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Manchester Airports Group taps Rise with SAP service to speed recovery

Manchester Airports Group, which includes London Stansted and East Midlands as well as Manchester, has chosen SAP’s Rise package, on AWS, as it seeks to ‘build back smarter’ post-pandemic

Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports, has adopted SAP’s Rise service on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

MAG is already a SAP customer. Across its three airports, 60 million passengers flew in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic. At that time, it employed more than 40,000 people on-site.

It also has a 50% investment in the £1bn, 5 million square foot Airport City development at Manchester Airport.

According to a joint statement from SAP and MAG, as the group started to see economic recovery after the pandemic, it decided to undertake a technology investment programme, as part of a business initiative internally dubbed Project Build Back Smarter.

Nicholas Woods, CIO at MAG, said in the statement: “Following a challenging period for the airport industry, we’re now seeing a resurgence in the number of people wanting to get away. As passenger numbers continue to increase, we need to be as agile as possible to deliver the best possible service for our customers and to respond to our colleagues’ needs in the workplace. Our SAP partnership allows us to do just that, initially shifting key functions to the cloud, with a view to completing a full digital transformation in the next few years.” 

The group decided on SAP’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system S/4 Hana as the core of its technology programme, and opted to have that delivered over the cloud, with AWS as the cloud infrastructure provider.

Read more about airports’ use of business software

Rise is a service that bundles managed cloud infrastructure and managed services into one contract, and is based on S4, which is an ERP system based on SAP’s columnar, in-memory database Hana. It was launched in January 2021.

MAG joins a publicly announced roster of UK companies that have signed up to Rise, including logistics company Unipart, Twinings Ovaltine, process engineering company Briggs of Burton, London-based automotive sector company Inchcape, petrol station and food retailer EG Group, and Asda.

The first phase of MAG’s move to Rise is reportedly a “lift and shift” of its existing SAP ECC estate into the cloud. The company is also looking to maximise its use of the procurement system SAP Ariba and the HR system SAP SuccessFactors.

Michiel Verhoeven, UK & Ireland managing director at SAP, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting Manchester Airports Group as it embarks on its journey towards full digital transformation. The tourism industry has been profoundly affected over the last couple of years, but as MAG becomes more agile, automated and insights-driven, it is putting itself in the best possible position to take off as global restrictions ease.”

The statement said SAP had worked with MAG to plumb an understanding of its HR issues, such as reduced staffing through continued furlough schemes. MAG went live on Rise in March 2022, in what is intended to be five-year transformation.

Read more on Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software

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