Since April, Beiersdorf has been able to brainstorm more efficiently and innovate faster thanks to SAP Innovation Management. Learn more about its experiences with the solution.
SAP Innovation Management specifically addresses the challenges that companies struggle with most in their innovation processes.
“We wanted to create a new innovation culture with this solution. We want our employees to enjoy being creative, contributing their ideas, and being part of the innovation process,” explains Francesco Goertz, Regional Demand and Innovation Manager, ITG, Beiersdorf Shared Services GmbH.
SAP Innovation Management resulted from a cooperation project with SAP, Beiersdorf and other companies. The product is tailored to what the participating enterprises need and was developed in close collaboration with them. Able to complete its implementation project in just 10 weeks, Beiersdorf Shared Services eventually went live with the solution in April.
Following the successful implementation phase, the SAP team initiated the technical process of setting up campaigns, the first of which Beiersdorf configured and released internally several months ago. Since then, around 400 employees have been able to submit ideas and to evaluate and share opinions about the ideas entered by their peers. The campaigns are the heart of the solution. Yet they are more than just “idea collection boxes.” They provide concrete details about the specific areas or themes the company wishes to innovate upon and the type of proposals sought, be it ideas for new services, products, or process improvements. The campaign creation process, in turn, defines the idea handling process: What phases will the idea go through? What decision criteria will be used? Which idea coaches will support the contributors to this particular campaign?
Beiersdorf Shared Services currently has five campaigns in active use: the product, process, and service campaigns, a trends campaign, and a “campaign of the month.” The first three are devoted to its three most important fields of innovation and focus primarily on process optimization and product innovation. The trends campaign, meanwhile, picks up on on current themes and trends and serves as a source of inspiration. An employee who discovers new trends at an event, for example, can contribute their thoughts and impressions about those trends in this campaign. “We’ve already fowarded a number of very good ideas to our research and development team, so the market should expect to see some new products from us in the next month or two,” says Goertz.
Beiersdorf Shared Services rolled out SAP Innovation Management to its workforce through various channels, including its intranet, workshops, and road shows: “We visited the different departments, explained the process, and conducted live demos to get them more familiar with the tool. And it worked: The first ideas started coming in right after the roadshows.”
“None of the other idea management solutions we used in the past offered the usability or complete functionality we need. SAP Innovation Management, however, meets our requirements to a T,” reports Goertz. “The most important functions for us are campaign management, ratings and evaluations from the community and experts, and the ability to control ideas in the back office and to tag ideas.”
Every idea submitted receives feedback so that employees know the status of their proposal. Rejections are likewise conveyed transparently to all, explaining, for example, why an idea has no potential and will not be pursued.
“Everyone really appreciates this transparency and we are all very impressed by SAP Innovation Management. Since the go live, employees have submitted three times as many ideas as before, averaging nine ideas per 100 employees in the first two months alone. We used to average two to three ideas per 100 employees per year. So we are very pleased about that,” Goertz says.
The solution offers a wide range of functions designed to improve the ideation process. One unique selling point, for example, is the SAP HANA-based Expert Finder: By entering keywords in an SAP HANA-based search engine, users can quickly and easily locate the right subject-matter expert for an idea. Goertz: “We set up a dedicated SAP HANA server for SAP Innovation Management on our virtual platform.”
The solution’s ease of use and comprehensive campaign management function in particular make it easier for employees to share, evaluate, and discuss ideas.
“We implemented the solution using a rapid deployment approach. SAP best practices allowed us to shorten the concept phase and thus expedite the implementation project,” explains project lead Norbert Enge, Principal Business Consultant, SAP Business Transformation Services.
Beiersdorf Shared Services implemented SAP Innovation Management in stages, starting with the kick off in February 2015. After an intensive project preparation phase, the actual implementation began in phase two. The company provided one-to-one training for the key users during this phase, followed by training for the end users during the roadshows.
“The end user training in particular progressed faster than anticipated,” says Enge, “which made us very happy. We were able to reduce effort significantly because the solution is very intuitive and highly mature, right from the outset. That is also reflected in the high degree of acceptance by the end users.”
The implementation of SAP Innovation Management went according to plan, so that the company was able to go live with the solution in the third phase in April.
“The project ran the way you’d always hope for, save for a few minor things here and there that needed attention. All in all, it was a super project and the collaboration was lots of fun,” recalls Goertz. As co-innovator of the solution, Beiersdorf contributed to its development from the very start by channeling its own ideas and wishes into it.
“I am confident that Beiersdorf has made a huge leap forward in terms of innovation management,” adds Enge.
SAP Innovation Management is currently a pilot project at Beiersdorf Shared Services. “Assuming the pilot phase is a success, we will then roll out the solution across the Beiersdorf Group,” reveals Goertz.
Beiersdorf AG is a leading provider of innovative, high-quality skin care products and has over 130 years of experience in this market segment. The Hamburg-based company has over 17,000 employees worldwide and is listed on the DAX, the German benchmark equities index. Beiersdorf generated sales of €6.3 billion in financial year 2014. NIVEA, the world’s No. 1 skin care brand*, is the cornerstone of the company’s brand portfolio, which also includes brands such as Eucerin, La Prairie, Labello, and Hansaplast/Elastoplast. Beiersdorf’s wholly owned affiliate tesa SE, another globally leading manufacturer in its field, supplies self-adhesive products and system solutions to industry, craft businesses, and consumers.
In April 2003, Beiersdorf Shared Services GmbH (BSS) was founded as an independent company within the Beiersdorf Group. BSS is, with More than 400 people worldwide the strategic partner when it comes to IT and Accounting for Beiersdorf. The product range of BSS covers all services of the categories IT workplaces, server & infrastructure, applications, software license, IT consulting, telecommunications and Accounting services. Moreover, BSS develops the IT strategy for Beiersdorf worldwide.
* Source: Euromonitor International Limited; NIVEA by umbrella brand name in the categories Body Care, Face Care, and Hand Care; in retail value terms, 2013.
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