Rocket, an early adopter of SAP Business Technology Platform, has just rolled out the latest in a long line of solutions for its customers. Here, the partner tells more about how this is helping a client in the luxury retail sector, and why SAP BTP provides “the most unified approach” for customers running SAP.
Since 2015, Rocket has been developing on SAP BTP (originally in its previous guise as the SAP Cloud Platform), to deliver SAP solutions extensions, enhancements and integrations as well as novel solutions for its clients, with each one encompassing a wide range of technical capabilities. In turn, the solutions ensure a ‘seamless user experience consistent with the new generation of SAP S4 on-premise and cloud applications’.
Says CEO Lewis Marston: “Importantly, SAP BTP is ready for the end-user regardless of what they're using. They don't feel like they're hopping from one system to another which we think is absolutely critical to create practical ways of working.”
Rocket regularly deploys SAP BTP to extend the lifespan of its clients’ SAP Business Suite systems, creating ‘stepping stones’ to their S/4 upgrades, which broadly fall into the areas of mobile, smart or IoT devices, user experience and Fiori, SAP Build automation, Data Insights and Integration.
“It's giving businesses that entry point into a roadmap towards having that new UI across all of their ways of working, so it's a really nice way to extend the life – with consideration and consistency – of their S/4 roadmap,” continues Lewis.
From mobile applications, including integration with IoT devices for track and trace temperature sensing, through to Bluetooth tracking and health and wellbeing applications, with dashboards, analytics and robotic process automation in between, there isn’t much Rocket hasn’t developed on SAP BTP.
“We've built fully self-sufficient, entire applications, from scratch. In fact, we run our project delivery services on an application called Helios that we've built on BTP, which allows us to coordinate and manage the activities across collaborative Rocket teams and customer resources for our professional services delivery.”
Most recently, Rocket has applied its expertise in supply chain management to a luxury, London-based retailer selling home ware, food and fashion. Operating a ‘very seasonal’ supply chain for Christmas products, the customer sees it go from ‘nothing to full steam and back to nothing’ within a three-month period.
“So, during this very short period, instead of a typical monthly or even maybe fortnightly or weekly planning cycle in a normal supply chain, the customer operates on a daily cycle,” adds Lewis. “They’re having to measure demand and supply across an omni-channel distribution out to consumers, corporate or retail stores and balance that against the supply for this Christmas product.”
Because the customer was working with a legacy platform, which didn’t provide the capability needed to manage the problems they were trying to solve, Rocket took a broad view of SAP’s application and technology stack to bring the right tools in.
In this instance, data collection and visualisations within the solution allowed the customer to make quick, informed decisions on a very high speed, fast-moving, supply chain challenge.
“Up until the new solution was launched, the customer had been relying on a very manual process involving extracting and amalgamating data and then manipulating that in excel,” adds Lewis. “Given the pace of this condensed fulfilment, by the time that had been done, the situation had changed. They were also running on an ECC system with tight development restrictions, so any solution we developed needed to be able to run against existing back-end processes while delivering something innovative to solve the challenge at hand.
“We wanted to provide a series of user-experience ‘stepping stones’ rather than introducing a divergent way of working. Put simply, this was about giving the supply chain controllers a real-time view of the situation to make their demand and supply balancing accurate, fast and easy; saving significant time spent on data administration, allowing them to use their time productively by solving any supply issues and maximising their customer service and order satisfaction.”
Lewis says that when they demonstrated the new solution there were ‘smiles of joy’ on their customers’ faces; a great reminder of the positive impact that targeted, quick-to-deploy innovations can have.
“For them, going from a huge manual effort to just pressing a button, and being able to make decisions within minutes instead of days, is transformational. It means they will have fewer stock outages, fewer supply problems and more customers getting their presents in time for Christmas. That’s the point of super fast, seasonal supply chains.”
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