Seeking System Simplicity
A BackOffice Associates story of Yell.com’s SAP S/4HANA Migration to the Microsoft Azure Cloud
All too often, in life and in business, we seek to complicate and confuse to advance our standing, but Yell.com’s digital mission – to simplify their existing IT architecture to boost their competitive flexibility was a refreshingly bold approach.
The days of the printed local business directory, the Yellow Pages, being posted through the letterbox are now long in Yell’s past, and in its place has emerged an online marketplace for local businesses organisations and traders to interact with consumers. With fierce competition in this space – the likes of Google, Bing and industry-specific online directories – it was essential to have a technical agility and organisational ability to deliver the excellent customer experiences the like of Yell has been delivering for over 50 years.
“We know we have to modernise our IT landscape to maintain our competitiveness,” said Gaurav Swarup, CTO at Yell.com. “Our legacy SAP ECC 6.0 was aging, and to stay ahead we felt moving our UK data to SAP S/4HANA was the best way for us to become more real-time as a business, and more reactive to market desires.”
With the Microsoft Azure Cloud chosen as the ideal hosting partner because of its elasticity and scalability, an implementation partner was then required to design the move program and make the data migration happen without incident.
That’s where we, BackOffice Associates, came into the picture. Following productive dialogue and a passionate referral from Microsoft, Yell.com selected BackOffice Associates because of their intense understanding of SAP S/4HANA’s capabilities and well-earned heritage in managing and migrating data in the world’s largest enterprises.
Our SAP S/4HANA certified experts took Yell.com through our standard discovery process, an expansive, design-led session workshop to help understand Yell.com’s unique complexities and then showcased how their data would look in our S/4HANA demo system.
It was clear from this process that data deletion/archiving and quality were key issues for Yell.com. Either the deletion or archiving of historical or irrelevant data could represent significant cost savings for data hosting and management, and Yell.com were keen to see how the BackOffice Associates team could bring this into reality.
As an output of the workshop, the BackOffice Associates team presented a theme of ‘Simplicity’ in the roadmap to S/4HANA showing how we intended to guide Yell.com through the migration process. We showcased how we would address issues of data archiving all the while cutting 50% of the systems from Yell.com’s architecture, mitigating Yell.com’s exposure to technical issues on their aging IT landscape.
Seeing the business value, Yell.com initiated the project in July 2018, and even though achieving ‘Simplicity’ isn’t well, that simple, the project has been delivered on-point, on-time, and on-budget – as expected.
The data migration to SAP S/4HANA on the Microsoft Azure Cloud was finalised in March 2019, without incident, largely thanks to the successful collaborative partnership of the delivery teams at BackOffice Associates, Microsoft and Yell.com.
“This wasn’t a traditional supplier/ client relationship that we had with BackOffice Associates – this was a true partnership,” said Gaurav Swarup, CTO at Yell.com. “When the BackOffice Associates saw an opportunity to integrate a new technique or technology into the program, beyond the SOW, they explained it to us and why they thought it could enhance the program. It ensured the program was never too rigid – and could incorporate new ideas to deliver better results.”
One such ‘on-the-fly’ enhancement was the introduction of SAP Fiori to help manage new applications on SAP S/4HANA such as one to maintain their supplier relationships – making one system formerly responsible for this activity completely obsolete.
Looking into the future, and Yell.com are now poised to take advantage of their new simplified architecture, with further projects being discussed to continue on the ‘simplifying’ strategy.
To learn more about how BackOffice Associates could help you on your SAP S/4HANA journey visit boaweb.com/services/sap/.