In today’s highly complex business environment, organizational and information technology (IT) leaders are continually seeking ways to streamline their business processes for greater efficiency. According to analyst firm IDG, this efficiency is the driving force of successful digital transformation.
At Britehouse, one of South Africa’s leading digital applications and solutions providers, the use of three disparate systems for its finance, procurement and professional services processes was holding back its growth.
“Britehouse was formed out of the merging of 16 different companies, and to date, we had no standardized business processes across the company,” says Christo Pieters, Group Executive: Services and Solutions for SAP at Britehouse. “We were running complex reporting processes in Excel and using a legacy timesheet capture solution. We wanted to replace three systems with one and eliminate the need for additional on-premise infrastructure. In a ground-breaking project – and a first for Africa – we implemented SAP S/4HANA Cloud Professional Services to replace our disparate systems with a single standardised solution. This has enabled us to streamline our processes in line with global best practice.”
Britehouse is a division of Dimension Data and is headquartered in Johannesburg. The company specialises in providing cloud services, business strategy, software integration services and enterprise business applications to organisations in Africa and the Middle East.
Pieters and his team implemented Project Phezulu, which sought to replace the on-premise SAP ERP system – that was powering its Finance and Procurement processes – with a cloud-based solution that Britehouse could also then implement on behalf of its customers. “It was important for us to also drink our own champagne and to be the first company in Africa to run SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud. A key outcome of this project is our confidence in implementing the same solution for our clients, who are increasingly moving to the cloud.”
Value of collaboration
Pieters notes the strong internal support for the project as a key driver of its success. “We appointed a dedicated project manager who enjoyed the active support of our CFO throughout the duration of the project. The collaboration among internal stakeholders, project sponsors, business process owners and change management teams helped lead the business through the change, and ultimately ensured the implementation was completed successfully.”
Due to the significant changes needed to standardise processes across the business, Pieters and his team conducted extensive change management. “Regular change management sessions with affected teams ensured everyone was clear about the need for the new system. Training sessions were scheduled prior to the go-live date, and on-site support was provided for two months following the change to ensure our users had full confidence in the system.”
“By utilising SAP’s S/4HANA Cloud infrastructure, Britehouse has access to key task automation, real-time reporting, single points for data entry, and the adoption of standardised and best business practices,” says Pieters. “In addition, the system also gives us the flexibility and agility to support any future business requirements that we may have.”
According to Cameron Beveridge, Regional Director for Southern Africa at SAP Africa, the company’s 16-year partnership with Britehouse has been a powerful force driving African organizations’ digital transformation.
“Britehouse’s ground-breaking project has paved the way for more African organisations to accelerate their growth with SAP’s powerful cloud technologies. Integrating business processes to a powerful cloud-based core is one of the cornerstones of an Intelligent Enterprise strategy, a fundamental building block of successful modern organisations. We look forward to continuing our partnership to power Africa’s ongoing rise in the global digital economy.”