SAP Partner

UKISUGConnect 2019 Review: Data, Data and Corn Flake Recipes

By Vincent Dunlop

We’re fresh out of UKISUG Connect 2019 that hit the stages of the ICC Birmingham for the 7th consecutive time. The bluewaveSELECT team joined other SAP professionals on the three-day journey and spent quality time attending many of over a hundred sessions that had been planned for this year. 

As usual, the ICC hosted an all-star lineup of speakers, with 90 hours of SAP knowledge served steaming-hot by industry leaders. The message from 2019 UK & Ireland User Group Conference was clear – if you’re planning a move to SAP S/4HANA, you absolutely NEED to get your data right. 

If you missed the event, don’t worry. We’ve put together the highlights and takeaways from the conference so you know what to look out for in 2020!

SAP UKI Quality Winners

After the opening keynote speeches, there was a SAP UKI Quality Awards presentation that brought Kellogg’s Gold in the Business Transformation category. The two other Gold winners were Amey and Centrica in Fast Delivery and Innovation categories respectively. 

During the presentation, Kellogg’s IT Director Rich Bradley said that if they did the project again, they would spend much more time on data, a sentiment shared unanimously by other companies present who had migrated to S/4 HANA or were in the midst of a transformation. 

When Kellog’s went live with their programme, they realised how easy it was to overlook key data or, as Bradley phrased it, that there was no longer any corn in the master cornflakes recipe! Luckily, Kellog’s immediately addressed the problems so consumers can still expect their usual cornflakes to pour out of the box. 

Jazz Pharmaceuticals came second in the Business Transformation category and won Silver for their programme. John Mahon, Executive Director, IT Technical Operations & Finance, said Jazz opted for a Fit to Standard approach to its implementation. They went live with S/4 HANA as a Greenfield programme in 11 months, which is no mean feat. Mahon is also the man who coined ‘Data, data, data’, as the biggest priority for his programme, and the recurrent theme for the rest of the conference.

Given the heavily regulated nature of the pharmaceutical industry and its own financial year cycle, the Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ programme required extra effort before liftoff. There was no margin for data error and the project team had a narrow window to go live. If they had missed it, the programme launch would’ve been delayed for a whole year. 

Data sizing for S/4HANA 

Further into the closed customer experience sessions, Burberry’s Greg Turner and Paul Tomlinson discussed the company’s successful migration from IS-Retail system to S/4HANA and the roadmap for the future. Turner, who’s Burberry’s Global VP – Core SAP, Finance and HR Business Partner, said that designing and delivering the data solution for the programme was like moving all of your belongings from a big house and trying to fit them in to a small apartment. 

Moving to S/4HANA means a downsizing of landscape and Burberry had to deal with data chores first and ensure that it only brought critical data across so that it would fit in the new, smaller, environment. The key lessons learnt were that it’s crucial to start data archiving as early as possible in the process and put the highest priority on getting their data needs correct. 

In other words: measure twice, cut once! 

Jayshree Kerai, Senior Business Analyst for Pentland Brands (that includes Speedo, Canterbury, Kickers and Ellesse), dove into the ins and outs of deploying SuccessFactors in 6 months and 6 days and again emphasised the need to get the data right. She went further to say they had been advised not to underestimate the effort and focus needed to deliver a successful data solution. But even though Pentland put extra effort in to prepare, the hindsight revealed it still wasn’t enough to cover all loose ends. 

Mark Holmes, Principal Enterprise Architect at BT, covered the nitty-gritty of data archiving and GDPR. Holmes said data legislation such as EU GDPR along with essential Data Archiving activities, not currently supported in S/4 HANA, are the key influences on his programme planning.

The company has substantial amounts of data to consider as part of its integration of SAP ECC, inherited from the EE acquisition, into a single, global S/4 HANA platform. 

Food for Thought

UKISUG Connect 2019 is over, but we should carry its main takeaway into 2020 and beyond – there’s no point implementing a multi-million pound SAP system if the data in that system is not fit for purpose. It’s now official that Data joins the traditional triumvirate for programme success of People, Process and Technology as its fourth essential as showcased in Rich Bradley’s Gartner slide on his Kellogg’s presentation above. 

See you at UKISUGConnect 2020!

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