Case Study - Financial process automation demonstrated by group-wide roll out of GST compliant SAP

Group-wide GST Compliant SAP Updates Roll-out

This Case Study illustrates how EBEX rolled out GST in SAP for entities in different line of Business running different business processes, well on time with effectively ZERO downtime.

Who was the client at EBEX Shared Services Center

Client

A leading business conglomerate having diverse business presence across Media, Entertainment, Packaging, Infrastructure and Education (thus multiple business structures in SAP) with worldwide operations (geographically diverse) and a workforce of over 10000 employees with the strength growing day by day.

What was the case here

The Case

With 35+ entities running in the same SAP instance, and each having “n” number of custom objects as well as integration with different non SAP applications, GST regime was to be enabled latest by 1st July 2017. Minutest of the changes was to be done with utmost care, as it could have potentially affected other businesses.

With limited time in hand, meticulous planning, persistent efforts and astute acumen were the only way to a sure shot success.

What were the challenges

Challenges

Entire book can be filled if we start noting down the challenges, still below are few which are noteworthy :

  • Acutely short timelines
  • Diversity of entities and complexity of business scenarios
  • Zero experience of the GST implementation – all were first timers
  • Even on entity / core users side, confusion on the “to be process”, lack of clarity on the statutory requirements
  • Interfaces to non SAP Applications – which are further interfaced with vendors
  • Geographical spread of the clients – literally “NO SAFE Time zone” for taking a downtime. 4th July, being Independence Day in US, it was a long weekend for US client due to which he was adamant not to allow down time even on Saturday and Sunday

There were different, unique set of challenges at each and every stage, and had the team not shown the acuity at all levels, project could have fallen flat not only putting a risk of non compliance on the entities, but also putting the huge existing data on stake.

Risks involved in the complete financial automation process

Risks Involved

  • Huge group-wide data at stake
  • Consumer facing businesses, not ready to have system downtime
  • Payroll to be processed of 10,000+ group employees i.e., 31st July
  • Effect of configuration changes / Implementation of SAP notes on the existing setup
Approach taken by EBEX team

The Approach

We took the ABC approach. We split and marked the business sections and processes into 3 categories, based on their functional processing –

  • Critical
  • Urgent
  • Important

Of course, there was no category less than important. We prioritized the tasks according to the list created and started releasing the updates. While entire technical team was meticulously working on updates, other support teams (functional, admin, SAP MDM) were also aligned for acquiring timely information and arranging resources as the need may be.

Preventive measures suggested & considered by EBEX team

Preventive Measures

Before starting the final activities on the live server, few preventive measures were also taken to mitigate any unsolicited circumstance:

  • Push for early-sale to consumer facing businesses
  • Ensuring clearance of open items, like vendor invoices, provisions etc.
  • Cold backup of servers
  • Version maintenance of all ABAP updates as well as workbench requests
  • Blocking of all user ID’s before starting the transport movement
  • Rigorous UATs (User Acceptance Tests) with almost all possible scenarios

To rule out any roll back possibilities, phase-wise go-live was declared. This not only helped in avoiding flood gates of issues / queries, but also gave us ample time to complete the master updation activities. Phases were created based on processes within entities, and the criticality of the function.

What was the result achieved

The Results

Essel Group SAP was GST complaint on 1st of July, the very first day itself.

Where the different MNC’s went live in 2nd week of July, where the other corporates took almost week of system downtime to upgrade to GST, we were up and ready on day 1 – could start with the inventory movement & billing on 1st July itself.

Efforts were well appreciated group-wide..