Manfred Grossmann has seen the scenario play out over and over.
“I think companies that sell new products in an IT environment don’t always use them themselves,” said the vice president of corporate IT and project excellence for digital service provider Sycor Group. “Like everybody else, they focus on things that are not quite new.”
This was the situation Sycor recently found itself facing.
“When you’ve been using an older system release for years, hardly being able to do any upgrades, you get into a kind of innovation trap,” Grossmann explained.
Prior to 2022, Sycor’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system was 60% dependent on nonstandard processes, a situation that complicated operations, blocked growth, and reduced innovation.
As a result, application runtimes tended to be long.
The log-on process “was really slow and not state of the art,” Grossmann said. “It was based on on-premises hardware with additional virtualization layers.” Users had to begin by logging on to a virtual private network (VPN) ensuring that all data would be privately transmitted. That often took 20 seconds, then another 20 seconds to start a program.”
“It was very frustrating if you were in a meeting and wanted to demonstrate something on the screen. Everyone would be sitting there, waiting for the data to come up.”
In order to keep pace with its forward-looking philosophy, Sycor would have to simplify and standardize all processes of the company – replacing the unwieldy system with a single platform.
Investing in change
With its main headquarters in Goettingen, Germany, Sycor Group covers the entire range of information and communication technology, including software asset management, concept development, telecommunication services, and IT outsourcing.
The urgency to develop the Sycor Intelligent Business Platform was felt at every level, since two legal mergers were scheduled to occur by New Year’s Day 2022.
The company forged ahead anyway, vowing to have the platform in place when business operations combined.
“You have to invest in change,” Grossmann said.
Implementation partner Walldorf Consulting assisted on everything from development enhancements and interfaces to program management.
“Implementing public cloud software is completely different to classic on-premises approaches,” Grossmann pointed out. “That’s why we needed a good implementation partner to guide us through the cloud environment and its specific processes.”
With an eye on future innovation and new business model support, the decision was made to reach across the fragmented services and systems by building the platform with seven cloud solutions from ERP leader SAP, including SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP Marketing Cloud & Sales Cloud, SAP Concur, and SAP SuccessFactors.
“Individual software would no longer have to be installed,” Grossmann said.
Complexity would be minimized by incorporating mobile and other technologies to capture data, allowing users to log on from anywhere and gain support from modern user interfaces.
New horizons ahead
In less than 10 months, 179 services and processes were implemented, enabling Sycor to meet its January 1, 2022 deployment deadline.
Among the achieved goals: a single sign-on across all systems, greater transparency at every information level, and faster response times for internal and customer requests.
The utilization of mobile, user-centric applications for recording and billing expenses dramatically reduced complex administrative tasks of the past, creating more time for innovation.
For its holistic re-design of its entire business platform, Sycor was honored as a winner at the 2022 SAP Innovation Awards, an annual ceremony highlighting organizations using SAP technologies to transform the world.
Meanwhile, modernization efforts continue at Sycor, with plans to use its enhanced tools to improve the company’s HR processes, create new billing models, and widen the cloud and technology portfolio for customers.
“When I think back on the way we developed the platform, there are many minor things we could have changed,” Grossmann said. “But when you consider the methodology and the way we’ve run the project, I would do it again completely the same way.
Learn more about Sycor’s amazing accomplishment that earned them the SAP Innovation Awards here.
Enterprise Applications, SaaS