The Simplification programme facilitates a phased transition from SAP ECC to a 'standard' S/4HANA environment. Central Finance is tasked with getting the landscape moving in a controlled way. After a successful Discovery phase in the 4th quarter of 2020, the focus in 2021 was on realising the solution.
From data replication to consolidation
The scope of the first S/4HANA project encompassed more than just Central Finance. It included data replication from SAP ECC to S/4HANA and consolidating Alliander group figures in Group Reporting. This was all built around a new financial data model, including the introduction of a new calculation model.
Fit-2-Standard as a starting point
The Explore phase happened in the 1st quarter of 2021. To build a future-proof solution that helps power a decisive, agile, and cost-efficient Finance department, we focussed on the SAP Best Practice scope items. The Fit-2-Standard workshops ran through the processes around intercompany reconciliation, period closure, outgoing payments, and consolidation. The result is an almost 100% fit with standard SAP.
Agile realisation of the solution
The Realise phase started in the 2nd quarter of 2021. Our Minimal Viable Product (MVP) was Central Finance and Group Reporting. For Central Finance, the standard replication scenarios were already operationally working in the test environment. To handle limitations in the solution, we were forced to activate some BADIs (such as customer orders as classification objects). For Group Reporting, the best practice setup was purely a reference and allows for Alliander-specific Data and Consolidation Monitors. We managed all of this in 3-week sprints, where we provided a review demo to our supporters at the end of the sprint.
An all-of-us-together mentality
The scrum team has a 'focus and do together' mentality. The team is a diverse mix of Alliander Business key users, Alliander IT experts, and McCoy consultants. The team is approximately 10 FTEs, supplemented by ad hoc expertise, which allows us to act quickly and decisively.
Going live with the solution by 1 April 2022
The successful UAT (User Acceptance Test) in January gave us the go-ahead to start the initial data loading over the weekend of 25 and 26 February. During that weekend, we loaded the 2021 and 2022 data for the 47 SAP companies, with over 12 million financial documents.
Over the next two weeks, we were able to fully process the small amount of remaining downtime, and the key users successfully completed the connection checks. And from that point on, the real-time replication of financial documents from SAP ECC to S/4HANA was up and running. There were very few outages, and we were able to process the negligible outages in no time.
The hypercare and aftercare phases were focussed on dotting the I's and crossing the T's, loading the remaining months into Group Reporting (including a link with the current consolidation tool) and handing over to management before closing out the project.
Simplification has given Alliander a solid S/4HANA foundation, paving the way for them to decisively realise their Fit4Future ambitions.
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