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CLIENT CASE STUDY


Accenture prepares for a digital future with SAP Business Suite on HANA and S/4 HANA Finance

Accenture’s internal IT organization is migrating to SAP Business Suite on HANA to prepare for a future of more insight, agility and speed.

Overview

Accenture runs its business on a single global instance of SAP, using it for internal business functions, including Finance, Human Resources, Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC), Forecasting and other capabilities. Accenture’s business, however, is changing as the company transforms into a digital and more diverse enterprise. In this new world, Accenture needs to operate with more insight, agility, efficiency and compliance across multiple business units, business processes and applications. This means both the business processes and IT capabilities must contend with a fast pace of change, growth, larger volumes and diverse businesses—all driving the need to evolve Accenture’s ERP to be ready for the future. To prepare for this future, Accenture is migrating to SAP Business Suite on HANA.

Opportunity

Accenture is investing in SAP Business Suite on HANA not because it is needed now, but rather because the company will need it in the near future when it will need to be more insightful, agile and faster—a true high-velocity enterprise. At the same time, Accenture is advancing the company’s digital agenda, an agenda of investing in technology to operate the business in a digital way. SAP HANA will become Accenture’s new platform in its digital transformation agenda to ultimately enable a strong foundation for long-term performance.

Solution

Accenture has consistently kept its SAP application up to date, treating SAP as a significant business asset. Accenture viewed a migration to SAP Business Suite on HANA as a key step on its digital road map—an opportunity to deliver value to the business and to meet future business needs. For these reasons, Accenture embarked on the next step of its strategic road map—migrating its current Finance and HR instance to SAP Business Suite on HANA in order to implement new capabilities in the future. This suite is built on SAP’s advanced in-memory platform, SAP HANA. In determining the implementation approach to SAP HANA, Accenture chose to migrate to SAP HANA considering its highly optimized existing platform and standardized business processes versus taking a “greenfield” approach.

Accenture’s migration followed these key phases:

  • Defining the business challenges and solutions. Accenture’s internal IT organization teamed with Accenture Finance to define Accenture’s finance vision, needs and challenges and to assess how SAP S/4HANA Finance can address them and provide business value.

  • Proof of concept. Using the initial findings, the Finance and IT team set up an SAP S/4HANA Finance proof of concept.

  • Business case. Using speed, agility, analytics and future ERP capabilities as the criteria for value, the Finance and internal IT team confirmed that SAP Business Suite on HANA with a future plan to upgrade to S/4HANA Finance is the best SAP HANA scenario for Accenture, with a parallel implementation of BW on HANA. The team then developed a full business case with scenario analysis of high-value necessities and optional scope items and a full study of the implementation plan.

  • Implementation. The implementation of SAP Business Suite on HANA took six months. Business disruption due to the SAP Business Suite on HANA migration was minimized by separating functional changes into a previous deployment. As Accenture's SAP strategy is to keep current on Enhancement Packs, the prerequisites of Enhancement Pack 7 were delivered in an earlier release. As SAP’s leading partner and largest implementer of SAP HANA-based solutions and applications globally, Accenture was able to leverage a range of unique, proprietary tools to accelerate migration to SAP HANA and reduce the risks.

Results

The SAP Business Suite on HANA and S/4HANA Finance proof of concept confirmed the overall business value Accenture expected and provided important direction on the best approach to a full-scale migration. With enhanced stabilization and hypercare support, the overall solution was brought live on time and without business disruption. In the first month, full business volume was executed ahead of schedule, and without major defects. Within the same quarter, the solution accelerated finance close processes by two days.

Accenture is one of the largest live systems on SAP Business Suite on HANA in terms of database size, users and transactions. SAP HANA moves Accenture from a SQL database to an in-memory database that provides the value of speed, agility, analytics and future ERP capabilities.

Accenture’s experience demonstrates that a proof-of-concept migration can provide benefits with minimal risk. Helping to ensure the active involvement of the business and SAP at all levels through all the phases enabled a detailed road map to be developed for the actual implementation. In addition, taking a business value-driven approach by consulting extensively with Finance leaders to understand their priorities confirmed that the migration is strategically advantageous for Accenture—positioning it to take the necessary steps to establish an SAP HANA platform for delivering new capabilities and get the most value from its IT investments.

Digital Future

Preparing for a digital future with SAP Business Suite on HANA and S/4 HANA Finance

Accenture managing directors Chris Crawford and Dan Kirner discuss the benefits and challenges met when migrating Accenture to SAP Business Suite on HANA.

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