SAP Customer Panel: How Deloitte, Intel and Blount Run Better

Barely a few hours into Day 1 of SAP’s Industry Analyst Base Camp I had a tough time keeping up with the tidal wave of great information being evangelized. SAP Chief Strategy Officer, Chakib Bouhdary, did a remarkable job setting the stage of what’s to come from SAP Industries during his info-packed keynote. Immediately following Chakib, Bonnie D. Graham, host of SAP’s Game Changers Radio program led a panel discussion featuring SAP customers DeloitteBlount and Intel. It was fascinating to learn of the different business pain points each customer struggled with and how SAP helped them overcome adversity.

First question to panelists: What was the status quo and what did you need to innovate?
John Irvin, Senior Manager, Analytics and Reporting Studio at Deloitte identified three areas in analytics reporting as serious issues. Time to market was taking 6-12 months and within that time, the customer’s business was changing. “We weren’t agile enough meeting customers needs,” said Irvin. Customers were also asking for functionality Deloitte couldn’t deliver. “We needed to think ‘mobile everything’ and we couldn’t deliver on our current platform, said Irvin. Data latency was also an issue, the best Deloitte could deliver to users was data that was 24 hours old. “They needed real time analytics,” said Irvin.

Mardi Slick, HRIS manager for Blount, one of the world’s largest producers of chainsaws and outdoor equipment, had paper based performance management system that was “pretty ugly”. Complicating matters, HR managers would randomly change the process. “We had no visibility at all,” said Slick. “We’d get 50-60% of performance evaluations sent in late.”

Like Deloitte and Blount, Intel was also looking to make a large group within the company become more productive. Nimish Shah, Director, Enterprise Applications at Intel said he needed to help unleash productivity on all of the company’s mobile devices. As Shah puts it: “How do we bring in unique apps to help the business transform?”

With pain points established, Graham shifted gears and asked panelists to share experiences with their evaluations process. What did buy-in entail and how were teams involved to change things?
For Deloitte, the process kicked off in IT with internal assessments to meet customer needs. 18 months ago, they conducted proof-of-concepts with SAP HANA. This involved compiling contact and influence finder apps, all related to Deloitte customers. These various apps allow Deloitte employees to see all points of contacts for customers. It took three weeks to develop an all-inclusive app, powered by SAP HANA. “That’s when we knew SAP HANA was real,” said Deloitte’s Irvin. “We made decisions to go live with SAP HANA to 300 managers and used that as a raod show for non-SAP folks to show them what we are able to deliver on SAP HANA. We showed business owners we could search through hundreds of millions of rows of data in a second.”

For Blount, the buy-in process first and foremost involved researching top providers for the HR tool they were looking for. “SAP and SuccessFactors were obviously in top three,” said Slick who showed global HR teams both technologies. “SuccessFactors was the direction we wanted to go. Senior leadership said it was viable and exactly what we wanted.”

For Intel, a large part of their buy-in involved releasing enough apps that employees trust. “We wanted to enable a variety of smartphones and reengineer business processes so the look and feel on mobile and desktop were similar,” said Shah. “How do we enable theses ecosystems? We looked at SAP Sybase products, put out SLAs for everything. We’re now using more SAP products as a result.”

At this point in the conversation, Graham asked panelists to elaborate on their game changing experiences. What worked? What didn’t? Lessons learned?
For Deloitte’s Irvin, buy in worked from IT and business users. “That was instrumental to our success,” said Irvin. “We heard a lot of ‘wows’ and ‘that’s amazing’ throughout the entire process.” Getting quick wins was also critical for Deloitte’s success. “Turning people who love the latest and greatest onto SAP HANA was the best thing we could have ever done,” said Irvin.

Blount’s Slick believes it was critical to do proper research and know best practices. Knowing how to manage people was also a lesson learned throughout the process. “You’re always going to get a stodgy person who knows how to do things better.,” said Slick. “Clearly defining intent, and how you are going to get there, helps. People need to feel supported by changes, not annoyed by them.”

Intel’s Shah learned it was an ambitious project to radically change Intel’s business by mobilizing everything with the desire to still gain a lot of value. “Security is something we are still learning about,” said Shah. “There is a lot of fear of data falling into wrong hands.” As a result, new “container levels” were established that tell mobile users if they are in a safe place or if security level is suspect.

When panelists were asked to define key benefits and value derived within 1-3 years, here’s how they responded:
Deloitte’s Irvin: “Users of our [contact information] pilot group are saving 2-10 hours per week of them having to track down information from various systems.”

Blount’s Slick: “Visibility of status is everything. We can see where every evaluation is at, goals, where they are behind, etc. It’s invaluable. We went from being the HR police to empowering managers to do their jobs. We are 100% compliant now which is great. We are properly managing underperformers and superstars as well.”

Intel’s Shah: “We’re saving 57 minutes a day per employee for enabling BYOD which is what we set out to do. Now have 7 million hours saved due to the flexibility mobile offers.”

Five years from now…
For Deloitte’s Irvin, it’s all about SAP HANA. He predicts Deloitte will be completely off Business Warehouse and onto SAP HANA and run its entire ERP system on SAP HANA as well. “Whether finished or just starting it will be happening,” said Irvin. In addition,  Irvin expects all apps developed internally at Deloitte will source all their data from the SAP HANA platform. “That’s the most radical idea in all of this,” said Irvin. “What typically happens in most organizations is you have a hub of data which is fed different interfaces across different areas of the business.”

Blount’s Slick said her company will move to cloud completely in next five years. “It’s much easier to manage and you’re always presented with newest, best-in-industry solutions and they are constantly rolling things out every quarter,” said Slick. “But it has to work on mobile device first.”

Intel’s Shah said he is always exploring new businesses and initiatives, which makes cloud compelling. “The challenges is how to manage business orchestration across cloud offerings,” said Shah. “SAP HANA will be used to help manage mobile needs. Our customers are looking to solve business problems.”

This post originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.