CORTAC Helps SAP CONCUR Bridge Cultural and Business Divides to Successfully Integrate Business Platforms
CORE TECHNOLOGIES IMPLEMENTED
CORTAC GROUP SERVICES
Germany-based SAP led the competitive enterprise resource planning (ERP) market for many years. SAP’s market leadership, however, was threatened by cloud-based platforms. The company was falling behind as it prepared to launch S4/HANA.
When SAP acquired Bellevue, Washington-based Concur Technologies, the travel and expense management company, they saw an opportunity with Concur to conduct an internal ERP migration to the new S4/HANA platform. S4/HANA was SAP’s most extensive update to its ERP strategy and platform in over two decades. An internal launch to put the platform through its paces was important to the company’s launch strategy. SAP selected one of the world’s largest consulting firms to lead the migration effort.
Within a few months however, Concur leadership consulted with CORTAC Group and expressed deep concerns about the progress of the migration. They pointed to a missed go-live date and struggles to adapt to the new SAP culture. Concur also intimated their current consulting company’s young and inexperienced staff did not fully understand how Concur’s business operated. All together, the migration was creating significant risk to the public launch of S4/HANA.
CORTAC implemented solutions to solve for three primary migration challenges.
- The cultural divide between SAP and Concur was slowing down the migration
- Lack of Concur IT Team’s understanding of Concur business processes
- Gaps in software bug identification and mitigation processes
The SAP Concur team successfully reached their S4/HANA go-live date and successfully migrated over 8000+ employees to S4/Hana. At the same time, both companies, despite different corporate cultures, styles, and languages, began to operate as a higher-performing combined team.
CORTAC’s Change Management Experience Pays Off for SAP Concur Migration
SAP Concur Solution Continued
Concur chose to elevate CORTAC to replace the incumbent consulting team and provide new leadership to the migration. CORTAC started by pulling together leaders of both the SAP and Concur teams to listen to their concerns.
Building a Bridge Between Waterfall and Agile
Acquiring and integrating two companies is never an easy task. CORTAC immediately determined Concur was approaching the migration using an Agile methodology. In contrast, SAP applied a Waterfall methodology. The two approaches could not have been more different. Layer on the organizational and cultural differences between a German-based company and a U.S. company, and the divide widened.
Where SAP pushed to drive the project toward a specific date using a particular process and rigid documentation, Concur pursued the project focused more on aligning the project to weekly sprints. At odds with each other’s style, neither approach was working.
CORTAC bridged the gap with a solution blending the need for structure, milestones, and delivery dates within an agile framework. This effort included implementing milestones and delivery dates and leadership for the daily scrum meetings. CORTAC clearly defined what would happen in each sprint and set the prioritizations, requirements, milestones, and plans leading up to the new go-live date. CORTAC also identified when resourcing gaps preventing the team from reaching sprint goals. The resulting effort drew on CORTAC’s change management capabilities and experience leading similar efforts internally at Microsoft.
Translating Business Processes Language for IT
The second challenge CORTAC pursued was building connectivity between the IT organization and the company’s functional areas. While IT was the primary internal group leading the migration effort, it struggled to understand how the business operated.
A vital milestone called for migrating the finance and accounting business processes from the old system to the new system. Chief among these processes was revenue recognition and invoicing. CORTAC uncovered that IT didn’t completely understand how the functional areas operated or the user stories for how the process worked and needed to change. The team was essentially trying to implement a business process they didn’t understand.
CORTAC brought in a team of seasoned business analysts to work with individual functional groups, map desired business processes, and act as the go-between business departments. As a Concur customer, the CORTAC team had direct knowledge of how the business operated and was able to effectively communicate and translate the functional area requirements for the IT and sprint teams. Focusing on the business process helped bring the disparate groups together and create a shared understanding for the company.
S4/HANA Bug Identification and Mitigation Planning
The final challenge to the migration puzzle was the lack of a straightforward way to identify and mitigate software bugs with the new S4/HANA platform. Not only were the two companies struggling to migrate one platform to another, but the new, yet-to-be publicly-released platform was not performing as expected.
CORTAC built out a bug identification process to track and mitigate problems with the new platform. This effort led to significantly faster mitigation efforts and aided the transition between the two platforms.
8000+ Employees Successfully Migrated to S4/HANA
The SAP Concur team successfully reached their S4/HANA go-live date. CORTAC provided the leadership to move over 8000+ employees to S4/Hana. At the same time, both companies, despite different corporate cultures, styles, and languages, began to operate as a higher-performing combined team.
“Our people bring a much broader view of how a business operates to every engagement. Senior, experienced professionals understand the business relationships, can speak functional area language and translate ideas between different business departments and functions.”
Tom Eide, Managing Partner, CORTAC Group
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