SNP, the leader of SAP implementation in Poland, is becoming a household name worldwide. The global village of today’s business world has no meaningful borders. SNP is actively and boldly acquiring new clients among the largest companies in Poland and abroad, and it customizes its offer to suit the expectations and conditions of its clients and their business environments.
A wide range of services, a large team of nearly 200 consultants with comprehensive SAP and IT capabilities, and long-term experience in cooperation with companies in various industries and with various business models enable SNP to fulfill different roles in order to meet the clients’ needs.
Various forms of cooperation
Services for companies from outside of Poland fall into four major forms of cooperation, which nevertheless overlap and are often rendered jointly to our clients.
SNP’s consultants often work on projects on a task-by-task basis and are responsible for a defined scope of work. These are usually large-scale projects which involve a wide range of functions and multiple departments. The units responsible for completing these projects are usually the internal IT departments of corporations, or their global SAP partner. Often the clients’ competence centers use SNP’s expert knowledge in areas such as the migration of non-SAP applications into the SAP NetWeaver platform, or in consultations in areas where business comes into contact with the SAP system.
Another role that SNP frequently plays is the running and management of SAP projects in large companies. These projects usually involve large development jobs or are connected with data migration. Projects of this kind may involve a few dozen corporate departments located in various countries, and a wide scope of work.
However, SAP projects are one thing; companies which maintain the SAP system centrally for many subsidiaries in other countries spend a lot of energy on system maintenance, scheduled development jobs and handling change requests from departments. These requests may include changes in VAT rates or a new method of calculating holiday leaves or business travels. In corporations with subsidiaries in a few dozen countries these tasks number in the hundreds each month and their processing requires SNP’s involvement. We carry out such jobs for high-tech and tobacco companies, to name a few. In both cases, we handle notifications generated by their subsidiaries in various countries.
SNP also offers helpdesk services and responds to incidents as they happen. Our resources are used by shared service centers, which provide their services to large corporations.
Our involvement and the nature of tasks we perform as part of current system maintenance varies greatly. These range from a full takeover of remote control and system maintenance for a flat monthly rate, to the so-called body leasing, which is priced according to real working hours spent on notification processing.
Clients, old and new
SNP actively seeks clients for its services outside the Polish market. In 2011, we launched our branch in Germany – the company’s first foreign branch – whose role is to shorten the distance between us and our Western European clients. This is part of the company’s SNP+ international strategy for 2011-2014.
During recent years, companies which are planning expansion into Eastern and Central European markets, or launch SAP programs in the area, have been seeking not just local partners in each of the countries in which they operate, but a consulting firm able to provide them with support in projects regionally or globally.
‘Many companies in different countries – one partner for particular tasks’ – this is the cooperation model chosen by Antalis, for which we simultaneously ran SAP implementation in four countries: Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic; by Wirthwein, for which we carried out SAP rollouts in Poland and the US, or by the previously mentioned Rehau and Heineken.
SNP is also a good partner for companies which have their SAP competence centers in Poland. We are developing this type of cooperation with a corporation in the tobacco industry, for whom we perform both servicing jobs and independent development jobs for various companies within the group. In this case, our cooperation may be based on a permanent contract involving a specific area (e.g. ABAP/Java development, small system development, or running the helpdesk). Competence centers also like to use the body leasing service, wherein a SNP consultant becomes a member of the client’s team and performs current tasks utilizing their competencies. This service is particularly effective in the case of long-term substitutions, when specific competencies are required, or simply as a cost-cutting strategy.
We are performing an increasing number of jobs for clients who employ us directly to complete tasks in their subsidiaries throughout various countries. This is a result of our active sales policy abroad and the good reputation that Eastern and Central European IT companies maintain. Large corporations are also becoming increasingly open to cooperation with SAP partners from outside the big three.
The market of SAP services is changing and large clients have noticed that it does not always pay to enlist one global IT partner for all projects in all subsidiaries. It is often wrongly assumed that a large consulting company can ensure the same high standard of competence in all countries and will guarantee a smooth transfer of client knowledge between its consultants in, say, Germany, Spain, Romania and Asian countries. A small, competent partner, who can adapt to clients’ needs and proactively respond to them, can perform system development tasks better for a relatively lower cost.
Competent and flexible
Large companies seek partners for various types of SAP-related jobs. In countries without SAP, a company that will provide support for rollout projects in basic areas of the ERP system is needed. In companies which have been working with the system for a long time, they need a partner for system development, with a stronger emphasis on portal solutions, BI or BPM. Additionally, there is always a host of ongoing maintenance services to render, such as administration or application systems, which may be outsourced.
Frequently, SNP’s cooperation with large multinationals begins with a narrow set of tasks within a given area. As time goes by, the clients put more trust in us and commission a larger number of jobs, often leading to independent development projects. Sometimes, however, companies which are accustomed to working with business partners from different countries commission us to perform large and significant SAP rollout and development projects.
Companies seeking SAP partners have valued the numerous assets that SNP offers, including one of the largest teams in Central and Eastern Europe (nearly 200 SAP consultants), competence in all areas of the system, confirmed by reference letters, and good value for money.
SAP on SNP Cloud is an innovative service providing access to the SAP environment kept on a private cloud. The service is based on the state-of-the-art infrastructure of SNP’s Data Processing Center and the structure of SNP’s Outsourcing Center operating according to security standards compliant with ISO 27001 and ISO 20000. Our long-term experience in outsourcing SAP and providing High Availability systems is now applied in nearly 100 installations of SAP on SNP Cloud for more than 20 clients (each in their own private cloud).
Clients who choose SAP on SNP Cloud are provided with:
– a state-of-the-art Data Center meeting high security and availability requirements – availability exceeds 99.98%
– flexible computing power
– the highest standards of operation (e.g. the Information Security Management System compliant with ISO 27001)
– an efficient backup copy system, based on the EMC technology
– cyclical tests of recreating selected production systems
– administrative care provided by SAP BASIS specialists
Tomasz Wawrzonek, IT Deputy Director, Data Center at SNP Poland, says: “The increasing amounts of data and the ever growing expectations of businesses regarding data processing times are forcing IT departments to seek solutions which will provide a scalable and flexible SAP environment. SAP on SNP Cloud is a solution for businesses interested in cutting the cost of SAP maintenance and increasing its efficiency and safety. Launching a developmental SAP on SNP Cloud environment takes a matter of hours. When it comes to the production environment, SNP’s team of experts will provide support in the process of migration from the existing SAP environment to a modern and efficient environment based on the private cloud concept.”
Large companies value one more aspect of cooperation with SNP; those who have discovered that large consulting firms are not necessarily the best choice seek a partner for whom they will constitute a large strategic client who will substantially contribute to its turnover. This in a way guarantees that the implementation partner will remain firmly involved in the projects. It is vital that the partner’s potential corresponds to the client’s needs, that the supplier is able to respond swiftly to changes in demand (e.g. a temporary increase of the number of team members if new tasks emerge), and that its stability does not rely on a single client (e.g. a suspension of a project leading to the company’s loss of financial liquidity).
SNP is also a sensible alternative to low-cost projects carried out by Indian companies, who often provide low quality services (which have a negative impact on completion time and budget) and to large and expensive firms, which are less flexible and often less competent.
Our flexible approach to projects and a large team of experienced consultants enable SNP to play various roles in projects and are considered our greatest assets.
An appropriate selection of people from both sides, and effective cooperation based on mutual trust, guarantees successful cooperation.
Challenges of working for the biggest
A characteristic of working for large corporations, and a great challenge as well, is the large scale of the projects, unknown to local companies.
SNP has cooperated with a large high-tech company, working on projects involving data migration to new SAP systems in more than 80 countries. We have also carried out a similar project in the FMCG sector to subsidiaries located in such distant countries as Singapore, Kuwait, and Jordan. Our consultants also participated in SAP rollout projects in Indonesia, Egypt, and the United States.
These projects often break the record for the number of parties and consultants involved, time of completion, distances, and time zones travelled.
Another record we have broken is the duration of our cooperation with clients. We favour long-term relations which are satisfactory to both parties and lead our partners to entrust us with increasingly bigger and more serious jobs. A good case in point here is Heineken. We began cooperating in 2011 as a contractor implementing a corporate SAP template in Poland. As time went by, we became a partner and carried out rollout projects involving extensions and modifications of the template in the group’s subsidiaries. Now, after many years of cooperation and a few dozen joint projects, we have been entrusted with the task of creating system templates from scratch for other areas of business within the entire corporation.
We have been consistent in reenacting this model of a gradual gaining of trust and increasing the scope of our responsibility in cooperation with other clients.
In addition to the large scale of the projects, other challenges of long-term cooperation with clients are project communication and work organization. Companies using shared services centers and dedicated SAP project teams have developed their own methodologies, use various project tools, and use different names and abbreviations.
As a partner, SNP must tune in to the client’s organization; it is our contribution to long-term cooperation. Our clients appreciate this approach. Our solutions and methodologies are always customized. Sometimes, however, our client’s organizations utilize our experience and apply elements of SNP’s Go Forward methodology and rollouts. One of our clients, for example, decided to apply the division of the prototype implementation phase into smaller chunks, separated by tests, after we had suggested such an approach and had used it in a previous project.
Another big challenge is the organization of work and choosing the right proportion of tasks carried out at the client’s location and via remote work. After many years of experience, we have developed patterns according to which 40% of the work in implementation projects is carried out at the client’s premises, irrespective of the its location. This includes meetings held at the beginning of the project, when we present the system, the tests, as well as training sessions and the first two weeks of support after the system has gone live.
This ratio of 40:60 is ideal for effective work and it balances the need for lower logistics costs with the need for effective communication.
‘At the client’s location’ means the client’s headquarters (working with process owners) but it may also mean a subsidiary or a local branch of end users. Hence the phrase ‘at the client’s location’ used in a project may mean as many as a dozen or so locations in different countries.
It is possible to increase the proportion of remote work in the case of helpdesk support, where infrequent meetings are only necessary to discuss the most difficult issues from the current task list.
We respond actively to new challenges and the ever widening scope of activities. Therefore, we continue to introduce organizational changes and reflect our project experiences in our Go Forward method. We use many IT tools which facilitate work and provide our clients with a project portal. Some time ago we introduced a project coordinator position. The coordinators relieve project managers by taking on a large part of administrative tasks. Furthermore, they are responsible for the project’s accountancy, tracking work progress, and reporting.
In our approach to clients we emphasize quality and good communication. IT and SAP projects are joint ventures and both parties are equally responsible for their success. This cooperation model entails more mutual trust and open dialogue. As a result, we achieve better results on a lower budget and in a shorter time.
– rollout programmes
– functional competencies in SAP solutions (WM, PP)
– technological competencies (Basis, HANA, ABAP, Java)
– SAP application support
– IT outsourcing and SAP on SNP cloud
– SAP administration
– cooperation with competence centers (body leasing)
– development work on SAP integration technologies (e.g. SAP NetWeaver Portal, SAP PI/XI)
– development work on SAP Business Intelligence