Global renewable giant Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is an outcome of the merger of Siemens AG’s wind power business with Spain’s Gamesa in 2017. The company has decided to implement SAP S/4HANA to standardize processes and manage global operations.
Headquartered in Zamudio, Spain, Siemens Gamesa is a global provider, pioneer, and leader of the wind industry, working at the center of the global energy revolution to tackle the most significant challenge of our generation: the climate crisis. A global business with local impact, Siemens Gamesa has installed more than 110 GW in 74 countries and provides access to clean, affordable, and sustainable energy that keeps the lights on across the world. In 2020, it had 26,000 employees and earned revenue of €9.5 billion.
With the goal to be the global leader in the renewable energy industry, the company is driving the transition toward a sustainable world by growing its onshore and offshore businesses. To succeed, it needed to have one standard enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system in place quickly, and to move out of its dependency on Siemens’ legacy systems to fully operate independently and globally. The IT model that would take it into the future consolidated 11 different SAP system infrastructures into one global SAP architecture.
Greenfield Implementation of SAP S/4HANA
“It wasn’t possible to run the new IT on the infrastructure Siemens Wind power or Gamesa already had, since it couldn’t be scaled,” CIO Alan Feeley says of the decision to migrate to SAP S/4HANA. “However, we already had a long history of using SAP software and a great deal of knowledge and experience.”
The decision was made all the easier since the existing systems had reached the end of their life cycle.
Siemens Gamesa decided to pursue a greenfield approach, core of which is SAP S/4HANA, run in a hybrid Azure cloud, which SAP partners Infosys and Microsoft jointly created and developed. Further separate cloud solutions include the SAP Ariba solution for procurement, the digital B2B marketplace Ariba Network, and SAP Field Service Management. The legacy data centers were shut down at the end of March 2021.
With SAP, MRS, and SAP Field Service Management together, the solution is used to efficiently plan the deployment and resources of on-site service employees. “If a technician visits a plant in the middle of the North Sea, for example, it’s important that they have all the parts they need with them,” Feeley explains.
Process Efficiency, Standardization, Scaling
When rolling out SAP S/4HANA over a period of 18 months, the company’s IT department initially created a pilot template for the UK and Ireland. In October 2020, it extended the pilot to seven countries. “The rollout was fairly challenging, but very successful,” says Alan Monaghan, global lead for the SAP S/4HANA program at Siemens Gamesa. SAP partner Infosys supported the migration to the new system.
Now the company intends to roll out the new ERP system in an additional 13 countries and plans to use it in use in 60 countries by the end of 2023. The system has been implemented across all divisions, in its onshore, offshore, and service business, and for central corporate functions. Ultimately, more than 10,000 users and several thousand service employees will use it. The remaining connections to the old SAP systems at Siemens will end in summer 2021.
Sophisticated change management will bring the employees from the two companies together, true to the project’s tagline, as “One SGRE” (Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy). Any given process should work in the same way across the new entity.
SAP S/4HANA is at the center of this strategy. “We consolidated the legacy systems from Siemens Wind power and Gamesa and put the entire company on the path of digital efficiency,” says Feeley. Looking to make processes efficient, standardized, and scalable, he adds, “We wanted to harmonize our business processes and cut complexity.”
One System for All Siemens Gamesa Service Teams
“Our service teams across the various countries had been using various mobile platforms to support the execution on site,” says Neil McLaren, service project manager at Siemens Gamesa. “Now we have one core component, SAP Field Service Management, and it is easy to deploy. The feedback from our staff overall has been positive.”
Business solutions architect Stefan Winkelmann says: “Before migrating to the new system, each country had its own logistics processes. Standardizing them has been a big step forward. Now we only need to train people once and deploy the process anywhere in the world.”
The merger brought together two companies with various legacy systems. So before the new entity could transform its IT, it had to harmonize processes and process ownership.
The transformation project encompassed a large number of applications. All products — such as those for product lifecycle management, customer relationship management, human resources, enterprise and project planning, and reporting — had to be integrated simultaneously and adapted to the new SAP S/4HANA system.
Yet there was one challenge the project could not have foreseen — the start of the main testing phase coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. More or less overnight, the team had to switch to working remotely. “Fortunately, we had everything ‘technology-wise’ to connect all stakeholders virtually,” Monaghan says. “We adopted very quickly to the new way of managing all the respective implementation teams.”
The project team were working to a tight schedule in order to meet the legal requirement that the new company cease using Siemen’s legacy systems. It also needed to ensure it met local compliance and regulatory standards, as well as Siemens’ accounting standards.
The project achieved everything it set out to do. According to Feeley, “The project is fulfilling our expectations and we are confident the global roll-out will contribute to our target of reducing complexity by 30%. We already see IT cost efficiencies linked to the introduction of the single SAP system, operated in a modern hybrid cloud data center setting.”
Having one system for operations and one common data lake – the single point of truth – has harmonized processes across all divisions and regions.
“At Siemens Gamesa, we have accelerated our time-to-market and made our productivity plan more transparent,” Feeley notes. “SAP S/4HANA enables us to stay ahead of our competitors – despite increasing cost pressure in our industry.”