EMI goes global with SAP to meet demand for real-time transactions

Music company EMI is rolling out a single SAP enterprise resource planning platform across its worldwide operations, following a successful implementation in the UK.

Music company EMI is rolling out a single SAP enterprise resource planning platform across its worldwide operations, following a successful implementation in the UK.

EMI has moved to consolidate onto a single global ERP platform, running MySAP on Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and Windows Server 2003 in a system dubbed Evolve. Eventually, the system will have 2,500 users worldwide.

The move reflects the company's changing business and its need to run billing and transactions in real time, as sales increasingly include digital products that are downloaded from the internet. EMI is replacing a variety of legacy systems introduced locally by its operating companies around the world.

EMI Music's chief technology officer Andrew Hickey said SAP systems best fitted with EMI's business needs in areas such as intellectual property and digital sales.

Using Microsoft allowed tight integration with the desktop where Windows software is used across the company, he said.

The system will remove the need to use legacy programming languages to adapt existing software to the changing needs of the business, said Hickey. "It is about future-proofing EMI," he said.

The music firm used consultancy Accenture to configure and customise the SAP package, with some of the work outsourced to Accenture's offshore development facilities in Spain and Malaysia.

A team of 50 people created 148 custom SAP objects and more than 74,000 lines of code as part of the UK installation. Top EMI managers, including its UK finance and sales directors, were also closely involved.

Hickey said gains from the UK implementation were now being realised. "One of the key new capabilities is real-time profitability analysis around our projects and releases. The other area is much improved approaches to procurement around marketing and promotions."

Having a single system around the world would also mean reducing overall IT costs by having a shared service, he said.

The new system will be rolled out in North America and Europe following the current implementation in Japan, Hickey said.

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