“The new company-wide solution combines innovation with transformation and provides a solid global foundation for enterprise and process control using data-driven business models in the cloud,” says Taras Podbereznyj, senior vice president and chief information officer at Kemira, a global leader of sustainable chemical solutions for water intensive industries.

The company, headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, does not shy away from ambitious goals, including plans to realize over a half-billion euros in revenue from biobased products by 2030. With an eye on the future, the company adopted a strategic perspective of digital transformation, one that would not only enable business continuity but create a platform of innovation. 

What does the Intelligent Enterprise for the chemical industry look like?

As of June 1, 100% of Kemira is live on SAP S/4HANA, a transformation which also included a platform update into Azure Cloud. Kemira did not stop there. It introduced SAP Datasphere for reporting where the company is on a journey to adopt a next-generation core enterprise data warehouse solution. On the front-end, Kemira has implemented SAP Analytics Cloud for reporting, analytics, and financial planning. In addition, over 360 interfaces have been converted to SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP), leveraging SAP Integration Suite. All in, the digital program consisted of five initiatives, including an SAP S/4HANA transformation, a redesign of financial accounting, an enterprise data warehouse implementation, a digital data excellence initiative, and a migration of the on-premise interfaces. 

Kemira appropriately called the program LEAP, a representation of the investment it was making in the future of its company and the ambitious timeline and scope of the effort. Innovation played a central role, considering how the company could enable the business with new technology and ultimately drive the business to operate more efficiently. It was no small feat that the very successful big-bang go-live, including a move to Azure, was done in 15 months. Kemira worked with cbs Corporate Business Solutions on this journey, a strategic partner of the company for over a decade.

About cbs Corporate Business Solutions

Consulting excellence for world market leaders – this is what cbs stands for. It advises the world’s most amazing companies: renowned, highly innovative customers and hidden champions of the international manufacturing, chemical, life science, and automotive industry. cbs creates the next generation of enterprise solutions. The company combines end-to-end business process solutions, innovative technologies, consulting for strategy, architecture, and process design with unique transformation services into a market-leading total offering. cbs is part of the Materna Group and employs 1,200 people at 22 locations, including Austria, Spain, Finland, the U.S., Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia. With its global organization and a strong partner network, cbs implements successful customer projects around the globe. For further information, visit https://www.cbs-consulting.com/us/about-cbs/.

The approach to the program was to do a selective data transition from Kemira’s SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) system to SAP S/4HANA. To initiate the project, the team did a comprehensive pre-study to determine what processes to migrate to SAP S/4HANA as-is, which new processes will be enabled, and what new capabilities will be delivered. This approach helped balance the focus and scope of the project, a key element of driving fast value. For example, by leveraging some processes as-is, the team was able to focus on new capabilities like the SAP S/4HANA margin analysis, delivering tangible business results. The work paid off with a very smooth go-live, which covered 400 plants in 37 countries to ensure business continuity, and was enabled by the strong collaboration of many talented people at Kemira and cbs.   

“Considering the extreme complexity of the organizational change, data harmonization and optimization, ONE Finance transformation, migration of interfaces, and innovations in the cloud, we managed the program extremely well. We successfully completed the transition to a completely new platform in just 15 months. The fast value approach was the key to success. cbs had the right methods and tools to make sure the ambitious project was successful. Our in-house experts know the Kemira world and the company’s processes inside out, so it was the perfect combination,” explains Podbereznyj. 

We have the right cloud ERP for you

For Kemira, cloud readiness is about being future-oriented. It made a deliberate decision to implement a fast transformation to stay ahead of the competition. The team rightly sees this work as pioneering next-generation SAP business architecture, which also builds on Kemira’s early success with SAP solutions, including SAP Integrated Business Planning for Supply Chain. Data has been at the heart of this program and will continue to steer the company as the foundation for innovation and insights. Cloud readiness is about delivering value-based transformation to the business. This means supporting new digital business models, enabling new levels of agility, and becoming more competitive in the market.       

“Kemira has made the leap to the cloud and has digitized its entire process world. The company is now ideally positioned for the future. With the implemented platform, the company can take advantage of all follow-on SAP developments and remain at the cutting edge of technology. This gives it a clear, innovative lead over other companies that may not reach this stage of development for another five years,” says cbs CEO Rainer Wittwen. 

The relationship with cbs Corporate Business Solutions has been built on this holistic approach, translating strategy to business transformation. The teams recognize this does not happen overnight and even with a successful implementation behind them, transformation requires a continuous mindset of innovation. For Kemira and cbs, this journey continues as the company looks to take advantage of the new technology and execute on its commitment to its customers. For Kemira, this is about delivering “chemistry with a purpose.” The investment in SAP and new business technology is about enabling this vision and fueling profitable growth with connected business models, data-driven decision-making, and integrated business processes.

Matt Reymann is global VP for Chemicals Industry Business Unit at SAP.