OMV prepares for sustainable growth

Embracing integrated business processes to help onboard acquisitions seamlessly

8-minute read
In partnership with
SAP, Microsoft and IBM logo

International oil and gas company OMV Aktiengesellschaft aims to achieve net-zero operations by 2050 or sooner — and embracing new operating models and green technologies could play a key role.

To help OMV and any newly acquired companies meet this ambitious target, the company is working with IBM® Consulting to build standardized, integrated processes on SAP S/4HANA®, harnessing an innovative deployment methodology based on IBM Rapid Move for SAP S/4HANA.

Markus Berthold, Vice President Corporate IT at OMV, takes up the story: “The oil and gas industry will evolve dramatically in the coming years. For leaders like OMV, the flexibility to respond to these changes will be crucial to build a resilient, competitive, and future-ready business.”

Acquisitive growth is a key component of OMV’s long-term strategy, with planned investment of EUR 10 billion to ensure the organization is ready to take on new technologies and business models as they emerge.

Pedram Naderi, SAP S/4HANA Business Program Manager – OMV Downstream, continues: “Investing in sustainability is an important goal for OMV, and acquisitions could play a valuable role in that process. It will therefore be extremely important that we can onboard new business units seamlessly and efficiently.”

OMV is made up of three divisions: Upstream (oil and gas exploration), Downstream (refining, marketing, distributing and retailing) and Corporate (global activities such as finance, procurement and IT). In the past, each division relied on separate SAP® ERP processes and systems to drive day-to-day operations — complicating the process of integrating acquired companies.

Erich Reiter, SAP S/4HANA IT Program Manager Downstream at OMV, comments: “Our Downstream business includes three refineries and more than 2,000 filling stations in 10 countries. In the past, we managed the retail and oil businesses using two separate SAP ECC instances. As well as being costly to maintain from an IT perspective, the legacy environments were highly customized, and complexity made it difficult to make changes.”

Construction engineer planning and briefing for safety and build factory in oil refinery plant.

Consolidates 170 company codes into

1 SAP S/4HANA

instance, enabling faster reporting

We see that SAP S/4HANA will give us the agility to adapt fast to a changing market. The role IBM played in OMV’s recent success in Asia-Pacific also factored into the decision to make IBM Consulting a strategic partner on the global rollout of SAP S/4HANA.
Markus Berthold
Vice President Corporate IT, OMV Aktiengesellschaft

Christian Seeber, SAP S/4HANA Corporate Business Program Manager at OMV, confirms: “Previously, we maintained nine separate charts of accounts and a large data warehouse to consolidate financial data from all international OMV businesses. Because there were many different reporting standards, creating a global view of our key performance indicators was very difficult. If we continued with the old approach, acquisitions, with their own systems and processes, would further obscure the picture.”

To prepare for the future, OMV embarked on a major transformation program, designed to enable highly integrated business processes that promote greater operational efficiency and facilitate change.

“Adopting more consistent processes across the global business will deliver big benefits to all OMV stakeholders,” comments Berthold. “As well as empowering us to bring future acquisitions into a unified group structure, this approach will allow us to build global centers of excellence for key process areas, creating economies of scale and unlocking new efficiencies.”

Petroleum oil refinery engineer worker in oil and gas industrial with personal safety equipment PPE to inspection follow checklist by tablet

Building on trusted partnerships

Man refueling his car at the gas station

As part of a separate project to complete a new Upstream acquisition in Asia-Pacific, OMV had previously engaged IBM Consulting to deploy next-generation SAP S/4HANA solutions. The project allowed OMV to double its Asia-Pacific production capacity in just seven months — and the success gave the company the confidence that SAP S/4HANA was the optimal platform to enable its long-term transformation goals.

“We see that SAP S/4HANA will give us the agility to adapt fast to a changing market,” comments Berthold. “The role IBM played in OMV’s recent success in Asia-Pacific also factored into the decision to make IBM Consulting a strategic partner on the global program to deploy SAP S/4HANA across the group.”

OMV decided to implement the new SAP solutions on SAP HANA® Enterprise Cloud, hosted on Microsoft AzureExternal Link infrastructure.

Reiter adds: “As part of our cloud-first strategy, we’re looking to move as much of our infrastructure as possible to hyperscalers. Microsoft Azure is one of our go-to cloud providers. We also used the combination of SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud and Microsoft Azure on our recent Asia-Pacific project, so we knew firsthand that the solution could meet our requirements around performance, availability, and scalability.”

Working closely with experts from IBM Consulting, OMV mapped out the architecture for the new, integrated SAP S/4HANA business systems. In the Corporate division, more than 170 company codes for 140 legal entities would be consolidated to a brand-new SAP S/4HANA environment, with a unified global chart of accounts for rapid reporting and faster financial closing. In the Downstream business, two SAP ECC instances would be consolidated into one SAP S/4HANA deployment. Wherever possible, region- or division-specific business processes would be replaced by standardized workflows, enabling future centralization of core functions to global centers of excellence.

“We plan to standardize our business processes wherever it makes sense to do so — and SAP Master Data Governance on SAP S/4HANA gives us the opportunity to bring our Downstream and Corporate divisions into closer alignment,” explains Berthold. “Crucially, we can still allow for custom processes to meet country-specific requirements or industry best practices.”

During the project planning phase, OMV realized that it would be important to tailor its SAP S/4HANA deployment methodologies to the respective needs of its Downstream and Corporate businesses. In the Corporate division, the company aimed to harness new capabilities such as SAP Central Finance, streamlining financial data integration and enabling a common group reporting structure. In the Downstream division, the priority was to preserve OMV’s investments in customized SAP ECC solutions for retail, which offered important competitive advantage.

Based on these requirements, IBM Consulting recommended using a hybrid approach. For the Corporate business, IBM proposed a greenfield methodology, building a new SAP S/4HANA environment underpinned by end-to-end workflows for order-to-cash and procure-to-pay. For the Downstream deployment, IBM leveraged its Rapid Move methodology — powered by CrystalBridge, the cutting-edge data transformation software from IBM Business Partner SNPExternal Link — to reduce the cost and complexity of bringing custom SAP ECC retail solutions into SAP S/4HANA.

“One of the biggest benefits of working with IBM is their global reach and strategic partnerships,” comments Berthold. “IBM understands OMV’s business and has experience with SAP deployments for the oil and gas industry. IBM’s strategic alliance with SAP and its partnership with SNP gave us the peace of mind that they could deliver on our goals from the new SAP S/4HANA solutions.”

For the Corporate division, IBM formed a dedicated taskforce to cleanse the company’s existing master data in preparation for the move to SAP S/4HANA — laying the foundation for faster reporting and innovations such as automated vendor invoice management.

For the Downstream division, IBM Consulting used the data transformation platform CrystalBridge from SNP to reduce the number of data migrations and SAP solution integrations required during the SAP S/4HANA deployment. IBM also used solutions from smartShiftExternal Link to automatically convert custom code for deployment in the new platform and worked with SRBExternal Link to deliver intelligent asset management solutions.

Despite the disruption of Covid, we went live with our new Downstream and Corporate SAP S/4HANA solutions on time and within budget, which is a testament to the hard work and close partnership between OMV and IBM Consulting.
Markus Berthold
Vice President Corporate IT, OMV Aktiengesellschaft

Accelerating the digital transformation

Mid-way through the global SAP S/4HANA journey, the COVID-19 pandemic swept around the world. IBM and OMV rapidly pivoted to remote working, replacing in-person meetings and workshopping sessions with video calls.

“The support from IBM was excellent throughout the pandemic and beyond,” says Berthold. “In fact, remote working proved to be extremely efficient. With a follow-the-sun approach, our teams in Europe could test the SAP solutions and then hand over to IBM developers in the India time zone to pick up, enabling us to work more quickly.”

As the Covid pandemic subsided and travel restrictions eased, OMV had the option to resume in-person meetings. However, remote working was going so smoothly that the company decided to continue with the approach, avoiding thousands of miles of airline travel and reducing the project’s carbon footprint.

Berthold adds: “Despite the disruption of Covid, we went live with our new Downstream and Corporate SAP S/4HANA solutions on time and within budget, which is a testament to the hard work and close partnership between OMV and IBM Consulting. Moving to SAP solutions in the Azure cloud has already reduced the company’s IT maintenance spend, improving cost-effectiveness.”

With SAP S/4HANA, OMV is building a digital core that will enable more efficient future operations. Crucially, defining standardized, integrated processes will make it easier to bring new acquisitions onboard, helping OMV to seize the initiative as the industry evolves.

Norbert Löscher, SAP S/4HANA Corporate IT Program Manager at OMV, elaborates: “Working with IBM Consulting, we’ve moved 170 company codes into a single instance of SAP S/4HANA in our Corporate division, and built a new finance template to consolidate nine separate charts of accounts into one. As a result, it’s now much easier to close our books at the end of each month, and to get a clear view of group-level financial performance.”

Seeber adds: “Going forward, our goal is to use SAP Central Finance to leverage the real-time capabilities of SAP S/4HANA for group reporting. In the Corporate division, we will create a reporting layer that can capture transactional accounting data from all business systems across the group — including the new SAP S/4HANA platforms and our global Upstream business, which is currently running on SAP ERP.”

Berthold comments: “Gaining a consistent view of our group financial data will be a game-changer for OMV. For example, we’re now developing machine-learning algorithms in Azure Synapse Analytics to create real-time cashflow forecasts. This insight will enable us to better predict the result of shifts in foreign exchange and global commodity prices, and there are many other analytics use cases to explore.”

OMV is also beginning to measure significant benefits for its Downstream operations. In its refineries, employees are using SAP S/4HANA to log notes and events, helping to improve the efficiency of handovers between different shifts.

“Our refinery teams are always looking for ways to optimize their operations, and with SAP S/4HANA it’s now much faster and easier to gain an accurate view of their key-performance indicators,” states Reiter. “In the long term, our goal is to use the SAP solution to enable predictive maintenance capabilities — helping us to maximize the availability of our assets and reduce costs.”

As it moves towards its 2050 objective, OMV is confident that it has the optimal platform to build a resilient, future-ready business.

Berthold concludes: “Without a doubt, the oil and gas industry will look very different in the years to come. Thanks to our partnership with IBM and SAP, OMV is now creating the digital core that will allow us to meet the changes ahead of us with confidence.”

OMV logo
About OMV Aktiengesellschaft

OMVExternal Link produces and markets oil and gas, as well as innovative energy and high-end petrochemical solutions. With a workforce of around 25,000 employees in 2020, OMV is one of Austria’s largest listed industrial companies. In Upstream, OMV has a strong base in Central and Eastern Europe, with Middle East and Africa, the North Sea, Russia and Asia-Pacific. In Downstream, OMV operates three refineries in Europe and owns a 15% share in ADNOC Refining and Trading JV.

SNP logo
About SNP

IBM Business Partner SNPExternal Link is a leading provider of software for managing complex digital transformation processes. Instead of traditional IT consulting in the ERP environment, SNP offers an automated approach using specially developed software: the data transformation platform CrystalBridge and the SNP BLUEFIELD approach is designed to enable companies to restructure and modernize their IT landscapes quickly and securely — reducing time and costs.

Solution components
OMV logo
About OMV Aktiengesellschaft

OMVExternal Link produces and markets oil and gas, as well as innovative energy and high-end petrochemical solutions. With a workforce of around 25,000 employees in 2020, OMV is one of Austria’s largest listed industrial companies. In Upstream, OMV has a strong base in Central and Eastern Europe, with Middle East and Africa, the North Sea, Russia and Asia-Pacific. In Downstream, OMV operates three refineries in Europe and owns a 15% share in ADNOC Refining and Trading JV.

SNP logo
About SNP

IBM Business Partner SNPExternal Link is a leading provider of software for managing complex digital transformation processes. Instead of traditional IT consulting in the ERP environment, SNP offers an automated approach using specially developed software: the data transformation platform CrystalBridge and the SNP BLUEFIELD approach is designed to enable companies to restructure and modernize their IT landscapes quickly and securely — reducing time and costs.

Solution components