Home furnishing chain Habitat has dramatically simplified its IT integration technology in preparation for an upgrade of its SAP ERP system next April.
The retailer used technology from Sterling Commerce to prepare for its shift from SAP R/3 4.0b to SAP R/3 4.7.
Habitat IT director Yves Gauguier said the existing SAP implementation required links to about 60 external IT systems controlling business processes such as warehouse management, finance and marketing.
These links had been developed in Abap, SAP's own programming language, but the Abap interfaces were difficult to manage, according to Gauguier.
"To maintain these [Abap] links was extremely time-consuming. Every time we needed to make a change we had to go through the lengthy cycle of specifying and testing Abap code," he said. Maintaining this code required the time of one and a half full-time staff, he added.
Gauguier did not want to redevelop in Abap when the company upgraded to SAP R/3 4.7 so he chose to rebuild the interfaces from scratch using the Sterling Integrator product. "Configuration was user-friendly and the software was cost-effective for Habitat," he said.
The Sterling Commerce integration software was trialled when Habitat linked its SAP R/3 4.0b and its new demand planning system.
"I wanted to prototype Sterling Integrator with our demand planning system and SAP in order to have the required processes and knowledge in place before we start our SAP upgrade project," Gauguier said.