Rohrer Group: “Unified Reporting Needs a Unified System”

With an eye on standardization across all its 45 subsidiaries, industry services provider Rohrer Group is migrating to SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Its controlling department is smack dab in the middle of things, working jointly with management and IT toward a common goal.

The conglomerate’s biggest challenge, according to Maria Mitteregger, head of Controlling, is “being be able to react flexibly to the market.” The young business administration graduate is part of the team currently driving the company-wide migration to SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

“It was Maria who informed us that our current system was stretched to the limit,” recalls Johann Rohrer, the company’s founder. This predicament comes as no surprise since controlling must collect, consolidate, and analyze data across all 45 subsidiaries in 14 countries of operation – each country relying a different solution. With Rohrer Group constantly expanding, “It was clear this couldn’t continue,” explains Mitteregger. Her motto is, “Unified reporting needs a unified system!”

Mitteregger first became familiar with SAP software during her studies. “But that was the ‘old’ SAP software, of course,” she grins. “The ‘new’ software has a much better look and feel to it.” Rohrer Group nevertheless kept its options open and looked at a number of different software providers before deciding what to select. According to project lead Michael Friess, SAP S/4HANA Cloud ultimately came out on top due to its global reach. However, the software does have be tweaked in places to prevent compliance issues.

“For example, in the Romanian market,” notes Mitteregger. “We noticed during the introduction phase that the solution isn’t 100 percent mature in all areas yet.” Once the migration to the cloud is complete, however, this shouldn’t be a problem anymore because automated updates will help the system evolve at pace.

No Disruption to Users

Retaining the necessary flexibility on the one hand while being confined to pre-set standards on the other is no small dilemma. That is why Rohrer Group decided to move its standard logistics and accounting processes to the cloud but leave its special industry knowledge right where it is, on premise, in its tried-and-true custom development. This was a good compromise for Mitteregger, who finds that the cloud can be rigid.

Rohrer’s IT department has therefore linked the existing solution to the cloud via interfaces so the user departments can keep working uninterrupted and all standard requirements of the classic enterprise resource planning (ERP) system remain covered. System administrator Jörg Steinlechner explains, “Our job as an IT department is to provide applications that support company processes and ensure the smooth running of operations.” Likewise, Friess is taking pains to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum during the transition.

Meanwhile, Mitteregger and her team are preparing the company as best they can for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Not only have SAP specialists already been onsite to explain the solution, but the company has also organized a number of migration-related info sessions and workshops, Mitteregger says. She herself has attended the workshops for controlling and accounting, and, since Rohrer Group is also moving its purchasing and sales processes to the cloud, the workshops covering materials management. “This migration affects the entire company, so I wanted to get as complete a picture as possible,” she explains.

Reporting Without Spreadsheets

Mitteregger is fully aware that companies don’t exactly rejoice at the thought of switching software systems. Stereotypically, such reluctance to change is more prevalent among older colleagues. But not at Rohrer Group. “Everyone in our department is young at heart!” she boasts.

As a firm believer in communication, Friess concurs. IT needs to know what management and user departments want, he points out. That’s why Friess relies on internal collaboration platforms and Skype for smooth communication among all project parties, including external partner S&T. Still, this isn’t the only way knowledge is exchanged. Sometimes, all it takes to solve a problem is a short walk across the hall to your colleagues, confirms Mitteregger. As such, she appreciates support from management, which, likewise, “takes a direct approach to solving problems.”

But what about the external requirements? Rohrer puts it like this: “We have a number of big-name customers, such as BASF, Shell, voestalpine, and OMV. These customers are themselves SAP software users and insist on data transfer via SAP.” So for Rohrer, switching to SAP S/4HANA Cloud is “a basic necessity.”

Mitteregger agrees. Though she and her colleagues currently work with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, she can well imagine the company trending more toward business intelligence software in the future. After all, she quips, “We’ve got plenty more ideas!” These visionary ideas might just define the shape of things to come at Rohrer Group.

This story originally appeared on the German SAP News Center.
Top photo via Rohrer Group