Royal Mail Group has completed the installation of MySAP ERP Financials and SAP Business Intelligence across the business.
The milestone marks the final phase of a SAP implementation designed to cut costs and improve financial operations across the Post Office, Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide.
The system will help to cut processing costs for the two million invoices the company deals with each year, for 250,000 business accounts.
Wendy Powney, enterprise IT director at Royal Mail, said the benefits of the new financial system will come from streamlining billing and supply chain processes, better reporting and from automatic integration with customer data. This will enable customer queries to be answered more quickly.
The MySAP Financials applications replaced a complex arrangement of seven legacy systems. The migration meant Royal Mail could decommission its Walker Financials Sunrise system, and move all customer pricing and billing data to SAP, said Powney.
"This has been our biggest challenge. We migrated hundreds of thousands of customers from Sunrise to SAP, in 10 different phases, 50,000 at a time.
"Migrating all our customers onto SAP and then doing their invoices was horribly complex and getting through that was a big issue," said Powney.
Royal Mail worked on the project with SAP Consulting, implementation partner Deloitte and IT services provider Xansa, all part of the Computer Sciences Corporation-led Prism Alliance.
Working with so many partners was a challenge, said Powney. So too was ensuring the Royal Mail had the right skills for the migration. "We had to make sure we had Business Warehouse skills - which are very scarce - it was a real issue," she said.
Royal Mail is already embarking on a new project - the Order for Cash - with a schedule of two to three years. The SAP sales order processing implementation aims to give business account customers a SAP interface with electronic forms to communicate how much mail they will be posting. At the moment this is a manually intensive, paper-based process, said Powney.
Royal Mail has also recently implemented elements of SAP's Netweaver web services-based platform, and now has an eye on SAP's future Enterprise Services Architecture, due out in 2007.
At a glance
The Royal Mail's IT infrastructure is based on Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Office, Lotus Domino and Notes for e-mail, Business Objects, SAP tools, and Solaris. The group also uses Blackberry handhelds and BT ADSL links between offices.
Timeline for SAP roll-out
2002 Business Warehouse
2002 Business Planning
2003 Revenue and Costing
2005 Revenue Management
2007 Sales Order Processing.