LeasePlan puts tech trust in SAP

LeasePlan puts tech trust in SAP

LeasePlan, one of the world’s largest fleet management specialists, is undertaking an enterprise-wide technology overhaul with SAP.

Established in the mid-1960s, LeasePlan is nowadays comprised of 32 entities across the world, with its HQ in the Netherlands. As of March 2016, it is owned by an international consortium led by the Dutch Stichting Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn pension fund.

Traditionally, the 32 entities had been operating independently, with their own product sets, operations, technology and so on, says Alfonzo Venturi, CIO of LeasePlan Australia.

Every subsidiary had its own core system, some more than one. All in all, LeasePlan has 35 back-office processing solutions, Oracle FSS’s Flexcube in the Netherlands and White Clarke’s Calms in the UK, Spain, Portugal and Germany, and SAP Leasing in Australia.

However, the organisational strategy changed with the arrival of the new owners. LeasePlan now intends to become one entity and one business – including technology. The company embarked on this journey in late 2016.

In its search for a new standard solution for the group, the management from the Dutch head office visited the Australian business.

“We were the only entity within LeasePlan using SAP Leasing,” says Venturi. LeasePlan Australia went live with the solution in 2010. “It was a challenging project,” he recalls. It took the company until 2013 to get settled with new technology.

The project was ultimately a success, comments Venturi, and it was decided to standardise on SAP’s technology across the group. India-based system integrator and SAP partner HCL Technologies has been brought in as a strategic partner.

SAP will provide a host of solutions to LeasePlan “to support our main operations end-to-end, achieve efficiency and straight-through processing [STP]”.

These are SAP Leasing at the back-end, Fiori for user experience (UX), Ariba for procurement, Hybris for e-commerce and product content management, S/4HANA (including for the new insurance business) and Business Objects for reporting and analytics/business intelligence (BI).

The deployment will be done on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. The Australian operations that already have SAP’s tech deployed on-premise on IBM’s servers will continue to operate as is for the time-being.

“We have an extremely aggressive plan,” Venturi states. The first development and pilot phase, involving HCL in Bangalore and LeasePlan’s Australian and Dutch teams, will run until October this year.

This will be followed by the roll-out of a single instance of the system across 15 countries, mainly in Europe plus Australia (new SAP components, such as Hybris) and New Zealand.

This phase is set to be completed by October 2020. There will be two main deployment stages per year – in April and October. These will be “big bang” go-lives in the majority of countries, with a couple of exceptions where the operations are deemed too big. In these cases, go-lives will be phased by customer segment.

“We will go live with the minimal viable product, and expand functionality at a later stage,” Venturi says.

The remaining countries will follow at later stages as well.

All legacy systems will be switched off.

Venturi anticipates the benefits will start being realised soon, long before the project is completed. Starting from April next year, LeasePlan will be measuring KPIs and efficiency of the new platform.

The biggest challenge, comments Venturi, is not in product or software development and customisation but is in change management, both internal and external. Users will have a completely new way of carrying out their day-to-day operations, and there will also be a major change (“for the better”) for LeasePlan’s customers and partners using portals, he explains.

The company has initiated a comprehensive change management programme. “Communication and education are key,” Venturi states.