A disparate and complex IT infrastructure posed many problems for Peter Kellner, Group Processes and Information Technology at thyssenkrupp and his team. How did Hanse Orga Group’s FinanceSuite solve many of these problems?
Group Processes and Information Technology
thyssenkrupp AG is a German multinational conglomerate and one of the world’s largest steel producers. Based in Duisburg and Essen, Germany, the business is divided into almost 500 subsidiaries worldwide.
Diversified industrials major, thyssenkrupp was blighted by a disparate and highly complex IT architecture comprised of over 100 SAP ERP systems and over 150 non-SAP ERP systems. To make matters worse, these different ERPs had their own interfaces with over 2,000 bank accounts around the world. “Complexity, lack of standardisation, lack of connectivity and lack of automation created many problems,” says Peter Kellner, Group Processes and Information Technology, thyssenkrupp. “This included a lack of visibility over our cash positions, the need to conduct many processes manually and an extremely lengthy and painful process whenever we needed to change anything.”
A group-wide project – codenamed daproh – was launched in 2015. Focusing on data and process harmonisation, it provided the catalyst for Kellner and his team to begin solving these issues and build a global payments platform. With the company looking to move to a single instance of SAP, the treasury team had to devise a way of creating a central platform that would enable it to standardise, warehouse and utilise all the data on the disparate ERP systems. Spotting an opportunity, Kellner also wanted to move away from ad hoc host-to-host (H2H) connectivity with the banks, instead using EBICS or SWIFT to communicate with the Group’s banks from the central ERP.
Following an extensive research project into the different providers that could help thyssenkrupp achieve its objectives, Kellner and the team opted to utilise Hanse Orga Group’s FinanceSuite (FS). “There were a few different options available, but what set Hanse Orga apart was that its solutions exist within SAP,” he says. “We were also impressed with the user-experience its solutions offered and its high-profile client base.”
To achieve its objectives, thyssenkrupp has adopted a host of Hanse Orga modules. Kellner notes that one of the key components has been the payments solution. The solution gives thyssenkrupp the ability to seamlessly connect its disparate ERP systems to the new central ERP whilst these are phased out. “The solution takes the data from the old ERP systems and converts it into a standardised format that is compatible with the latest version of SAP that we are using,” explains Kellner. “This has enabled us to optimise existing processes without having to wait for the full company-wide migration to be completed.”
Whilst the Payment Management solution has allowed thyssenkrupp to knit together its technology infrastructure internally, the use of the Account Statement Manager, AutoBank and eBAM solutions has driven standardisation and efficiency in how it works with its banking partners. Kellner advises that today, all bank statements sit centrally in the ERP and are processed and reconciled automatically, based on different rules set up by thyssenkrupp. Finally, they also now have central administration of bank accounts, including signature authorisations for all group companies.
As thyssenkrupp upgraded the Group’s ERP system to SAP S/4 HANA 1610, Kellner and his team took the chance to upgrade to the latest version of Hanse Orga FinanceSuite, FS². “We were once again very impressed with how smooth this process was – it took place without any major issues,” he says. “Indeed, throughout our partnership with Hanse Orga, we have been very impressed with its ability to meet our wishes quickly and efficiently, even when we have bespoke in-country requirements in markets like Brazil, for instance.”
Kellner is keen to note that despite all the improvements gained already through its work with Hanse Orga Group, there is still a lot more to be done. “We are continuing to roll out the Hanse Orga Group modules around the world and expanding our use of them to ensure we get maximum value out of the investment,” he says. “We are also looking to take advantage of some of the solutions recently launched by Hanse Orga Group, such as its embargo screening tool which enables payments to be automatically screened against sanctions blacklists before we send it to the banks, ensuring that further STP can be achieved in our payments process.”