Basis Technologies International: Get ready for the future with SAP S/4HANA Finance

Basis Technologies International, a leading provider of SAP optimisation solutions, has chosen SAP’s S/4HANA Finance running on SAP’s in-memory database to support its growth and to meet the challenges of the future.

With the expertise and support of PASàPAS consultants, the project was a great success: the implementation was completed on time and on budget, and the solution meets all of Basis Technologies’ expectations in terms of performance and potential for future evolution.

An SAP optimisation specialist

In less than twenty years, Basis Technologies has established itself as a leader in SAP optimisation solutions.  With a team of core SAP specialists, the company delivers innovative, high-performance automation tools that enable SAP systems to provide greater business agility and support digital transformation.

Today Basis Technologies’ main focus is on provision of tools that enable continuous software delivery and business transformation.  Perhaps the best known is Transport Expresso, its flagship product for “dev and test” workflow automation and transport management, which can substantially shorten the SAP software development cycle.  Transport Expresso, and related products such as ShiftLeft, DevMax and SnapOps, enable the adoption of modern development methodologies such as Agile and DevOps within an SAP environment, allowing companies of all sizes and sectors to ensure that their SAP systems more effectively support the needs of their wider business.

Capitalising on its dual expertise in development and integration, Basis Technologies also offers a variety of additional tools that improve SAP performance, as well as vertical solutions for the Utilities industry.

Basis Technologies’ head office is in London, the company's birthplace.  However, over the years, the company has grown internationally and is now established in the USA (Philadelphia), Canada (Vancouver), Europe (Berlin and Budapest), and in Australia (Melbourne).

A Financial system to support growth

Over the past few years, Basis Technologies has experienced steady growth, especially abroad, and has made changes to its business model. In this context the company decided to review its financial systems at the beginning of 2015.  Richard Bayliss, Chief Financial Officer of Basis Technologies, recalls: "our old accounting system met our basic business requirements but with our recent growth and international ambitions, we realised that it had reached its limits. Also, the increased scope of our business activities generates new expectations in terms of financial management, which our old software simply could not handle." 

In summary, the old financial system was no longer suited to Basis Technologies’ evolving operational needs, and in the spring of 2015, they launched a project to replace their financial system.

S/4HANA Finance: The obvious choice

Basis Technologies has always been closely connected with SAP, first as an SAP Partner, offering SAP-certified solutions (“Powered by SAP NetWeaver®”), then as one of the first companies invited by SAP to join the SAP Startup Focus program on SAP HANA.

"From day one, Basis Technologies has closely followed all the research undertaken by SAP on the most innovative technologies. That’s why we thoroughly studied the potential impacts of the HANA in-memory database technology, especially on our own software. Over time, our teams have built up considerable expertise in HANA – an expertise that we can now offer to our customers who have migrated to HANA", adds Bayliss.

With this background, it rapidly became obvious that the right solution was S/4HANA Finance in private cloud mode, as it was perfectly in line with Basis Technologies’ requirements. This solution also addressed their wish to implement a leading-edge technology, echoing the company’s own technology focus.

“We had explored the potential offered by in-memory databases technology and we understood the value added by SAP HANA, so we were naturally amongst the first businesses to turn to S/4HANA Finance to address our requirements.”  Richard Bayliss, Chief Financial Officer, Basis Technologies International.

A rapid implementation project

After exploring various options, Basis Technologies chose PASàPAS to deliver the whole solution, as Camille Libosvar, Managing Director of PASàPAS UK, explains: "The agreement was signed two weeks after opening discussions, for the following scope: S/4HANA Finance licence with associated maintenance contract, implementation project, and hosting of the solution in ‘private cloud’ mode, a key requirement for Basis Technologies. Also key was the 10-week deadline to implement the solution, as the requirement was for their UK entity to be live on the new financial solution on October 1st, 2015." 

Taking this deadline into account, PASàPAS adapted their methodology based on more than fifteen years of experience in deploying SAP in SMEs. "We prioritised speed by mandating the use of standard processes supplied in SAP," adds Libosvar.

Very quickly, the PASàPAS consultants set up a pilot covering Basis Technologies’ functional requirements, and presented it to the financial users. The goal was to let the client project leader take ownership of the data migration. "As the approach was well suited to the reality of our business, we approved it immediately. In fact, as we don't really have large volumes of transactional data, we didn't need to carry out extensive validations of the SAP standard solution" explains Richard Bayliss.

Basis Technologies, with the help of PASàPAS, was able to capitalise on this low volume of data and eliminate some project phases. According to Camille Libosvar, “The nature of this project meant we could exploit an iterative approach to implementation: once Basis Technologies’ organisation had been configured, the users were trained and the standard processes were used to migrate the legacy data. When all processes had been deployed they were running live.”

Ready for future growth

SAP S/4HANA Finance benefits from SAP's latest innovations, in particular regarding simplification.

Fully based on the HANA in-memory technology, the solution offers new instant reporting capabilities (multi-subsidiaries, per product, per period, etc.) without having to resort to a data warehouse-type tool.

Reinvented with SAP Fiori, the user experience focuses on personalisation; each user has dedicated indicators for his or her position and field of responsibility, updated in real time. The graphical interface has been revised with a view to simplification, to allow for more productive use with less training. Each user can easily display graphical representations, browse the data, and make predictive analyses and simulations.

All in all, transactions have been optimised through an efficient combination of Fiori and HANA.

The expertise shown by PASàPAS about hosting HANA on a private cloud was key to reassure Basis Technologies that the approach was suitable for them, stresses Camille Libosvar: "On this point, an essential criterion for our customer, we benefitted from the experience and the investments made by our sister company endexar, which specialises in SAP hosting. By collaborating closely with endexar, we were able to build a finely-tuned offer, which turned out to be very price competitive compared with other private cloud offers on the market." 

"Powerful and future-proof, our new S/4HANA solution enables us to approach the next stages of our growth with confidence, secure in the knowledge that we can rely on the SAP expertise of PASàPAS."  Richard Bayliss, Chief Financial Officer, Basis Technologies International.

Immediate, real benefits

Only weeks after go-live, S/4HANA Finance has already brought substantial value to our operation, explains Richard Bayliss: "Fixed assets and petty cash were previously managed in Excel and we have implemented them from day one in the new solution; we also set up cost centres so we could get instant analytics: for example, we can now analyse our marketing spend in real time and across many different criteria: by offer, by campaign, etc."

The new solution has also brought additional value with the definition of Profit Centres by product line, and instant Profit and Loss reporting.

"Beyond the well documented advantages of in-memory technology (phenomenal reduction in response times, accelerated processing and real-time data analysis), this is above all about the businesses benefits", states Camille Libosvar.

Richard Bayliss concurs: "The solution as it is totally meets our expectations, but we can see additional benefits, over and beyond our current needs in terms of functional reporting. This success is a good omen for our future growth. The project ran remarkably smoothly, thanks to the joint mobilisation of our in-house teams and of our partner PASàPAS." 

As for the future, the migration to SAP S/4HANA is considered by Basis Technologies as a real opportunity to rethink some processes and make use of the technological and business advances observed.

The horizon, all mapped out

After the successful implementation of SAP S/4HANA Finance in the United Kingdom, the project enters its second phase, aimed at rolling out the solution, in cloud mode, to all the commercial subsidiaries of Basis Technologies International. The roll-out will start with Europe (Germany and Hungary) and the USA, and then move on to Canada and Australia.

After the international roll-out (scheduled over a period of two months), the plan is to add the standard SAP Consolidation and Reporting functions. The target date for go live has been reasonably set for the end of Q1 2016.

The scope of the solution should then expand to cover sales invoicing and purchasing, when the delivery of S/4HANA Enterprise Management allows for it.

One thing is for certain: the partnership between Basis Technologies International and PASàPAS has a bright future ahead.