22 Mar 2 Sisters Food Group
Industry: Food Manufacturing
Products and Services: Various
Web Site: www.2sfg.com/
Partner: Opal Wave Solutions Ltd
2 Sisters is a multinational manufacturer, producing products including pizzas, desserts, pies, ready meals, poultry and soups. The company decided it needed a single system for all financial consolidation and statutory reporting, and chose the SAP BPC application, version 10.1, which provides the powerful, integrated functionality essential for modern finance and other organisational activities. 2 Sisters also appointed Opal Wave as its implementation partner and accepted the firm’s recommendation that the solution installed should be the version for NetWeaver on SAP HANA, today’s most advanced in-memory database management platform. While 2 Sisters was making final decisions about matters such as technical architecture, it endorsed Opal Wave’s suggestion that it should construct a temporary hosting environment immediately. This enabled the build phase to be completed almost three months earlier than would otherwise have occurred. Opal Wave then delivered the solution successfully, without disrupting client activity.
The UK’s largest food manufacturer by turnover
2 Sisters is the UK’s largest food manufacturer by turnover and one of Europe’s leading organisations of this type. It reported sales during the year to July 2016 of £3.12bn and operating profit of £90.2m.
The business employs over 20,000 people at sites throughout the UK and in the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands and Poland.
2 Sisters is one of the UK’s biggest suppliers of own label, chicken and ready meal products to retailers and food service companies, its famous brands including Goodfella’s pizzas and Fox’s biscuits.
2 Sisters decides on one solution for financial consolidation and statutory reporting
2 Sisters decided that it needed an enterprise performance management (EPM) application, providing common functionality and processes for financial consolidation and statutory reporting across its operations. The company’s vision was that, in time, its financial planning, budgeting and forecasting would be added to the solution, providing a comprehensive platform incorporating data warehousing and business intelligence functionality.
Why Opal Wave?
Expertise and experience made Opal Wave ideal for 2 Sisters project
Opal Wave is the leading UK-based enterprise performance management and business intelligence software expert specialising in SAP BPC solutions plus the SAP HANA platform. Founded in 2008, the company employs over 40 people and has offices in London, Bradford and Beirut. Opal Wave offers consulting, hardware, software, hosting, support and maintenance services. The consultancy has worked successfully with dozens of clients, in many sectors, across the UK, Europe, the USA and Middle East. Opal Wave provides tailored solutions meeting clients’ unique needs, delivering exactly the results they desire, in areas such as planning, budgeting, reporting and analysis. It also delivers a fully managed pure cloud software-as-a-service option, making the enterprise capabilities of SAP BPC and HANA available to a much wider audience.
The consultancy’s services provide benefits such as improved compliance and enhanced profitability. Its specialisms include working with clients to ensure: their performance management strategy aligns with business aims; information produced is relevant and timely; and performance management systems adapt to alterations in their operations, as they grow and change. For new installations, Opal Wave’s experts work with clients through a disciplined and proven project methodology, starting with analysis and ending with reviewing the solution in use, with a strong governance model on top. The company also trains clients in developing, deploying, using and maintaining its applications, including integrating them with existing systems. It can host these at its state-of-the-art data centre and provides continuous back-up through 24-hour online support and a hotline phone service.
Opal Wave partners with complementary specialists in related fields, including data warehousing, business intelligence and enterprise resource planning. It is an SAP Gold Value Added Reseller, as well as being certified in SAP EPM solutions and SAP HANA. The consultancy is a certified SAP Partner Managed Cloud Partner as well as being a Huawei Enterprise Partner and a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.
Opal Wave delivers successful project without disruption
After assessing its options, 2 Sisters chose SAP BPC, version 10.1, then picked Opal Wave as its implementation partner, following a selection process involving two other potential providers.
David Wick, 2 Sisters’ IT project manager, says: “We appointed Opal Wave partly because we obtained some detailed references for them and spoke to several of their clients, getting good stories back.”
2 Sisters concurred with the consultancy’s proposal that the solution adopted should be the version for NetWeaver on SAP HANA. It also agreed that Opal Wave should build a temporary hosting environment immediately, pending final client decisions on project detail, to save significant time overall. The consultancy has provided this service to the benefit of other clients in similar circumstances.
Opal Wave began the build phase in May 2016, in its temporary hosting environment. It then transferred the solution to 2 Sisters’ own environment 10 weeks later.
The system, incorporating a data warehousing facility, went live in November 2016, a three-month parallel running phase preceding production deployment. Opal Wave then provided its Hyper Care on-site support on one day a week for six weeks from the go-live date and now supplies help under the extended support contract 2 Sisters awarded it.
A team of 10 Opal Wave staff did the work leading to full implementation, ensuring the right skilled individuals were deployed for each task, in a project completed successfully, without disrupting client activities.
David says: “In addition to facing the challenge of consolidating information from the eight enterprise resource planning systems we operate – after a double-figure number of strategic acquisitions this century – into one solution, Opal Wave had their patience tested. We have to be a fast-moving and responsive business and they’d be working with someone one day and then wouldn’t see them for two or three days, for example.
“A reason for appointing Opal Wave was we believed they’d be flexible enough to cope with this disruption. Sure enough, they just kept quietly re-cutting the project plan, sometimes having to work hard to keep things on track.
“I’ve worked with many other firms in their sector and they can be rigid and dogmatic but Opal Wave are different – they operate a genuine partnership with you and are prepared to be flexible.”
Part of Opal Wave’s work was training 2 Sisters’ staff in using the new solution.
David says: “The training Opal Wave delivered was first-class. They’re experts on the subject matter and brought impressive materials. They also delivered the training in a friendly and relaxed way and we were therefore able to make a good start on the parallel running phase.
“Opal Wave tutored about 50 people, over several days, in various locations. Overall, these staff said the training was well-delivered and made them confident about using the SAP solution.”
“I’ve worked with many other firms in their sector and they can be rigid and dogmatic but Opal Wave are different – they operate a genuine partnership with you and are prepared to be flexible.” – David Wick, IT project manager, 2 Sisters Food Group.
SAP BPC “has a very good name in the financial world”
SAP BPC, version 10.1, enables organisations to enhance the speed, efficiency, relevance, consistency and accuracy of their reporting, leading to better and more timely decisions. Facilitating the production of reliable, detailed breakdowns, it is powerful and scalable enough to handle high demand.
With its automated data checking, collection and control, it minimises manual input and therefore errors and redundancy. Its flexibility means it can be extended easily to new sites, acquisitions and countries.
David Wick says: “SAP BPC has a very good name in the financial world and the cost of the HANA platform has reduced hugely recently, which was one of its attractions for us. SAP BPC is a leading-edge solution with a full development cycle ahead of it, whose provider has a clear idea where it wants to take it and is fully committed to this journey. Unlike some alternatives, it’s not a dying product at the end of its life that’s no longer supported.”
“SAP BPC has a very good name in the financial world…a leading-edge solution with a full development cycle ahead of it, whose provider has a clear idea where it wants to take it and is fully committed to this journey. Unlike some alternatives, it’s not a dying product at the end of its life that’s no longer supported.” David Wick, IT project manager, 2 Sisters Food Group.
2 Sisters to liaise with Opal Wave over extending solution
SAP BPC now facilitates 2 Sisters’ strategic and operational financial consolidation and statutory reporting. This, internally or externally, takes place weekly, monthly and annually.
David Wick explains: “Our company is structured like a wedding cake. At the bottom are the individual sites reporting on things like their own financial position and sales. The next layer is the divisions, consolidating information for their own sites and identifying factors such as the cost of sales. Then, there’s the group layer, where we take all the division numbers and declare overall sales, expenses and other figures.”
He says his company will now liaise with Opal Wave over extending the SAP BPC solution to areas such as financial forecasting, planning and budgeting.
David says: “Opal Wave’s consultants have been helpful, friendly and courteous. We’ve learned a lot from them and enjoyed doing so.
“You always get dark days in long and complex projects like this, but Opal Wave’s staff, without being at all unprofessional, were always happy to have a laugh with us. They’re genuinely nice people.”
“Opal Wave’s consultants have been helpful, friendly and courteous. We’ve learned a lot from them and enjoyed doing so.” – David Wick, IT project manager, 2 Sisters Food Group.
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