PostNL lays foundation for innovation with SAP S/4HANA

In an increasingly competitive landscape, you need to be able to respond quickly to changes in the market. For more flexibility and agility in the back office domain, PostNL is therefore making the move to SAP S/4HANA. The postal company is doing so with the help of RISE with SAP.

For over 220 years, PostNL has been providing ‘special moments’, for example in the form of a mail piece that falls on the mat. The company first did so under the names PTT Post, TPG Post and TNT Post. PostNL has been the new name since 2011. With more than 50,000 people working at or for PostNL, the company ensures that an average of 7.4 million postal items and an average of 1.1 million parcels are delivered five days a week. On peak days, that can rise to 2 million parcels a day.

Full-cloud strategy

SAP and PostNL are no strangers to each other. As part of its full-cloud strategy, PostNL already chose a few cloud-based SAP solutions about ten years ago. These were SAP Business ByDesign, SAP Billing and Revenue Innovation Management (SAP BRIM) and SAP SuccessFactors for finance, billing and human resources.

Overall, PostNL moved its entire application landscape to the cloud between 2012 and 2016 in order to then close its own data centers. This transition was intended to lower IT costs and provide greater flexibility and scalability. “That scalability proved itself, among other things, when parcel delivery was at an absolute peak during the corona pandemic,” says Willem-Jan van Tongeren, director of Central Business and IT Services at PostNL.

Ready for a next step

During corona, however, PostNL also came to the conclusion that it was time for the next step in the back office landscape. “We have a stable landscape, but notice that during peak times like around Christmas and Sinterklaas, there is a lot of pressure on our systems,” Van Tongeren explains. “We need even more scalability.”

In addition, PostNL is dealing with an expiring contract for the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (SAP HEC). This is the environment in which SAP BRIM runs. The complexity of the current landscape also hinders innovation, while maintenance requires a lot of manual work.

“We need to move to an even more manageable management model and make even greater use of standard solutions and best practices from SAP,” Van Tongeren said. “This will create an architecture that allows you to create beautiful products with simple building blocks. And therefore allow more focus on the areas where we really want to make a difference.”


With RISE with SAP, PostNL aims to modernize and simplify its target architecture and make it even more competitive. This Business Transformation as a Service package makes the journey to “RISE with SAP S/4HANA, Private Edition, Tailored Edition” for PostNL as easy as possible. Among other things, SAP customers use RISE with SAP to redesign and simplify their end-to-end business processes and eliminate customization. This allows them to move to a modular, flexible ERP without unnecessary “ballast.

PostNL is taking about a year and a half to implement SAP S/4HANA. Van Tongeren: “In moving to SAP Business ByDesign and SAP BRIM, we have already achieved a standardization of processes for all of PostNL. This makes the step to SAP S/4HANA much easier for us than for organizations coming from SAP ECC with a lot of customization. The gaps are very small.”

Phased implementation

PostNL’s various business units are being transferred ‘as is’ to the new ERP platform in phases. “With a phased implementation, we create speed and realize our technological business case in a short period of time,” Van Tongeren concludes. “After that, we start working on the possibilities that SAP S/4HANA offers for innovation. That innovation allows us to respond even faster to changes in the market and to the needs of our custom