Cloud Computing

How HPE migrates to SAP S / 4HANA in three years

From more than 10 ERP systems to the cloud
HPE wants to get rid of the current ERP systems within three years and migrate to S / 4HANA. A calculation job, says CIO Archana Deskus.
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise strives to consolidate its old ERP systems in less than three years on SAP's S / 4HANA, a task that Senior Vice President and CIO Archana Deskus think another company needs four or five years to do.

Of course it helps that HPE is an IT service provider and sells powerful servers that are optimized to run S / 4HANA, but there's more than that, says Deskus: To migrate so quickly, you also need to learn to make the right compromises and get a buy-in for the project from above.

HPE is not so much half the HP from the past, but more a third or a quarter. Following the spin-off of printer and PC maker HP Inc in 2015, HPE sold its old service arm to Computer Sciences Corp. in early 2017. (CSC) to form DXC Technology and then to sell its business software business to Micro Focus. In its last financial year, HPE reported sales of $ 31 billion compared to $ 103 billion before the split.

The original HP had grown through a series of acquisitions - Compaq, Aruba Networks and Autonomy are among the largest - and the pattern has continued since the split, with HPE swallowing SGI, SimpliVity, Nimble Storage and Cray. That, and a history in which business units and regional sales organizations were given considerable operational freedom, had left its mark on HPE's IT infrastructure, which included ten or more ERP systems, according to Deskus.

"We were too complex for the company that we are today .... not only in the complexity of systems, but also for a lot of business complexity," she says. "Many of the business processes and rules are not really built around what we need today".
Support at the highest level

Earlier in her career, as executive director of the ERP program at aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney (now part of United Technologies), Deskus recognized the importance of getting a buy-in for senior-level ERP changes. Before she got involved, she says, the company had tried three times, without success, to migrate to a single ERP system.

"It must start at the top," she says. "If it is not in the top two or three priorities in an organization, it will not work. It must really have that unwavering support at the highest level. The intention last time was good, but it was touched by a lot of other things that were going on within the company ".
At HPE she has that support. Antonio Neri, who joined the company as CEO a month after Deskus, remains committed to his predecessor's HPE Next transformation strategy. As far as the IT function is concerned, this strategy aims to achieve five things, says Deskus: simplifying and standardizing the way the company works around the world; automate those processes as much as possible; deliver a better user experience for employees and partners; turning data into a strategic essential more than in the past; and free up new possibilities.

That means about 400 applications have to retire and about 600 million dollars in associated costs have to be scrapped, she says. Standardizing the way the company operates globally and what it runs on will help reduce costs.
"If you have many different ways to do everything, from the way you manage master data to the way you make quotes to your customers, even things like shipping policy, if you have to support all these variants, you can go to one technical implementation "But you really didn't make the leap forward that was the main driver," she says.

Without it, global customers - and even employees moving to a new division - will feel like they are working with or for different companies.

There is a lot of room for automation: 80 percent of HPE's commands require some form of human intervention to be entered into the system. Reducing the costs and the delay in volume sales, however, requires a more solid basis for e-commerce. "It requires one ERP, so we don't have to enter into multiple systems or risk a fallout," says Deskus. "We are very focused on the extent to which it can flow directly from our partners into the sales channel throughout the entire quotation, configuration, order and delivery chain."

Last year, the Global Finance module from SAP became one of the first components of the system to be rolled out worldwide. Earlier this year, some pilot countries became the first to move order management and supply chain to S / 4HANA, while the rest of Europe will follow this year and the American continent next year.

HPE has not done all the work itself. Deskus says that "a large part" of its IT organization has been outsourced to DXC, the former HPE service provider, while the integration of the new systems has gone to Deloitte. However, according to her, HPE still had to hire new employees to bring in some of the required skills.
The pace of change

Could another company of similar size be able to replicate the performance of HPE to consolidate ERPs at the same pace? Well, maybe.

HPE does have some advantage in using its own technology, says Deskus, in particular the Superdome Flex high-end modular server that it offers in a 24TB shared-memory version for executing SAP's HANA in-memory database.

"I think it comes down to the mentality. The message from our managers is:" Speed ​​is important, "which inspires people to adapt faster," she says.

Another key to rapid progress is setting priorities and not striving for perfection. "It is OK if, for example, we reach 80 percent, 85 percent of the desired end state, and then we will probably add or adjust the rest along the way."
It is still necessary to weigh risk and reward against each other. "We had to make decisions at the end of the year: Are we going live or are we going to wait until the books are closed? The timing is not just about technical feasibility, but also about looking at your business cycles."

Deskus has preferred to wait a few times, but that is still no guarantee of safety. "There will be a disruption, no matter how much planning is made," she says. "You break down logic for decades and no matter how much time you spend on development, requirements and testing, there will always be things that come up after you go live."
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