GAMBIT relies on the public cloud

Preliminary study and implementation of SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition

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Preliminary study and implementation of SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Public Edition

Implementation of SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud
The client

GAMBIT Consulting is an SAP management consultancy and supports companies in the areas of management consulting, SAP and IT consulting, implementation, licenses and enterprise support.

The challenge

The company was using SAP S/4HANA and was facing a contract extension - and thus a further commitment to on-premise. To some extent, GAMBIT was working with highly individualized processes and installed systems.

The solution

GAMBIT carried out a preliminary study to test the suitability of the public cloud. GAMBIT then implemented the public cloud in line with the best practice standard according to the GAMBIT procedure model based on SAP Activate.

The customer benefit

With the public cloud, GAMBIT is set up for the future and has a modern SAP architecture. GAMBIT has also built up the relevant expertise and established itself as a top partner for the public cloud.

GAMBIT was already setting standards when SAP S/4HANA came onto the market. The SAP consulting company from Troisdorf near Cologne was itself its first customer to introduce SAP S/4HANA in 2016. "Even back then, we wanted to build up knowledge and get to grips with all the details of the new technology as early as possible," says Thomas Pasquale, founder and Managing Partner of GAMBIT Consulting.

"At that time, however, neither the best practices nor today's enhancement options were available. So we introduced SAP S/4HANA as was customary and correct at the time - in the classic way, basically like an ECC system if I look at the functions and processes," he adds.

Team Thomas Pasquale 2
"We lead the way - for ourselves and for our customers!" Thomas Pasquale, Managing Partner GAMBIT Consulting "We lead the way - for ourselves and for our customers!"

The public cloud is the technological foundation for our further business development.

GAMBIT again as an early mover

In 2022, the company had finally reached a point where the existing contracts for SAP S/4HANA would have had to be extended. However, this would have meant committing to on-premise for another few years.

"For me, that was the moment to say that we had to look into switching to the public cloud - a very young operating model for SAP, but in our view the operating model with the greatest potential for the future," says Thomas Pasquale. "The public cloud is the standard - and it is also likely to be the future ERP standard."

"GAMBIT is a fast-growing, very innovative company. And our company is currently facing the same challenges as many of our customers from industry and SMEs - whether in terms of market dynamics, when it comes to reducing complexity, with a view to more flexible processes or also the changing wishes of employees," he explains. "And because we deal intensively with these strategic drivers and possible solutions in consulting and for our own business, it was clear to me that the public cloud could also bring the greatest benefits for us at GAMBIT in the long term."

A preliminary study provides clarity

To verify the suitability of the public cloud as an operating model for GAMBIT, the company initially carried out a preliminary study in mid-2022. "We didn't want to rush into the switch, but wanted to prove the feasibility and added value with data and facts," says Thomas Pasquale, "just as we recommend to other companies."

The experts followed the GAMBIT roadmap program, which has proven its worth in many GAMBIT customer projects. With the help of such a preliminary study for SAP S/4HANA, the most important core questions of companies regarding a planned implementation can be answered in six phases - from the question of strategic goals, the appropriate operating model, costs and risks to the analysis of target processes and the degree of coverage of the SAP standard.

"The crucial thing is that companies have exactly the facts and figures they need to make an informed decision after such a preliminary study," explains the GAMBIT Managing Director.

This was also the case at GAMBIT: "Among other things, we analyzed all processes in the company and carried out a best practice mapping. This comparison with the SAP standard is extremely important, because the degree of coverage shows us whether a standardized system is suitable at all or whether too many individual adjustments are required. In the case of GAMBIT, the result was an accuracy of fit of 88 percent - a very good value that proved that the highly standardized public cloud is a good option for us," says Thomas Pasquale.

At the end of the preliminary study, not only was the best-practice fit determined, but there were also reliable results on the achievement of strategic goals, the solution of existing gaps, a possible target system landscape and a cost calculation. Above all, there were no major differences between the private and public cloud, so everything spoke in favor of switching to the public cloud, says Thomas Pasquale.

Massive change due to the switchover

"At the same time, we knew that the changeover would be massive for many of our employees, because this step into a highly standardized and Internet-based ERP system really changes a lot - and not just the user interface from GUI to Fiori," says the GAMBIT Managing Director.

"In finance, for example, there are a few processes that are currently still running a little slower than usual or in some cases no longer work as they used to and therefore require a rethink - for example in the area of allocations. Initially, some employees who work with it on a daily basis were not enthusiastic about this and now have to get used to the new world," says Thomas Pasquale.

"I therefore always emphasized the high strategic importance of the project in many discussions - not only for our own business, but also for us as an SAP partner that advises and supports other companies," explains Thomas Pasquale. "I also pointed out that with the public cloud, there are also many areas with better performance than before and that the pace of innovations and adaptations by SAP is extremely high. You must never forget: SAP S/4HANA also had a few teething troubles at the beginning. But hardly anyone remembers them today because they have long since been solved!"

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"Change must be accompanied intensively, preferably from day one" Simone Sender del Castillo, Project Manager at GAMBIT Consulting "Change must be accompanied intensively, preferably from day one"

It is also better to plan a little more time than too little for employee training and education.

Change management is essential

In view of the sometimes significant changes, change management is a key success factor in such projects. "Change must be accompanied intensively, preferably from day one," emphasizes Simone Sender del Castillo, project manager for public cloud implementation at GAMBIT.

"Even we as a consulting company with our own change management department could have done more here at the beginning. This was an important learning for all customer projects that are now coming. And this also applies in particular to the time that is set aside for training and educating employees in such a project - here, too, it is better to plan a little more time than too little. Our internal finance department, for example, has switched from a highly customized system with maximum individualization to the non-customizable SAP standard - this is a massive change that needs to be accompanied by ongoing training and testing and discussed time and again," says Simone Sender del Castillo.

According to Sender del Castillo, this also shows the levers for efficiency associated with the introduction of the public cloud, as it does not save a company from having to deal intensively with all processes and workflows. "No, it actually forces a company to do so," emphasizes the consultant.

"In key design workshops with the operational department, we did exactly that and decided, for example, to rely on AI for invoice processing in the future - thus further automating processes and reducing the workload on employees," says Simone Sender del Castillo.

Contemporary architecture in the standard

The design phase is part of the implementation of the public cloud, which took place from September 2022 to June 2023. The GAMBIT experts used the GAMBIT process model, which is based on the SAP Activate methodology and was expanded by GAMBIT to include important aspects. In the Discover phase, the SAP starter system for the public cloud was used to test the company's own processes against the best practice standard in the public cloud.

According to GAMBIT's consulting approach, a modern and digital architecture for SAP S/4HANA always follows certain design principles. First and foremost, this includes the clean core of SAP S/4HANA with SAP best practices, which, unlike in the past, remains modification-free. This "clean core" is extended via various extension options using the Extensibility Framework, SAP's Business Cloud Apps, in-house developments with cloud apps or the integration of environment systems - all connected via API interfaces that enable real-time communication.

In the case of the public cloud implementation, GAMBIT used various SAP best practices, including the YCOA chart of accounts, professional services in the project system, an expense-based billing system and - there is no alternative in the public cloud - the new SAP Fiori user experience.

In addition, GAMBIT expanded the public cloud with the help of the Extensibility Framework, for example with ready-made CDS views and certain customer-specific fields, and uses digital SAP cloud apps such as Concur for travel expense accounting or side-by-side apps for sales forecasting. Last but not least, the company integrated various environment systems such as Jira for support or the GAMBIT tool Kimai II for time recording of consulting services.

The top partner for the public cloud

According to Thomas Pasquale, GAMBIT's move to the public cloud has already paid off. "We have been able to optimize internal processes, further increase data transparency, improve planning security and now have structures that will allow us to continue to grow. Clearly, the public cloud is the technological foundation for our further business development, the foundation for a successful future."

Above all, the strategic benefits for GAMBIT as a consulting company and thus for its customers are enormous, says Thomas Pasquale: "We have learned a lot in this project and built up a great deal of expertise, which will definitely pay off for our customers. We also wanted to learn from the mistakes that can be made in a project like this and prefer to make them ourselves - rather than our customers in their projects. We now know and understand the public cloud inside out and continue to learn in our daily work. For me, this project is therefore a real lighthouse project - with added value for all sides."

Meinolf Schaefer01 1444x1444px

Meinolf Schäfer, Senior Director Sales & Marketing

Are you interested in the SAP Public Cloud? I will be happy to answer your questions!

+49 2241 8845-623


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