Since its founding in 1962, Elkjøp had been known for the continuous improvement of its business processes. As the last decade ended though, the company faced a quandary – maintaining its reputation while being saddled with 12 different legacy software systems.

In order to support its vision for a next-generation retail experience, Elkjøp decided to replace all 12 systems with a new integrated architecture. The dramatic, cloud-based overhaul resulted in a next-gen retail platform that has both improved workflow and delivered 100% uptime.

The strategy has yielded an array of other benefits for Elkjøp, including:

  • 100% in-store mobility for employees
  • 500 legacy interfaces evaluated and either replaced, updated, and/or re-connected
  • 4,500 employees trained on new systems using an e-learning platform

But these achievements only came about because Elkjøp was willing to take a critical look at what employees and customers needed and honestly assess the changes that had to be made.

What’s in a Name?

In Norwegian, the brand “Elkjøp” literally means “el buy” – with the “el” being a shortened version of elektrisk (electric) or elektronisk (electronic).

It’s no surprise, really, since the Oslo-based company is the largest consumer electronics retailer in the Nordic region.

A subsidiary of Dixons Carphone, a multinational consumer electrical and mobile retailer and services company, Elkjøp sells a variety of goods, including mobile phones, computers, and kitchen and other domestic appliances to both consumers and businesses.

With a brisk online trade, as well as more than 400 stores, the company employs over 11,000 workers while operating under a number of names in its home country, as well as Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.

Stepping into the Future

The decision to create the next-generation retail platform did not come easily – Elkjøp had little choice but to take this dramatic step. Systems serving critical processes did not support the latest innovations, and the legacy retail systems could not provide mobility to the sales staff.

In order to deliver certain services or close a sale, a store representative might be forced to leave a customer, seek out a desktop computer, then return. Other times, employees had to log in and out of multiple systems to complete a sale. In addition, legacy systems were incapable of adapting to new business models, like wireless subscriptions.

Change was critical, yet daunting. Upgrades to systems capabilities meant adjusting all 12 different interconnected legacy systems, touching 500 different interfaces.

As Elkjøp re-evaluated its strategy, it turned to a solution that had been serving the company well for several years.

Cloud-First Advancement

Elkjøp first deployed SAP ERP Central Component in 2015. The application is a core component in managing transactional and financial processes. Modules communicate with each other, working to create a fully integrated solution specific to customers in a variety of industries.

Because of this successful experience, the company opted to base its next-gen retail platform on SAP ECC and other SAP solutions. A number of requirements were met with micro-services based architecture – software applications designed as suites of independently deployable services.

Custom add-ons came from ASAPIO/Kafka, enabling information to flow between SAP and non-SAP applications, on premise and in the cloud, in real time.

The monitoring challenges of Elkjøp’s high volume retail business were supported with an approach centered on SAP Fiori – a set of applications for business functions, like work approvals, and apps specializing in finance, calculation, and various self-service tasks.

Failover architecture was created to protect computer systems from mishaps, allowing standby equipment to automatically take over if something went wrong.

Unified Execution

The next-gen retail platform went live in Denmark on May 8th, 2020 and was quickly deployed in 110 of the 460 stores. Changes were immediately evident. Using one unified customer master record, the new architecture delivered a seamless customer journey across in-store and online channels, with employees better prepared to anticipate clients’ wants and needs.

Today, employees say the next-gen retail platform has enabled them to be more productive, while customers report quicker service times both online and in person.

For “delivering the retail experience of the future,” Elkjøp Nordic earned the distinction as a finalist in the 2021 SAP Innovation Awards, meeting the key requirements of improving customer experiences, solving complex challenges, and serving the greater good. Learn more in Elkjøp’s SAP Innovation Awards proposal.

Keith Greenberg is an SAP Global Marketing contributor.