BT Group was a large Oracle user but in 2019, the company strategically decided to move forward into the new decade on the SAP S/4HANA platform. On the other hand, the British mobile network operator and internet service provider EE was acquired by BT Group in February 2015. The key requirements of the acquisition were to drive IT consolidation and reduce or remove duplicated system capabilities, along with the need for business transformation.
On the other hand, EE had invested on SAP ECC6 and they were culminating the merger between Orange UK and T-Mobile UK. That posed a challenge for IT teams: bringing the two systems together onto one system meant more data. And they were experiencing a significant growth of data. In late 2016, EE was forced to do a data centre move when they realised their volume of data in the databases was too large and, fundamentally, needed to be halved to allow that to happen in the window they had to do the data centre move. For this purpose, BT Group / EE partnered with TJC Group, to automate mass data archiving based on a range of variables.
When data keeps growing exponentially, it slows the system down and that impinges some critical business processes during the day, such as getting the orders through the supply chain. BT /EE teams worked with TJC Group to automate the full data archiving process, eliminating any manual error and duplications without impacting on business processes.
The key benefits around the archiving for ECC 6.0 were around reducing the support effort for actually performing the archiving. That's where the Archiving Sessions Cockpit (ASC) was of great value because it makes sure that careful and meticulous activity is executed on a regular basis and we keep the system clean. Organisations like BT Group/EE benefit of the ASC by achieving a significant data volume reduction, reaching an average archiving ratio of at least 95%. In this sense, BT was able to ensure the ERP system was not growing out of control, while staying compliant with the company information retention policies and EU GDPR regulations.
BT Group aims at adopting powerful technologies that offer the best value. The company’s strategy is centred around three key pillars: delivering differentiated customer experiences, build the best converged network and modernise the business to become simple, lean and agile. That is why in 2019 the company selected SAP S/4HANA Finance (Single-tenant Edition) to power its digital core, supported by the SAP Cloud Platform and SAP Analytics Cloud.
BT group sees the move to S/4HANA as a Business Transformation across the whole organisation, not as an IT upgrade. In fact, the new technologies offer the opportunity to improve their processes, the ability to upgrade technology efficiently and the capacity to identify new functionality and adopt these where they demonstrate additional value.
“It's really about trying to make a step change in our capability, to challenge what we're doing and to use best in class processes and streamline those policies so we can make a substantial step forward”, pinpoints Holmes.
BT is now paving the way to make the move to S/4HANA. For that purpose, IT teams continue to work seamlessly with TJC Group to optimise database volumes and will continue to do so, bearing in mind that data tiering does not work in S4 HANA for the time being. By archiving data that is no longer in use, the data volume that needs to make the move to SAP S/4HANA can significantly reduce. That means also reducing the scope, duration, complexity and total cost of your SAP S/4HANA migration project as well as saving on hardware and licensing costs.
When a large corporation makes decisions that impact and transform the whole business, then there are essential considerations which must be included in the holistic thought process.
Similarly, part of the transformation is based around designing improved processes, a straightforward user experience and reduction of the training costs for incumbent and new users. From these aspects, the future focuses in ensuring better insights on the data and the new processes, as well as to demonstrate that the improved value reflects favourably against the transformation costs.
Last but not least, the best results come when every team is working to the same goal. The transformation has to be seen as a busines transformation merging Business and Technology, BT Group and working alongside partners and vendors.
To summarise, the above in four simple but key points, and to allow others to short-circuit the lessons learned by BT over these 5 years, you as the reader can understand why BT consider Data Archiving is such an important element of this message:
Please find the recording of Mark Holmes’ breakout session.
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