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DSAG Reports That Momentum Has Shifted to SAP S/4HANA

By Robert Holland, VP Research and Publishing, SAPinsider

On January 23 the German-speaking SAP User Group (DSAG) released their 2020 Investment Report which was based on interviews with representatives from 288 different companies. The highlight of the report was that, for the first time in four years, planned investments in SAP S/4HANA exceeded planned investments in SAP Business Suite.

The turning point that DSAG highlighted was that “large and medium-sized” investments in SAP S/4HANA on-premise and public cloud (52% of respondents) exceeded those in SAP Business Suite (35%) – last year the numbers were 42% and 43% respectively. Forty-six percent of respondents said that their overall IT budget would increase in 2020, and 49% said that they would invest more in SAP solutions during 2020. The DSAG report did not provide any insight into the reasons behind these numbers, though it did indicate that this increase in investments was not consistent across sectors. For example, 24% of organizations in the manufacturing sector reported that their budgets had fallen.

Figure 1: DSAG statistics on investment shift from SAP Business Suite to SAP S/4HANA

Source: www.dsag.de/pressemitteilungen/switch-s4hana-complete

More importantly, DSAG also indicated that they are seeing a threefold increase in the number of organizations that already have SAP S/4HANA in use since their 2019 report, and the number of respondents who indicated that they planned to complete their migration to SAP S/4HANA this year nearly doubled. Their finding on this topic, as explained by DSAG Chairman Dr. Marco Lenck, was that: “SAP S/4HANA finally arrived on the market in 2019. It is expected that this number will continue to rise over the next three years. An impressive 40% of respondents expect to make the transition during this period.”

These numbers align with what SAPinsider has seen over the course of 2019 in our own surveys, particularly in our “SAP S/4HANA in the Cloud” research report that we published in December. While the respondents to our survey showed a slightly higher number of European customers that had already deployed SAP S/4HANA, this was a larger regional base than the customers DSAG was interviewing as it included both German and non-German speaking Europeans. Although we did not break down our respondents in an identical manner, the proportions of those who already have SAP S/4HANA deployed, are in the process of deploying, or are still in the process of evaluating the business case reflect very similar trends.

For example, we saw that 10% of European respondents were in the process of deploying SAP S/4HANA vs. 9% of DSAG respondents who indicated they would complete their deployment this year. In addition, we saw that 62% of respondents indicated that they were running proofs of concepts (PoC) or were evaluating the business case for SAP S/4HANA, while 63% of DSAG respondents said that they would perform a migration either within or after the next three years.

Figure 2: DSAG statistics on plans for SAP S/4HANA deployment

Source: www.dsag.de/pressemitteilungen/switch-s4hana-complete

While DSAG’s data is showing that businesses surveyed are shifting to SAP S/4HANA, they also found that the percentage of organizations using the SAP S/4HANA public cloud remains in single digits. Despite slow adoption of public cloud, 24% of respondents indicated that they planned “large and medium-sized” investments in Microsoft Azure, a clear leader in terms of potential investment as an application platform, as reported by DSAG. Fourteen percent of respondents said they planned “large and medium-sized” investments in SAP Cloud Platform and 8% of respondents said they planned “large and medium-sized” investments in Amazon Web Services. Dr. Lenck’s conclusion was that: “SAP’s existing customers need to be better informed when it comes to the general functionalities of the cloud solutions.”

Lenck’s conclusion very much aligns with what SAPinsider has heard from our customers, including responses publish in our July, 2019 report “Enterprise Cloud Migration: State of the Market,” where even those who were leading in the area of cloud migration did not rate their knowledge levels as strong or very strong in most areas.

While our “SAP S/4HANA in the Cloud” report published in December, 2019 showed us that adoption of a public cloud environment was slower than private cloud, we did see that 19% of respondents were running in the public cloud, of which nearly two thirds were using a hybrid environment. In addition, in our “Enterprise Cloud Migration: State of the Market” report published in July we saw that 21% of respondents were currently using the public cloud, and 24% planned to do so within the next year. This tracks very closely with the fact that public cloud platforms represented 32% of “large and medium-sized” investments in the DSAG report.

What Does This Mean for SAPinsiders?

Based on our research and the results from the DSAG report,

  • Expect an acceleration in SAP S/4HANA adoption. While European customers have been slightly slower to adopt SAP S/4HANA and the cloud than those in other regions, and are being driven by different factors when it comes to that adoption, DSAG reports that the growing momentum behind customers’ shift towards SAP S/4HANA represents a tipping point. Investment in SAP S/4HANA is growing globally, and that will result in an acceleration of the platform being deployed both in 2020 and in coming years.
  • Decide on your SAP S/4HANA strategy soon. The DSAG report indicated that 13% of their respondents had still not reached a decision on their migration strategy. While this is a slight reduction from 2019, the fact that adoption is accelerating and that an SAP S/4HANA deployment is a significant investment of time and resources, those who are undecided or evaluating their business case need to reach a decision on their strategy soon. One possible repercussion of a failure to do so will be the inability to leverage their System Integrator or consultant of choice.
  • Educate yourself on cloud-based solutions and technologies. DSAG indicated that they believe part of the reason for a lack of adoption in the public cloud is that customers need to be better informed. SAPinsider’s research has shown that knowledge is key to any successful cloud adoption. Now is the opportunity to learn while most customers are still not very far into their digital transformation. A huge opportunity to not only learn about the cloud but also to hear what other customers are saying about their own SAP S/4HANA journey is to attend the SAPinsider Las Vegas conference in March.
  • Leverage SAP tools to help make your decisions. While Dr. Lenck indicated that customers needed more decision-making aids for SAP S/4HANA, SAP already has many tools available such as the SAP S/4HANA Readiness Check, SAP Transformation Navigator, and SAP Pathfinder. While these may not cover every possibility, they do provide a strong starting point to understanding what a migration to SAP S/4HANA will entail.


SAP Doubles Down on the Cloud and Customer Focus in FY2019 Results Release

By Robert Holland, VP Research and Publishing, SAPinsider

On January 28 SAP conducted their Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2019 Results Release, and announced that they had met all of their 2019 revenue and profitability targets – albeit with their cloud numbers only passing the post because of a single very large Q4 transaction.

SAP 2019 targets

Source: https://news.sap.com/2020/01/sap-announces-preliminary-fourth-quarter-and-full-year-2019-results/

In discussing the results, co-CEO Christian Klein noted that SAP is seeing an increasing number of large transformational deals in the cloud space, with those with over €5 million representing a third of the total deals. Klein also reported that the overall number of SAP S/4HANA customers has increased to 13,800, and a notable number of large companies are implementing SAP S/4HANA that have no previous SAP deployments. However, SAP wants to continue to expand the reach of SAP S/4HANA Cloud beyond its current 2,300 customers. Addressing cloud adoption in general will be a goal for SAP in 2020 as they look to accelerate the integration of acquired cloud assets. SAP also plans on increasing their vertical solutions in the cloud during 2020, though Klein did not provide any specifics on those solutions.

Adding to the message that Klein delivered, co-CEO Jennifer Morgan emphasized that SAP’s priority for 2020 is “successful and satisfied customers.” In Morgan’s words, SAP plans on “cross-pollinating their engineering teams to drive better integration, pushing for a higher adoption of solutions, and a focus on operational excellence.” Furthering this focus on customers, Morgan stated that all sales teams would be having their bonus packages restructured to include a consumption component – ensuring customers are not just purchasing software but are actively using it. Following up on this point, CFO Luka Mucic clarified that it was very important to understand that this was not just related to sales, but that services, support, development, and cloud operations would all have that consumption-based bonus component. Tying this back to SAP’s customer commitment, Mucic said:

Everyone needs to be pushing to make customer success a top priority. Customers must feel the benefit.

Looking at momentum across SAP’s regions, they are seeing a significant growth in cloud revenue globally – with particular growth in EMEA where cloud revenue increased by 47% in 2019, a region that has to date been slower in cloud adoption. When asked about this, Mucic said that:

Cloud is very prevalent here. Customers want a tight handle on privacy, but Germany is now a very strong performer. The second largest cloud country [for SAP].

Morgan stated that SAP had made a strategic decision early in 2019 to focus on SaaS and not IaaS with Qualtrics as the growth engine behind this. While Qualtrics only represents a small portion of SAP’s overall cloud revenue, it is growing, with a 40% increase in deals over €100 thousand, and a 60% increase in deals over €1 million. SAP expects that Qualtrics will continue to be the growth engine for the Experience Management (XM) vision consisting of Human Experience Management (HXM), SAP SuccessFactors, and SAP Fieldglass, as an accelerant for Employee Central, and Customer Experience (CX), SAP C/4HANA, which is the largest and fastest growing category in XM. SAP’s goal is to integrate their XM products with their existing Intelligent Enterprise strategy and leverage their relationships with the hyperscalers to provide a high-performance solution for customers engaging in digital transformation initiatives.

Answering a question about the rapid growth in SAP S/4HANA customers, Klein indicated that 40% are net new to SAP. Klein sees this as an indication that SAP is winning market share. Klein also stated, in a sentiment similar to what was noted in the DSAG investment report, that when it comes to SAP S/4HANA adoption:

Technology is not always the biggest problem. It is about changing business processes that have been around a long time.

He also said that part of the issue with adoption is the huge demand for skilled resources from partners, and that SAP is working to help upskill globally. This has also helped SAP ramp and expand its own services business which has seen a steady growth in margin over the course of 2019.

Focusing on SAP S/4HANA, a very interesting point that Morgan made was that over 50% of license revenue is coming from existing SAP S/4HANA customers expanding their deployments. SAP S/4HANA is also having a significant cross-fertilization impact per Mucic, who said that after an SAP S/4HANA implementation is completed customers want to modernize other systems. This leads to increased growth in other integrated platforms and products. Finally, when asked directly about whether SAP would reassess the commitment to ECC end of maintenance in 2025, Klein’s response was that SAP has been in constant communication with customers and to “expect communication soon with more clarity.”

What does this mean for SAPinsiders?

  • Leverage SAP’s commitment to transparency and heeding customer feedback. Morgan and Klein listed several key priorities for 2020, but something that was repeated throughout the call was the focus on customers. Klein, Morgan, and Mucic all highlighted this point on multiple occasions. SAP representatives say that they are listening and are committed to improving the internal understanding that everything starts and ends with the customer. They also say ensuring customer success is their number one priority. Hold them accountable in your day-to-day interactions.
  • Track and utilize the integrations SAP is planning. SAP has acquired multiple assets in the cloud space, but they have not been fully integrated into the SAP suite. Morgan said that in Q4 SAP completed the integration of SuccessFactors HR and SAP S/4HANA Finance. Integration with Ariba procure-to-pay will happen in 2020. The same is true for Concur, with detailed roadmaps to follow in a few weeks. SAP is committed to ensuring that when someone buys SAP it is a real business process integration.
  • Wait and see on vertical cloud solutions. While the reach of SAP S/4HANA has expanded, SAP understands that they must increase their vertical solutions in the cloud if they are to truly drive a similar expansion of cloud adoption. Klein did highlight an increased focus on industry-specific cloud solutions but provided no roadmap or details.
  • Expect an increased push for SAP S/4HANA adoption on Azure. Slides from the presentation highlighted “Microsoft Embrace,” no longer just project “Embrace,” with a focus on propelling the adoption of SAP S/4HANA in the cloud. While talking points mentioned both GCP and AWS, and the fact that working with hyperscale environments makes it clear that performance is key to winning, the emphasis on the Microsoft Azure relationship that developed in 2019 is just as strong for SAP in 2020.


Bob’s Discount Furniture Grows from 40 to 120+ Stores with Improved Warehouse Management

Warehouse managers leverage SAP Extended Warehouse Management to integrate with SAP ECC and scale with the business by Pierce Owen, VP of Research and Publishing, SAPinsider Most (59%) leading SAP supply chain customers — companies achieving significantly better supply chain business results than the competition — currently use a warehouse management system (WMS) to manage…...

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SAP Focuses on Customers and SAP S/4HANA at FKOM 2020

By Robert Holland, VP Research and Publishing, SAPinsider

At SAP’s annual Field Kick Off Meeting (FKOM) in the U.S., Spain, and China last week, the key message for their global sales force and partners who were attending was “Forward Together.” As at previous FKOM events, this was an opportunity for SAP to not only inspire and incent their sales organization, but also to recognize their most successful partners from 2019.

This year, the Barcelona event was keynoted by co-CEO Jennifer Morgan, while the Las Vegas event was led by executive board member Adaire Fox-Martin. Juergen Mueller, CTO and executive board member, led the event in Macao. Although the individual sales messages vary slightly by region, the overarching message in each location was one of getting back to SAP’s roots as a way of driving success.

Alicia Tillman Twitter post

While the slogan for the event was “Forward Together,” the message that was highlighted by multiple speakers, and as seen in the tweet above by SAP’s CMO Alicia Tillman, was that of customer focus. The message was bolstered by speakers like Marty Mrugal, Global Head of Customer First, who spoke about how his organization drives customer success, and Adaire Fox-Martin, who emphasized the same message of refocusing on customer success with post-sales teams that consist of Customer Engagement Executives, Customer Success Executives, and tools like Totango and the SAP Customer Portal.  Given that the message coming from user groups like DSAG has been that SAP needs to listen more to their customer base, especially those that want to continue to run on-premise, the customer-centric theme was not surprising.

SAP Continues to Be an ERP Focused Company

Another message that was highlighted at the Las Vegas event was that, at its core, SAP is an ERP company. This was emphasized when Adaire Fox-Martin made SAP S/4HANA one of the main topics for her keynote. She also highlighted SAP S/4HANA customer stories like Marathon Petroleum. Later in the event, DJ Paoni, President of SAP North America, discussed the fact that there were 173 SAP S/4HANA go-lives in North America in 2019.

While this may not seem like a large number compared to SAP’s overall ERP customer base, given the time and complexities in migrating and upgrading an ERP system, along with the numbers we have seen in our surveys across the year showing a gradual acceleration of those evaluating or in the process of deploying SAP S/4HANA, this does show a positive trend. We will track this number across the course of 2020, and what SAP says at events like SAPPHIRE and TechEd.

This focus on ERP is also a way for SAP to get back to something that has been its core business since it was founded and provides a point of stability around which it can focus and continue the drive towards the cloud. However, the lack of emphasis on other topics in the keynotes does leave some questions about where some of the more forward-looking topics SAP pushed in 2019 fit into the picture.

What Does This Mean for SAPinsiders?

SAP uses the FKOM event to energize the sales force to get them aligned on a single message as they head towards SAPPHIRE.  That means these messages will be the high-level focus for account reps as they talk to customers across the SAP ecosystem in 2020.

  • Expect the push to SAP S/4HANA to continue – especially in the cloud. While cloud may not have been highlighted as significantly in this year’s FKOM keynotes, SAP continues its transition toward being an enterprise cloud company, and that is where it wants customers to be running. But with SAP S/4HANA being front and center in executive keynotes, SAP will continue to push customers to a migration, ideally running in a cloud-based infrastructure.
  • Make your voice heard. In all locations, the key message was that account executives must be listening to customers. SAP wants customers to have a successful post-sales experience, so leverage the resources that they are making more available and see whether SAP is really practicing what they preach.
  • Listen closely to SAP’s messaging. SAP’s major sales and marketing event for 2020 is still a few months away, but we’ll start to hear an early indication of what that messaging looks like as SAP executives like Sven Denecken and Frank Ciannella speak at our SAPinsider Las Vegas conference in March. You will also have the opportunity to hear what over 40 customer speakers are saying about their own SAP implementations at the event.
  • Tell us what you’re experiencing. SAPinsider is currently preparing a research report that provides an updated state of the market on SAP S/4HANA migration. If you are evaluating, piloting, planning, deploying, or have no interest in deploying SAP S/4HANA, please take the survey we’re currently running and give us your insight.


Case Study: Preparing your ECC for SAP S/4HANA

by Robert Holland, VP Research and Publishing, SAPinsider

For customers who are planning for the migration to SAP S/4HANA, ensuring that you are prepared can be just as significant a task as doing the migration. What is needed to ensure success is an understanding of the tools that are available to help with that preparation, and good advice from someone who has already been through the process. Tammy Powlas, an SAP Mentor and Senior Business Analyst at Fairfax Water, is just the person to help ensure that you are as prepared as possible for that migration, and to provide you with an overview of what she has learned that will make your journey that much easier.

Chartered in 1957, Fairfax Water is the largest water utility in the state of Virginia, and one of the 25 largest in the country. With approximately 450 employees, they have one of the lowest commodity rates in the Washington metropolitan region and are one of only a handful of water utilities in the country to receive a AAA rating from the top three financial rating services.

Fairfax Water are currently running ECC 6.0 EhP8, and initially performed a sandbox migration to SAP S/4HANA 1809 during 2019. This was largely so that they could evaluate the functionality of the release, as well as get an understanding of how their existing ERP data would look and perform in the new system. Having learned from their experiences with the previous deployment, Fairfax Water is currently planning a new sandbox migration to SAP S/4HANA 1909, which they plan on performing during 2020. Although they use a third-party hosting provider, Fairfax Water are currently tied to the on-premise version of the product because the utility focused modules they require are not yet available in SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

What Fairfax Water found during their initial migration was that the bulk of the work in planning for the migration was getting the data ready up front. The most helpful tools that they used were the programs that identified any data that needed to be cleansed. Even if someone believes that their data is ready, being able to identify whether there is something as small as the wrong tax jurisdiction code for a region can help avoid issues that might otherwise come up as problems during the migration.

Some of the tools that Fairfax Water have leveraged are the SAP S/4HANA Readiness Check, a continuous quality check with Enterprise Support, and they are also part of the SAP S/4HANA Movement program. One of the tools that they are most looking forward to utilizing in their migration is the newly released Customer Vendor Integration (CVI) Cockpit. Only announced in October and available for installation via an SAP Note, the new CVI cockpit is intended to help provide a seamless integration to all the reports, transactions, and components that would normally be required to execute the Business Partner Synchronization process.

To hear more about what Fairfax Water is doing with SAP S/4HANA, and understand how you can prepare for your own migrations and deployments, come and hear Tammy speak at the SAPinsider 2020 conference in Las Vegas where she will present a case study that covers “Preparing your ECC for SAP S/4HANA,” and will also deliver sessions on “Enhancing memory performance of SAP HANA with data-aging” and “Early Customer Experience with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud.”

View our full agenda here and take advantage of our Early Bird special before January 31!



What to Expect From Our SAPinsider 2020 Event: Insights From Rizal Ahmed, President and Head of Research, SAP S/4HANA and Cloud at SAPinsider

On March 17-19 in Vegas this year at SAPinsider’s 2020 conference the word that will be buzzing around every room in the Bellagio is SAP S/4HANA, and for good reason. From our research we know that moving to SAP’s latest upgrade is the most consuming, important decision and project that SAP customers are facing, and everyone has to decide whether they will make the move now or closer to 2025.

To support this complex decision-making process we’ve built out a massive track of sessions at the event on SAP S/4HANA that will cover:

  • How to build the business case for SAP S/4HANA
  • Guidance for making decisions around where and how to deploy (on cloud, on-premise, hybrid environment)
  • How to migrate data and code
  • Identifying the technical and business challenges of moving to SAP S/4HANA
  • Real-life stories and case studies from SAP customers who have or are currently making the transition

The transition to SAP S/4HANA, while huge, is only one of the things SAP customers are thinking about in 2020. Businesses and technology are changing rapidly and companies have to start taking advantage of their data and considering whether or not they will move to the cloud. There’s a backdrop of change and issues regardless of whether you’re on the technology or the business side, so this year’s session topics include those that apply to the integration of these two specialties, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), the cloud, and advanced analytics.

The other part of the conversation surrounding data is using it to predict behavior and implementing process automation to increase efficiency. The data and the systems are there to do this; now businesses need to start building the models and integrating them into their processes so that the system can intelligently guide companies in business operations. These capabilities won’t yield riskless results.

Today’s markets may not be representative of who you’ve historically targeted, for example, requiring you to change course, and there are biases within data, so that poses one potential risk. Additionally, you’ll still need human intervention because machines aren’t perfect. But we’re only just on the cusp of figuring these issues out.

At Vegas you can attend sessions, hands-on labs, and conversations with your peers that meet you where you are now, such as how to use ML to speed up the financial close process, strategies for using the cloud to enable enterprise intelligence, and how tools like SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP Predictive Analytics and SAP Artificial Intelligence with Machine Learning will change how companies do business. The conference will also cover the different skillsets that SAP customers will need to learn as they start to adopt the cloud, such as how to choose the right vendor and negotiate services, work with a third-party, and mitigate runaway costs.

We’ll be providing session highlights in our newsletter so be sure to keep an eye on your inbox for glimpses into what our expert speakers will be presenting on. I really hope to see you there. Click here to reserve your spot!



EY Improves Client Services – and the Bottom Line – by Upgrading the Employee Experience

by Cheryl D. Krivda, Contributing Writer 

EY, a multinational professional services firm, is dedicated to building a better working world. The company helps organizations across industries identify and capitalize on new opportunities, especially as they embrace digital disruption and transform their organizations into innovative, purpose-driven businesses. With nearly 300,000 employees and contingent workers around the world, the company offers four integrated service lines that help clients solve their most pressing challenges.  

More than 80% of the EY workforce is millennials or Gen Z. That’s a significant plurality of digital natives — people who expect technology and tools to help them work efficiently without introducing impediments.  

“Our people are everywhere — at client sites, in airports, on trains, and working from home,” explains Penny S. Stoker, Global Leader of HR Services for EY. “They bring knowledge and experience to clients, so we need to make their experience friendly and straightforward. Anything else is just taking time away from what they can do for our clients.” 

Yet EY HR tools needed to keep pace with the speed and transformation of their business. Non-integrated, best-of-breed HR software had become unable to keep up with the pace of change. Workers accustomed to intuitive consumer technologies found internal employee systems difficult to access, hard to navigate and time-consuming to use. And the solutions were not consistent across organizations or geographies. 

Collaborating on Change 

HR leaders realized it was time to transform the employee experience. In 2016, the EY talent team developed an initiative called “Symphony” to deliver: 

  • A comprehensive, integrated, cloud-based HR platform that would lower the EY cost of ownership  
  • Consistent processes with a common look and feel, no matter where a task is executed 
  • Enhanced technologies that would help HR better understand and gain insight into the real employee experience 

The team anticipated that significant savings would be achieved from moving from on-premise to cloud solutions. It also estimated soft savings that could accrue by focusing on the employee experience. “In an organization our size, every percentage point of increased retention drives $100 million to the bottom line,” Stoker says. “That makes a big difference.” 

EY considered the RFP responses of three major vendors, conducted user experience testing of the technologies, and worked on a pilot phase with offices in China. The company then selected solutions from the SAP SuccessFactors Human Experience Management (HXM) suite. HXM, a new category that SAP SuccessFactors announced last year, builds on the best of human capital management practices to provide next-generation technologies for core HR and payroll, talent management, learning management, and employee experience.  

The SAP offerings allowed greater deployment flexibility. “Our learning technology was about 25 years old and our performance management solution was 15 or 20 years old,” Stoker adds. “We needed to get those in place first and deploy the core HR solution later. With SAP SuccessFactors solutions, we could do that.” 

EY deployed the employee onboarding solution in 2016 and then implemented the performance management tool. The learning solution went live in EMEA and Asia-Pacific in 2019 and will launch in the Americas in early 2020. Next, will be the core HR solution, SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, and integration efforts to connect all of the offerings. 

Another EY priority was to choose a vendor that would fit its culture and working style. Professionals from the EY People Advisory Services group assisted with the transition — supporting the business integration effort through process design and change management efforts — while ensuring strong connections between the group, the business, and HR.  

SAP was willing to collaborate with the People Advisory Services group. “Several groups said they couldn’t tell whether they were partnered with internal EY HR personnel, client-facing EY professionals, or SAP employees, because everyone worked together to get the best outcomes,” says Stoker. “That’s a huge compliment.”  

The EY focus on relationships helped streamline the solutions’ deployment, go live, and early use. “Our collaborative dynamic helped us navigate through the challenges that every implementation faces,” says Maya Smallwood, Americas Change Experience Leader in the People Advisory Services group at EY. “We rolled up our sleeves and worked together, leaving our badges at the door.” 

Driving Better Business Outcomes 

To better understand and shape the experience of employees and contingent workers, and to support its philosophy of a purpose-driven digitized organization, EY also deployed Employee Experience Management solutions from SAP. “Now we have one platform that allows us to hear about the experience of our employees. It helps us understand where we are doing well, and what we need to change in order to improve,” says Stoker. “We can test which changes make a difference and which don’t.” 

The solutions also allow EY to merge the experience data (X-data) reported by employees with the company’s operational data (O-data) — yielding a more complete, accurate picture of how the employee experience impacts the delivery of client services. EY has already begun testing hypotheses in various parts of the business — some where they are also using SAP Qualtrics solutions to better understand the customer experience, too.  

“In our audit practice, for example, we know that projects with a more highly engaged team result in better client satisfaction, higher quality results, and better profitability,” Stoker says. Overall, the most engaged teams at EY boast higher personnel retention and higher revenue growth per person. 

With more data and continued experience, the People Advisory Services team hopes to discover additional connections. “By strengthening the correlation between X-data and O-data, we can gain data-driven insights that help us learn more about the everyday experiences of people and create long-term value for the business,” says Smallwood. 

Creating Instant Insight for HR Executives 

In 2018, EY selected experience management solutions from Qualtrics International. When Qualtrics was acquired by SAP in November 2018, the EY adoption accelerated with the launch of EY People Experience 360 (PX360), the company’s employee experience platform. 

Recognizing the valuable opportunities enabled by correlating X-data with O-data, EY decided to become the first customer of its new PX360 platform, which offers persona-driven, curated content created for chief human resource officers (CHROs) and other HR executives.  

It collects people data from various corporate systems, including recruiting, talent management, and customer relationship management solutions. Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, it delivers role-based data through a dashboard, offering actionable insights and drill-down capabilities. HR leaders can quickly identify and understand business risks, opportunities, and priorities. 

“We can pull that information together and align it in a way that makes sense to the CHRO so it can be used in important C-suite conversations,” says Stoker. “We can show what happens when you have a fully engaged team and which outcomes are being driven, with a certainty that we’ve not had in the past.” 

Client feedback has been positive. CHROs appreciate the ability to instantly answer ad-hoc questions from business leaders, rather than needing to take requests back to data analysts and respond days later. And leaders can redeploy their key analytics talent to more valuable tasks. 

The dashboard is also democratizing data access, says Vijay Nidumolu, EY Americas SAP Qualtrics Leader — Advisory. “Often only certain executives have access to these types of insights,” he says. “A scalable platform like PX360 can make data available to many levels of the organization, so that more people can discover and act on business insights.” 

Delivering Quantifiable Benefits 

EY is already realizing measurable value from the SAP solutions. In the first year after deploying the new learning system, the company experienced a 15% reduction in processing time and related costs. Because EY delivers up to two million hours of learning annually to employees, these savings are significant. The time spent providing feedback and calibrating employee performance also decreased. “Tasks that used to be difficult are much easier and faster as a result of this project,” says Smallwood. 

Instead of an annual performance review, EY people now receive feedback from their managers multiple times per year — a 5X increase in performance-related communications. “This feedback is very important when you think about how quickly things change and how people need that feedback during the course of the year,” says Stoker. 

Most important, correlating the O-data and X-data helps create long-term value for the business. Companies can use the data to better understand how people think, make decisions, and team with others, and whether they connect to purpose and strategy. It also helps them unleash human potential. 

Modernizing HR with Better Insight 

EY will soon deploy its remaining SAP SuccessFactors solutions, including recruitment and compensation. Having all of its SAP solutions feeding data into a centralized repository will support faster, smarter decisions.  

Bringing data together and making correlations will help leaders manage their teams more effectively and drive better business outcomes. Enhanced integration across applications and the use of advanced technologies such as machine learning will allow executives to quickly see at-risk issues, request additional information, and identify their best next steps. 

EY also intends to use the solutions to create a best-in-class employee experience. With consumer-like interfaces, the tools will help employees pinpoint learning opportunities, share the right information about themselves, and manage their careers, as well as match their professional interests with open roles.  

“There are real possibilities for working differently to be more effective in driving outcomes,” says Stoker. “That doesn’t mean that we lose jobs. It means that we change jobs and develop different skills and capabilities. Our role as leaders is to find ways to help people upskill and drive their development differently than we have in the past.”

Maya Smallwood, Americas Change Experience Leader in the People Advisory Services group, EY

Penny S. Stoker, Global Leader of HR Services, EY 

Vijay Nidumolu, EY Americas SAP Qualtrics Leader — Advisory 

EY Profile

Headquarters: London, England 

Industry: Professional services  

Employees: 260,000 plus 30,000 contingent workers 

Revenue: $36.4 billion USD (2019) 

Company details:  

  • Developed through a succession of partnerships, originating with accounting firm Harding &Pulleinin England in 1849 
  • 1989 merger between Ernst &Whinneyand Arthur Young created Ernst & Young 
  • Rebranding in 2013 changed the name to EY, which now operates 700 offices in 150 countries
  • Traditionally known as one of the Big Four accounting firms, refocused its offerings over the last decade to become a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services
  • Operations divided into four regions: Americas, Asia-Pacific, EMEIA, and Japan
  • Privately owned organization led by EY Global Chairman and CEO Carmine DiSibio, appointed July 2019

SAP solutions: SAP HXM solutions, including: SAP SuccessFactors Onboarding, SAP SuccessFactors Performance & Goals, SAP SuccessFactors Learning, SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, as well as SAP Fieldglass, SAP S/4HANA Finance, and employee Experience Management solutions from SAP. 

Joint solutions: EY PX360 Platform, which uses functionality from experience management solutions from SAP Qualtrics and SAP Cloud Platform to create real-time insights about the experience of employees and contingent workers 



5 Pillars for Addressing Cybersecurity and Data Protection: SAP Highlights Key Areas for Organizations to Focus on to Build Digital Trust with Employees and Customers

by Bruce Romney, Senior Director of Product Marketing, GRC and Security Solutions, SAP and Erin Hughes, SAP S/4HANA Finance and Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) Center of Excellence, SAP North America and Thomas Frénéhard, Global Finance and Risk Center of Excellence, SAP What are today’s business leaders most focused on and what are their top…...

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Dynamic Safety Stock Management: How to interpret MRP results of coverage profiles

by Venkata Ramana Nethi CSCP, CPIM, Business Process Lead – Operations, Schlumberger Overview: An organization’s strategic inventory policy and stocking strategies drive aggregate level inventory management (i.e., ABC/XYZ/LMN, etc. classification) which in turn drives item level inventory management. One of the most effective ways to perform item level inventory management on high volume and low…...

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MEET THE EXPERTS

Venkata Ramana Nethi, CSCP, CPIM Manager IT Build-Run Operations & Quality, Schlumberger
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Venkata Ramana Nethi, Manager IT Build-Run Operations & Quality at Schlumberger, has 20 years of experience including SAP and domain expertise in manufacturing and planning. He joined Cameron in 2010, which was acquired by Schlumberger in 2016, and is responsible for SAP production planning, advanced planning and optimization (APO), and Quality modules including process study, design, implementation, and support in manufacturing and supply chain business transformation solutions. Before joining Schlumberger, Venkata was an SAP production planning consultant at Wipro Technologies, where he led SAP PP implementation and support projects for a global client base. Prior to that, he was manager at VOLTAS manufacturing unit based in India where he was responsible of production planning and shop floor manufacturing processes of refrigerator and commercial cooler products for CPG customers. Venkata has CSCP and CPIM certifications and his expertise ranges from business case analysis to implementation and production support engagements in manufacturing and supply chain planning transformation initiatives. He is also involved in sales and operations planning supported by SAP Integrated Business Planning and the solution’s integration with various systems to support demand and supply planning.