As an international player with activities in more than 100 countries, JDE considers the financial system’s stability essential. Preventive support of the SAP BPC system is an important pillar to ensure stability. During a regular Technical Health Check, Swap Support looks at the status of the system and the version & patch support for the application and the connecting technical layers. This broad approach provides insight into the actions needed to guarantee stability.
When asked about his vision on preventive support, Nizaar Thierens, Global IT SAP Data Manager at JDE, is very clear: “Do it! You don’t need to have a vision. I would absolutely recommend the Technical Health Check to other organizations that want to get the best out of their system. Prevention is better than cure.”
JDE has a long history: the oldest part, Douwe Egberts, was founded in 1753. Today JDE is part of JDE Peet’s, the largest pure-play coffee and tea company globally, headquartered in the Netherlands.
Preventive support with Technical Health Check
“We want to be able to take preventive action. To do so, we need continuous insight into the status and possibilities of our SAP BPC application,” Nizaar continues.
"This Technical Health Check provides broad insight into the status of the application, such as advice on technical maintenance or unexpected data growth."
JDE regularly has a Technical Health Check performed on its SAP BPC application to create this insight. During such a Technical Health Check, experts from Swap Support assess various aspects of the application. The Health Check’s advisory report clearly shows whether action is needed and within what period. In addition, this Check provides broad insight into the status of the application, such as advice on technical maintenance or unexpected data growth.
The Health Check also looks at the relationship with the other systems in the landscape. Nizaar: “We want to make sure that the integration with our other systems continues to run smoothly.”
Insight into the life cycle of all applications involved
In addition to integration with the other systems, the Check also considers the applications’ life cycle and software supplier’s support levels. “An application never stands alone. Therefore, during the Technical Health Check, we look further than just at the application itself. Not only the different aspects of SAP BPC are discussed, but also all layers that BPC talks to,” says Gerard Achterkamp of Swap Support.
JDE has been outsourcing the support of SAP BPC to Swap Support since 2013. A conscious choice, according to Nizaar: “We make coffee and tea; we don’t need all that specialist BPC knowledge in-house. This gives us much more continuity. With Swap Support, we have a market-leading support partner. They are knowledgeable and work well with many different layers within JDE.”
Nizaar is enthusiastic about the results of the Health Checks. “The Health Check gives us insight into our environment and answers questions such as ‘where do we stand in terms of version support’.”
“ The Health Check showed that our NetWeaver application would be out of support with a certain version of SAP BW, with all the drawbacks involved."
One of the most striking conclusions from the report focused on the SAP support for SAP BW. Nizaar explains: “We thought that with SAP BPC, we would remain in support. However, the Health Check showed that our NetWeaver application would be out of support with a certain version of SAP BW, with all the drawbacks involved. We wanted to avoid that. We immediately upgraded, resulting in us staying in support.”
The bridge between finance and IT
The actions recommended in the advisory report are discussed in a central meeting. In addition to Nizaar and Gerard, people from the BI Analytics team and the Global Accounting & Reporting team are also present in these meetings. “The advisory report gives us a holistic picture of the status of the application and the processes,” says Nizaar. “I take care of the technical subjects myself, and the owner in question handles the other items. Take, for example, the advice to clean up the historical data. Here, the Global Accounting & Reporting specialists took action. Some advice is also taken care of by Swap Support.”
Nizaar believes it is vital that IT and finance work together and on equal footing. “Both the Technical Health Scan and the monthly meetings with Swap Support form a bridge between IT and finance. We all know what’s going on.”
Timely alerts with preventive support SAP BPC
The regular Health Checks provide Nizaar with a lot of personal benefits. “The monthly and annual closings are very visible within the organization, especially now that we are listed. In my role, I want to know what’s coming so I don’t have to escalate. I am now aware of things that could otherwise shoot me in the foot. If I realized afterward that we had run out of support, for example, then I’d have had to organize an upgrade at once. Now I am warned in time. This preventive approach ensures that I am always in control.”
Getting the best out of your system
The preventive approach also affects the cleaning of the application. For example, the team constantly archives data and cleans up inactive code. “We don’t want to carry unnecessary data with us. You don’t see the impact right away, but it does make a difference. Moreover, you no longer have to do any maintenance on it. Compare it with your tax returns: you don’t file 10-year-old tax reports in the front of the closet either. Using this preventive approach, you’ll always get the best out of your system.”
Text: Gerard Achterkamp
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