Bavaria’s Civil Servants

Lean and efficient: New ERP-system for Bavaria (Photo: Autobild)
Lean and efficient: New ERP system for Bavaria (Photo: Autobild)

VIVA – short for “vollintegrierte Verfahren komplexer Anwendungen,” or fully integrated operations of complex applications – heralded a new era of human resource management for the Bavarian state government in 2004. The state implemented this process based on SAP R/3 Enterprise and included components for HR and financial management, fully replacing its previous payroll process (known as BAVARIA). Around 470,000 employees, civil servants, and retirees now receive their salaries and benefits through the new SAP solution. In addition, VIVA has integrated HR and job administration for around 30,000 civil servants of the Bavarian State Ministry of Finance.

Streamlined processes, lower costs

With VIVA, Bavaria’s state financial department implemented one of the world’s largest SAP systems for human resource management. It significantly simplifies HR approval and administration processes and reduces internal management costs. To get the most out of using SAP wherever possible, the Bavarian state government decided to extend its HR and job administration with VIVA to all state employees. Having begun in 2008, the VIVA-PRO project foresees the incremental rollout of the solution by 2011. Until recently, HR management was handled with more than 15 different decentralized applications in the state’s individual departments.

While carrying out VIVA-PRO, those in charge of the project faced the necessity of a release upgrade. With standard maintenance support scheduled to expire, they would have otherwise incurred higher maintenance fees for SAP R/3 4.7 from 2009 on. In addition, the ERP upgrade presented the opportunity to switch to a technology platform that would support service-oriented architecture (SOA). SAP also plans to implement compliance with future legal changes primarily in SAP ERP 6.0.

Upgrade in subprojects

Switching releases required both a technical upgrade and the full transfer of existing functions, the latter of which was tendered as a subproject involving “process and output management.” T-Systems handled this part of the transition, while another IT service provider took on the technical upgrade.

Together with SAP Consulting, T-Systems had already supported the Bavarian state government’s VIVA implementation with its in-depth knowledge of HR and SAP between 2002 and 2004. A new means of payment accounting was of primary importance: It had to ensure that salaries and benefits would reach the state’s employees and retirees in a correct and timely fashion. To achieve this, T-Systems integrated process models into the state’s SAP software to facilitate the administration of central payment-day processes.

These process models provide programs that enable the state of Bavaria to handle accounting within its 20 payroll subunits while differentiating between groups such as old-age beneficiaries, employees, and forestry workers, as well as their remuneration. The models contain functions that have to be executed prior to the accounting of individual pay-scale procedures, as well as functions that include accounting, subsequent activities in each payroll subunit, list generation, and mass printing.

“Since the programs can run in parallel, the process models reduce the process runtimes in accounting,” emphasizes project lead Kai Trützschler, who is responsible for SAP projects in the systems integration division of T-Systems. “We also have an easier time controlling program execution and the status of every personnel number in processing.” If any personnel numbers are incorrect, individual process steps can be repeated. There are also means of controlling which data is passed from one step to the next.

In addition, T-Systems achieved a further milestone in its subproject by organizing and managing the mass printing of various HR forms.

Incremental system transition

With T-Systems having proved its worth as Bavaria’s partner in its process and output management project, the associated technical upgrade began in early 2008. To minimize the impact on normal operations, the three-tier VIVA system landscape – consisting of development, test, and productive systems – was upgraded in phases. In the process, the corresponding hardware was modernized and the new, ERP-based development and test system created on the new servers from a copy of the state’s previous SAP system.

T-Systems had to ensure that the state’s main accounting processes could also be controlled in its new release with the existing SAP process model. In addition, the system had to be able to process spool data for mass printing to an output center without changing the periphery. The T-Systems consultants faced a particular challenge in the high percentage of custom developments, including 70 customer-specific interfaces and around 550 programs the Bavarian state financial department had written itself.

Extensive test scenarios

“Even during the technical upgrade, we set up extensive test scenarios for our accounting processes,” reports Trützschler. His team performed constant systematic tests on the interaction of several hundred custom developments in SAP ERP 6.0, as well as the performance and load response of the SAP system.

Here, it became clear that the state’s custom programs required a number of adjustments. For example, SAP ERP 6.0 offers alternative formats for displaying dates, which caused the automatic management of delivery dates in the state’s dispatch control system to no longer function. The latest SAP release also changes how customer-specific forms are mapped to reports, which required T-Systems to intervene in the existing process.

Following these adjustments, two mass tests were carried out with employees of the Bavarian State Ministry of Finance. On two systems configured for this specific purpose, several accounting procedures were executed on the state’s entire data inventory for each release and the results compared. After a number of slight deviations were analyzed and eliminated, the functions required were proven to work in SAP ERP 6.0. On July 30, 2008, the time came to perform the first accounting steps in live operations with the new release.

On schedule, within budget

In just six months, Bavaria’s state financial department completed its SAP upgrade on schedule and within its budget. Its project manager, Dr. Jan Remy, was very pleased with T-Systems’ performance: In his view, the company “showed dedication in continuing our successful collaboration and performed admirably in the course of the upgrade.”

The stage has thus been set to complete the VIVA rollout by 2011. “Thanks to the interaction between employees of the state financial office and our IT partners, the upgrade went off extremely well and within the conditions specified,” says Bavarian State Secretary of Finance Franz Josef Pschierer. “We’re doing our part to help the state and the economy profit from e-government in equal measure.”

Since this seamless upgrade, T-Systems has been on board the VIVA-PRO project as a subcontractor of SAP Consulting. VIVA-PRO involves the expansion of SAP personnel and job administration to every area of the Bavarian state government. Project preparations began back in 2005, followed by conception and implementation of the required departmental functionality for HR and job administration (VIVA-PSV). Having started at the end of 2008, the expansion project comprises a total of 13 go-live dates.

In this project phase, T-Systems is serving as part of the quality assurance team. Its further responsibilities include coordinating the implementation of interfaces and independently creating around 30 interfaces developed outside of the VIVA-PSV standard.