Case Study 04

European Big Bang (8 countries, 6 languages, the creation of business shared service centers and reduced IT support costs)




A worldwide apparel company implemented SAP for their European territory; based on a global supply chain template with global alignment & global business process owners.


Industry: Apparel, Footwear Solution
Employees: 15,000
Annual revenue: $4 billion
Region: North America, Canada, Europe and Asia Pacific
Reason for ERP implementation: global alignment & retirement on non-support ERP solution

The Challenge

The creation of a newly organized business model, consolidated banking across 8 countries, migrating financial transactions to a shared service center, moving from an in-country model to a regional hub model; all while implementing SAP and retiring 16 legacy applications. 

The Solution

To address big bang and implement SAP in 8 countries (6 languages); a tight program methodology, strong leadership team, global business process ownership and rigorous check points were all put in place to ensure great success.  The first and most critical step was to retain a strong, multi-cultural, team that had in depth experience, sense of team, willing to travel full time and carried a “can do” attitude.  Once the right project leadership was put in place, the implementation methodology, timeline check points and audit controls were established. 

Time was spent on a global Fit Gap, to understand the business process differences between the North American, European and Asia-Pacific regions; as well as, to establish the scope and complexity of what was needed to migrate to a global template.  This project did not under estimate the amount of organizational change management needed; not only due to the scope and scale of the SAP implementation; but to also address the massive business transformation happening.  

Because of the multiple time zones, it was essential to hire carefully so that team members wouldn't burn out over the long haul.  Team had to calibrate between the US, Europe and Asia; so the teams had to adjust their work days to attend meetings at 4am; as well as, again at 11pm.  According to Mrs. Amirault “never underestimate the power that great teams and strong leadership can provide; as it has been proven in times past that these individuals make the impossible – possible”.

There was laundry list of success factors that lead to this go live story; but only the top 5 have been listed for your preview:

  1. Data Cleansing Program with the setup of an ongoing master data governance business team.
  2. Very strong Organizational Change Management team
  3. True focus on the project benefits and addressing only those efforts that would realize the benefits initially outlined.
  4. Retained the production support team in time for integration testing for knowledge transfer and extra testing assistance
  5. Retain the ownership of the project within the company and leverage the system integrator and SAP for their expertise and bench strength; but hold yourselves responsible for the design, build, acceptance and ownership of the project.