Specific Requirements – A Starting Point
Jacob Holm is a company with an extensive organizational structure. The company headquarters are located in Switzerland, with production facilities in France, Spain and the USA, and sales offices in the USA, Mexico, Argentina, Japan, China and Malaysia. The headquarters and manufacturing companies work in the SAP ERP (ECC) system, while sales branches use the SAP Business One system to create a coherent corporate work environment. Jacob Holm acquired the Sontara® business and plants in 2014. After the integration and stabilization phase in 2015, there was a strong need for one service – integrated application management – for two different solutions in different time zones.
Scope of the Contract
SNP has been providing an application management service for Jacob Holm since January 1, 2016. Support is provided for two integrated enterprise management systems: SAP ERP and SAP Business One. In the SAP ERP system, support covers all functional areas, including finance and controlling, sales and distribution, warehouse management, materials management, production planning and as quality management. The application management service for SAP Business One users is provided for sales offices worldwide.
A Well-fitted Model
Jacob Holm opted for SAP application support model of a monthly pool of hours. In this model of collaboration, the payment for the time spent by consultants on handling requests is made in intervals of 15 minutes. Jacob Holm is guaranteed the availability of SAP consultants in fixed on-call service windows, however, the pool of hours is used up according to the actual demand for application support. The customer does not need to order specific days of consultation and risk the change of business plans.
In 2016 and 2017, the monthly pool of hours for SAP ERP was set at 350 hours, and at 40 hours for SAP B1. The model has proven to be flexible and can be adjusted to planned demand based on yearly revision and negotiation.
2 + 1 = 3 shifts
The SAP ERP application management service covers companies in Switzerland, France, Spain and the USA. Therefore, SNP consultants are available to the customer between 8.00 a.m. and 10.00 p.m. CET, which covers the business days of companies in Europe and America. Sales offices operating on SAP B1 are based in Argentina, Mexico, China and Japan. To ensure full service in this area too, SNP covered the third shift in 2016 and 2017 – from 2.00 p.m. to 7.00 a.m. CET. Here again, the service windows are managed between SNP and Jacob Holm in a manner that can be adjusted as per actual needs through timely discussions.
Transfer of knowledge, i.e. Taking over Application Management
The standards worked out at SNP assume that service consultants familiarize themselves as much as possible with the customer’s system and business before they start providing application support. The focus is on an extensive phase of knowledge transfer from a team maintaining the system prior to SNP, the delivery of documentation, and making it possible to become familiar with custom, dedicated system solutions. SNP flexibly adjusts to the customer’s preferences as to the structure and location of workshops.
The transition phase for Jacob Holm took place at SNP’s headquarters in Poznań, with the participation of the customer’s internal IT department and SNP implementation consultants responsible for the SAP system solutions of Jacob Holm. Some meetings were also held via teleconferences.
The Four Main Stages of the SNP Transition Phase Methodology:
Stage 0 – Kick-off
In this step, knowledge transfer is planned and scheduled in detail. The right people are designated to take part in the transition and structures are established.
Stage I – Knowledge transfer preparation
At this stage, SNP service consultants familiarize themselves with all types of SAP system documentation received from the customer. The documentation includes technical specifications, interfaces, extensions and processes.
Stage II – Access to SAP systems
This is preparation for the actual support for SAP systems: obtaining access to all systems, confirming the procedure for handling requests, nominating key users to participate in the process of registration and handling of requests, providing SNP consultants with all necessary access accounts with permissions that will enable the provision of application support services, verifying the procedure of registration, and handling of service requests.
Stage III – Becoming familiar with solutions in SAP
As part of stage III, SNP consultants familiarize themselves with the solutions implemented in SAP systems that will be covered by the application support. During this step, the consultants discuss the following points with key users:
- A functional scope of SAP systems, with special focus on custom solutions
- Differences between documentation and a current state of solutions in SAP systems
- Procedures and standards related to the maintenance and development of SAP systems
- The history of support provided so far, with special focus on repetitive problems.
This stage ends with drawing up a knowledge transfer report that is broken down into individual SAP modules or an aggregate one for all modules.
The described approach to knowledge transfer is a kind of template that can be modified or adapted to the specific needs of the customer. Based on our experience and the methodology developed, we can transfer knowledge according to the above suggestions or treat them as a starting point for adapting individual points to specific customer requirements.
Service Delivery Model
After learning about the needs of Jacob Holm and the specifics of SAP systems, SNP offered extended availability of service consultants who handle requests within SLA (Service Level Agreement) times and, most importantly, separate processes for small, medium and large developments in SAP ERP and SAP B1 systems. To provide high-quality support services, it was crucial to select and use the appropriate IT tools to support the incident, problem and change management.
A contract scope and SLA times for response and problem solving were also defined. In request management, priorities of requests that SAP users at Jacob Holm use to mark requests are helpful. In addition, Jacob Holm recently introduced an Expected Completion Date – a parameter that allows service teams to better respond to business needs at the right time. For optimization purposes, separate change management processes for small, medium and large developments were established and worked out on the basis of ITIL in line with best practices.
The guarantor for continuous improvement of the quality of services provided is a coordinator who is responsible for maintaining good relations with Jacob Holm. He/she responds to escalation problems and participates in cyclic (every two weeks) video conferences, in which the current usage of pool hours and statuses of individual requests are discussed. He/she addresses the reported needs for SAP development within SNP, providing a quick response regarding pricing, scheduling or a system solution project proposal itself.
Governance in Application Management
Many years of providing services for application management service customers at the highest level has allowed SNP to develop its own standards of work. For large project changes, SNP uses its own methodology applied by project managers: Go Forward. Small and medium changes are implemented according to the AM (Application Management) lifecycle.
SNP fully supports all phases of the cycle. Depending on the degree of maturity of the supported organizations, the role of application management may be limited to the following step: Build in compliance with all the quality standards in the Change & Release Management process.
Handling Process – Workflow and Tools
SNP has its own application to handle service requests. However, the IT management at Jacob Holm expressed their willingness to use their own ticketing system in order to keep processes simple and not confuse the end users with multiple ticketing applications. It was not a problem – SNP is always trying to respond best to customer needs, and it was so in this case. Choosing a new SAP support service provider does not necessarily mean the need to switch to another helpdesk application. Jacob Holm’s application was integrated with the SNP Service Desk – a platform used at SNP. This solution allows for the automatic replication of tasks in the target application as well as two-way online communication based on the e-mail notification mechanism. The language of communication is English.
Different Types of Requests
SNP service consultants provide Jacob Holm with a second line of support. They receive various kinds of requests – from simple ones that do not take much time to handle to complicated development requests.
The requests received by SNP can be divided into 3 main groups:
- simple requests that can be processed quickly
- More difficult ones that require more time to handle,
- Development requests
Example of a simple request: An error occurs when an attempt is made to publish new data entered by a system user. The time needed to solve this problem is 1.5 hours.
Example of a more difficult request: Introduction of a change related to intercompany settlements in the SAP system. The total time spent on this request was 35 hours.
Example of a development request: Creation of the “Ticket Overview” functionality in the SAP system. The work on this project lasted from January 29th to February 26th and took 78 hours.
SNP also helps Jacob Holm in innovative projects that help drive the business forward, such as the implementation of CO-PA to better understand and manage contribution margins, or the design of new handheld scanner applications using ITSMobile to make warehousing and distribution more efficient.
Not Just Support
SNP is keeping pace with the changing business needs of SAP customer support, resulting from the increasing IT maturity of supported organizations. The application management service initially supported Sontara®’s SAP stabilization and then smoothly proceeded to a project of rolling out a new business unit, TWIG America, and implementing completely new functionalities within SNP’s product for material master data management, Matflow. SNP continuously strives to meet every business need within SAP addressed by Jacob Holm, regardless of its size and complexity, demonstrating a great deal of flexibility and proving itself to be an ideal partner.
SAF in Spain – the SII System
Jacob Holm also chose SNP to be its partner in adapting the SAP system to local legislative changes in Spain under the SII system.
SII (Suministro Inmediato de Información – Immediate Delivery of Information) is a new compulsory VAT reporting system in Spain, effective as of July 1st, 2017. It modifies the system for storing VAT registers and requires that electronic data of issued and received invoices be sent electronically to the AEAT Electronic Office – within 4 days of the date of issue or accounting entry. This period was extended to 8 days until the end of 2017.
A prerequisite for ensuring the smooth delivery of this project was close collaboration between four parties: the customer delivering requirements and indicating source data; SNP, responsible for BASIS and SAP application customization; the hosting provider of Jacob Holm’s SAP systems; and the SAP software manufacturer – the author of the solution for SII. Since OSS notes were provided by SAP late, time played a key role in the project.
Thanks to the determination of a dedicated team, SII was successfully implemented in a relatively short time.
The main tasks to do as part of the SII implementation project included:
- Purchasing licenses and installing eDocument and SAP Cloud Platform Integration
- Installing relevant OSS notes/support packages
- Customizing the SAP application layer
- Obtaining a certificate from AEAT (Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria)
- SAP Cloud Platform Integration tenant configuration
A golden Mean
Jacob Holm is a large company with branches in various parts of the world. At the headquarters and production plants, we work in the SAP ERP system, while sales branches use SAP B1. Before choosing the SAP application management service from SNP, we were looking for a golden solution that would enable us to combine everything together – SAP ERP and SAP B1 competencies and the ability to provide the AMS service for both systems in different time zones. We wanted to sign one contract with one company.
These specific expectations were fulfilled by SNP, who offered us everything we needed. We included support for two systems in eight countries worldwide under one support contract.
SNP’s flexible approach has enabled us to share tickets from our own helpdesk application, without creating confusion for our users and IT team. Our good cooperation with SNP has also resulted in development projects such as Matflow or the SII system in Spain, which we intend to deepen with the design and implementation of new and innovative SAP-based solutions.
Thomas Lesage, Group IT Director, Jacob Holm
The Jacob Holm Group is an innovative manufacturer of spunlace nonwoven fabrics and finished products. Founded in 1794, the company has manufacturing facilities and sales offices in all regions of the world. Under the brands Jacob Holm and Sontara®, Jacob Holm provides textiles for manufacturers of beauty care, consumer wipes, critical cleaning, health care and hygiene products.