To eliminate inefficiencies and achieve economies of scale, Veolia ANZ set out to integrate its back-office functions across its water, waste and energy divisions.
Teaming up with IBM Services, Veolia ANZ introduced integrated finance and procurement processes with SAP S/4HANA, in a fully managed environment using IBM® Cloud for SAP Applications.
>30% time savingon reporting to the group headquarters in Paris
10% time savingon month-end financial reconciliations
Saves moneyby helping Veolia take full advantage of bulk-buy discounts
Business Challenge Story
Spotlight on service quality
Veolia ANZ is a leader in its field, supplying vital water, waste and energy services to commercial, municipal and industrial clients across the region.
Satha Pillay, CIO of Veolia ANZ, explains, “Veolia’s ability to deliver stand-alone or packaged services across water, waste and energy enables our clients and the communities where we operate to reach their sustainability goals.
“Veolia is on a strategic journey to deliver an integrated business to drive efficiency within our own business, delivering better service and sustainability outcomes for our customers. To achieve this business transformation, we needed to undergo a digital transformation delivered through standardization, automation and digitization.”
A key outcome of Veolia ANZ’s journey has been to replace legacy, heavily customized and unsupported systems. This legacy network of systems resulted in a complex and fragmented IT landscape.
Maintaining disparate systems led to data inconsistencies and significant duplication of effort. Veolia ANZ was determined to realize a more streamlined business through standardized, automated and digitized business processes and network.
Taking the plunge
Embarking on the first step of its transformation, Veolia ANZ decided to deploy the SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management solution, a core application covering all mission-critical processes of an enterprise. SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management is natively built on the SAP HANA® database, and designed with the SAP Fiori user experience. Specifically, Veolia is harnessing the SAP S/4HANA Finance and SAP S/4HANA Sourcing and Procurement parts of the SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management solution.
To reduce the complexity of the legacy system, the company opted for a greenfield deployment of SAP S/4HANA, and engaged IBM Services for help on the journey.
Satha Pillay continues, “We selected SAP S/4HANA because it allowed us to introduce automated, best-practice processes for finance and procurement. Because SAP S/4HANA is powered by the SAP HANA in-memory database, it supports lightning-fast analytics. Additionally, SAP S/4HANA is the next generation of SAP solutions, and SAP offers a strong roadmap for the platform.
“We engaged IBM because IBM is a trusted Veolia partner, having managed many successful SAP implementations for our worldwide subsidiaries. Additionally, working with IBM allowed us to rely on the same vendor for the implementation, application management and cloud services. We have a single point of contact and enjoy peace of mind that if anything goes wrong, IBM will fix it.”
IBM and Veolia ANZ carefully assessed business requirements, and mapped processes as close as possible to a standard SAP S/4HANA implementation. By reducing customization, Veolia ANZ can expect a reduction in the time and expense required for future upgrades or enhancements.
IBM designed, built and tested the new solution according to the IBM Ascendant methodology for SAP deployments and IBM’s program management methodology. The IBM team also built more than 40 real-time and batch integration interfaces between Veolia ANZ’s key enterprise systems using SAP Process Orchestration. Furthermore, IBM used SAP Data Services to perform the extract, transform, load (ETL) processes over 30 master-data and transaction-data objects in the data migration between various enterprise applications. Accurate integration and data migration were critical to the success of the project.
SAP S/4HANA Finance now supports Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, General Ledger, Controlling, Banking, Fixed Assets and Project Accounting for Veolia ANZ. SAP S/4HANA Sourcing and Procurement supports Materials Management and Procurement.
“We made a commitment to our group headquarters in Paris to go live with SAP S/4HANA by a certain date,” recalls Satha Pillay. “IBM worked tirelessly with us to ensure that the project was completed on time and within budget. IBM and Veolia staff worked as a single team, and we forged a very strong relationship.”
IBM also helped Veolia ANZ implement the SAP Access Control for SAP S/4HANA application, and build new roles-based access management controls to ensure that personnel can view only information that they require for their jobs, tightening security. Additionally, the IBM team deployed SAP Single Sign-On to provide a smoother user experience to employees accessing the SAP S/4HANA solution and SAP Fiori mobile applications.
Veolia ANZ decided to run S/4HANA on IBM Cloud for SAP Applications in line with the company’s cloud-first strategy and aim to decommission all data centers by 2019. At the time, many cloud providers were not yet offering SAP S/4HANA, or Veolia felt that their offerings were not yet mature. IBM enabled the company to take advantage of the latest SAP platform right away.
The cloud model enabled Veolia ANZ to deploy S/4HANA rapidly and avoid upfront investments in new infrastructure. Furthermore, the IBM Cloud for SAP Applications team monitors the systems on a 24/7 basis to support 99.9 percent availability – which would be difficult to achieve in an on-premise deployment – and keeps a close eye on data security. IBM Services helped Veolia ANZ simplify and accelerate its transition to the cloud, and provided application innovation services for the SAP S/4HANA deployment.
Satha Pillay remarks, “Cloud gives us flexibility on a whole new level. For example, if I want to try out a new idea, I can spin up a test server for a few hours and pay only for the computing resources I use. Changes like that give us much greater freedom to innovate as we aim to continuously improve our operations. We are very happy with the service from IBM Cloud for SAP Applications.”
The SAP applications are managed by IBM Services, marking a significant culture change away from Veolia’s previous model of managing its legacy system in-house. Within just a couple of months, the IBM and Veolia teams built a happy, fruitful relationship, and the Application Management Services team now acts as Veolia’s single point of contact with IBM.
Sparking major savings
With harmonized processes and a common system for finance and procurement across its three lines of business, Veolia is already reaping major efficiencies.
“Previously, reporting involved manually collating data from the disparate systems underpinning our water, waste and energy lines of business,” recalls Satha Pillay.
“We have shaved around 10 percent off the time taken to complete month-end financial reconciliations. And we have slashed the time taken to generate reports for our group headquarters in Paris by over 30 percent. Thanks to automation, our employees no longer need to worry about creating reports – instead, they can focus on analyzing the numbers to gain insights into our performance and areas for improvement. It’s a game-changer for productivity.”
Veolia ANZ’s suppliers stand to benefit too, as the company can harmonize billing and reporting across water, waste and energy services.
Satha Pillay comments, “The benefits on the procurement side have been remarkable. In the past, buyers sometimes ordered products from local suppliers, because they were unaware of the bulk-buy discounts we negotiate with suppliers. With SAP S/4HANA, we can ensure that buyers order only from approved suppliers at the relevant discount – simplifying compliance. Since all procurement data is stored in SAP S/4HANA, we can report on it at a very granular level, identifying areas of waste and inefficiencies. Furthermore, we can gain much deeper insight into the types of products and services we are buying, and how much we are spending, helping us gradually optimize our procurement.
“We have also improved our procurement cycle, as managers can approve purchase orders on-the-go using SAP Fiori applications on their mobile devices, rather than having to wait until they can access a desktop.”
By transitioning its finance and procurement functions to SAP S/4HANA, Veolia ANZ has reduced support and licensing costs for the legacy platform. Furthermore, the company has been able to decommission other finance systems, cutting costs and simplifying its IT landscape.
“SAP S/4HANA, the IBM application management services and IBM Cloud for SAP Applications have improved the way I run the IT department,” explains Satha Pillay. “I do not have to worry about sourcing and retaining the right skills in-house to support our business-critical applications. And I can sleep better knowing that IBM is monitoring SAP S/4HANA around the clock, and will address any issues that arise. It’s an improved way of life for the IT department – IBM handles the day-to-day management, so we can focus on innovation and adding value.”
Building on its success, Veolia ANZ is working with IBM to develop PunchOut catalogues integrated with SAP S/4HANA, taking its first steps towards e-procurement.
The company also plans to build an online portal, giving customers an entirely new channel and greater choice in how they interact with Veolia ANZ. The portal will also act as a hub of vital information for customers who choose to manage their dealings with Veolia online.
Satha Pillay concludes, “Our SAP S/4HANA implementation with IBM is just the first step on our transformation journey. We are realigning our business to boost efficiency and improve customer experience, harnessing standardization, automation and digitization. We have already made significant headway, and we have many more exciting things in the pipeline.”
About Veolia Australia & New Zealand
Veolia supplies water, waste and energy solutions to help cities and industries around the globe manage, optimize and make the most of their resources. Headquartered in Paris, France, the company employs 163,000 people worldwide and serves both public- and private-sector clients.
- IBM-SAP Alliance
- IBM Global Business Services
- IBM Cloud Managed Services for SAP Applications
- GBS AD&I - EA - SAP