We heard from Luc Boon of BAM last time out in our preview of customer stories due to be told at the upcoming #Financials2017 conference in Amsterdam. For our third and final customer story preview before the event, here are some thoughts from Daniel Goersch of British American Tobacco.

The Customer Speaks

Please tell me a little bit about your project and the SAP software you’ll be talking about at the SAPinsider conference.

Several years ago, BAT started a project to replace all of its local, regional, and global financial planning and consolidations solutions with a single SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC) solution. This was done on the back of the rollout of a single instance SAP ERP implementation and the move towards a new global operating model. Now, with the final step of the journey complete and all legacy applications replaced, we will look back at our achievements, what roadblocks we’ve encountered, and how we’ve overcome them to implement innovative functionality that combines the advantages of local flexible Excel-based tools with the robustness of a global enterprise-strength solution.

What was the biggest lesson you learned as you undertook your project?

The technical go-live of a new solution is only the first half of successfully generating business benefits. It is paramount that both the business function and IT work together in embedding and stabilizing the processes enabled by the solution. This requires a period of ongoing adjustments and enhancements to functionality stretching over a minimum of two or three cycles. During this period a reasonable balance needs to struck between stabilizing the solution and rolling out new functionality. Overloading the users with new features, even if this is to meet their demands, can undermine the stabilization efforts. Instead, observing the solution for how it is really used, which can often be different from the original intent, can bring vital insights.

Without giving every detail away, can you describe one of the business impacts or benefits that you have experienced?

One of the biggest benefits is that we have not merely landed a replacement of the legacy global financial management solution. The old solution had served Group management very well but was of little benefit to markets, essentially just functioning as a data capture solution for numbers generated offline or in other local tools. Our new BPC solution, on the other hand, also addresses local requirements, functioning as a bottom-up planning solution to create local business value, too. Combining both aspects in a single tool provides a foundation for wide-reaching benefits beyond mere cost reduction. This includes far better accuracy and reliability of data, improved comparability and ultimately stronger insights into our business.

Thank you, Daniel, for these wonderful insights. I’ll be sure to attend your session in Amsterdam!

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