In times like this, businesses can learn to operate better and stronger than ever. Every unforeseen challenge brings opportunities to adapt faster and overcome the unknown with resilience. And for SAP customers, it’s also a moment of exponential growth in ingenuity and intelligence – everything necessary for a sustainable recovery.

Sometimes, there is no way to learn from the past. The historical shifts experienced throughout 2020 have certainly proven this fact. But instead of sitting idle, businesses have confronted every unique challenge by thinking differently about the world around them.

From work-from-home arrangements to increased process automation, every adjustment has helped companies realize that how work gets done is more important than where their people carry it out. For example, within the services organization at SAP, we quickly shifted to off-site delivery of our offerings. This innovation, shaped and continuously fine-tuned over the past 25 years, allowed us to help businesses in every industry navigate through the contours of their economic condition while keeping the lights on and seizing the moment to transform.

As I reflect on this whirlwind that was 2020, I am amazed at how our customers handled an array of changes by responding quickly, recovering resiliently, and reimagining their business confidently. And, those that relied on our outcome-based services to open new doors to expert knowledge and accelerate innovation achieved meaningful outcomes that position them well for the future.

But don’t take my word for it. Here is a recent snapshot of how our customers are turning these extraordinary times into unparalleled opportunities.

Shaping Business Units Into Economic Catalysts

To support a well-admired portfolio of brands containing Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen, and IZOD, the fashion powerhouse PVH Corp. wanted to harmonize its retail and fashion business units while optimizing manufacturing and wholesale functions. This strategy required a modern, intelligent platform that was designed explicitly for the industry.

PVH Corp. achieved that goal by migrating its legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to the SAP S/4HANA solution for fashion and vertical business. With a premium-level partnership from SAP MaxAttention, the overall implementation project was smooth and safeguarded with on-site and off-site pre- and post-launch checks. The services also helped the company roll out the latest standard functionalities of the intelligent ERP – including a successful cutover in Hong Kong and Macau (China) without customizing interfaces and experiences.

Saving Valuable Resources by Managing Data Better

BRF S.A. is one of the world’s largest food companies, nourishing people in 150 countries across five continents with a portfolio of over 30 brands. Such a feat requires continuous innovation and process improvement, a stable IT system, and a reliable analytics environment.

To acquire this foundation for better data processing and analysis, BRF implemented SAP IQ and the SAP Business Warehouse application on SAP HANA with assistance from SAP MaxAttention and other SAP services. This approach enabled the company to define a solid deployment plan and an aging-data strategy, which included removing 1.9 terabytes of data from a “hot layer” of memory without deleting information.

Engineering the User Experience with Greater Efficiency

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) sought to remove costly and ineffective work processes quickly and efficiently across the enterprise to accomplish more with fewer people, less operational budget, and little time. But at the same time, the company needed to strengthen the overall quality of its customers’ user experiences.

HPE found the answer to this dilemma by leveraging a business operations self-healing service delivered through SAP MaxAttention. This choice allowed the company to simplify its IT processes and implement new technology with a successful 100% off-site delivery. IT issues are now automatically resolved to support smooth operations across its technology landscape, enabling a customer experience that offers intelligent, near-seamless, and effortless interactions.

Easing Commutes for More Than 40,000 People

Facing significant growth in its resident and worker population, the City of Zug recognized the necessity of extending its infrastructure with forward-looking investments. One of these projects was easing traffic congestion and resulting environmental impacts with smart mobility technology that better manages parking, encourages car sharing, and makes public transport more convenient.

Collaborating with Deloitte, BMW, and innovation services and solutions from SAP, the Swiss city’s public services team developed a proof of concept based on SAP Cloud Platform. The use of existing solutions, best practices, and current knowledge from BMW and SAP portfolios accelerated the development of a high-quality, interoperable smart-mobility platform designed to provide e-car, car-sharing, and digital valet parking services.

Transporting Millions of Passengers with Data-Driven Insights

Železničná spoločnosť Slovensko a.s. (ZSSK) is committed to improving the quality of life for people in regional areas through sustainable mobility. But the railway transport company needed to communicate that message better throughout Slovakia with marketing campaigns that attract more passengers.

ZSSK sought the expertise of JUST IT Solutions s.r.o. and the SAP Advisory Services team to modernize its software landscape to set the foundation for data-driven decision-making. Both SAP and the partner consulted on the solution architecture design and overall project management of the implementation of SAP S/4HANA. After a smooth go-live of SAP S/4HANA and the SAP Marketing Cloud solution, the company now carries out targeted marketing tactics with more accurate customer segmentation and timely access to critical business and financial indicators.

Serving the Energy Needs of 3 Million Households 

With a mission in supplying clean and safe energy in Korean households, Samchully Co. Ltd. is committed to laying the groundwork for continued sustainable growth. But first, the liquified natural gas distributor needed to transition from an aging on-premise landscape to a modern cloud platform.

Through the SAP ActiveAttention services, Samchully was given direct access to a dedicated technical quality manager who supported the firm’s move to SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA on SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. Proactive support and advice before and during the go-live provided a clear path to cloud readiness and supported migration rehearsal tests in collaboration with a team of SAP experts across different time zones. Afterward, practical follow-up support further optimized the implementation to help ensure the platform was fully scalable, secure, and reliable, and reducing IT costs and complexity.

Responding Faster to Help Customers Overcome Challenges

Mining contractor Macmahon Holdings Limited wanted to meet customer demand better by increasing operational visibility and agility. The company turned to our services organization for help, using the SAP Value Assurance plan and safeguard service package for SAP S/4HANA Cloud and the SAP Preferred Success for HXM solutions from SAP. Also, our partners Deloitte Australia and Full Circle Partners gave expertise to help ensure a smooth transition.

By establishing a unified business operations platform, the company now has a single source of truth across all its markets. Furthermore, it can support advanced technologies, inspiring further innovation of processes and customer services.

Fundamental Lessons from 2020: The Power of Ingenuity and Intelligence

Without question, 2020 has been quite a test for business leaders and their workforce. But as these customer stories show, many companies are surviving – even thriving – as they pivot toward simpler processes, optimized operations, faster response to demand, and more meaningful employee experiences.

Despite all the chaos and uncertainty, there are many reasons to celebrate. How else could we have known how innovative and intelligent our businesses could be? And just think, with everything we know now, how remarkable 2021 could be!

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Shane Paladin, president of Services at SAP.