A Municipal Provider’s Mobility Roadmap

SAP Fiori app builds and mobility roadmap delivered in six months

CHALLENGE: Upgrading and innovating in tandem

Modernizing the SAP environment can be complicated and costly. Whether it’s SAP S/4HANA conversion or a move from paper to digital, SAP leads are faced with difficult decisions on which providers and technology to trust.

When German utility company WVV GmbH decided to connect business and IT to deliver a mobility roadmap, it needed an SAP-centric sidekick that could help it modernize.

WVV wanted to bring SAP GUI and paper-based PM processes into the digital age, enabling maintenance staff to work on mobile devices and eradicating the need for duplicate entries. Cost savings, convenience for users, optimized field working and improved data were among the desired outcomes.

WVV chose three potential providers from a field of fifteen. Two of the providers had ready-made mobile solutions. But Neptune Software stood out as a viable alternative with its development platform. It was the sidekick WVV needed for the journey ahead.

Not only did they have to choose between vendor A or B, but also decide if it made more sense to “Make or Buy”. Combine this with a strategic direction for the mobilization of SAP processes and this decision turned into one that would have a direct impact on the IT roadmap for years to come.

Neptune was chosen after it became apparent that even highly-rated standard solutions would require high adaptation efforts.

Dr. A. Schliemann, a management consultant who was part of the selection process, said: “If you considered the characteristics of each SAP backend module and then applied the specific requirements from the users, very little of the actual “product standard” remained. This results in high license costs that could not be justified. We did not want to subject our processes to the software which had expanded over the years, but instead develop the software based on our established standard processes.

“The idea of a configurable and modular set of individual Fiori Apps, which can be called up centrally via a launchpad, fit our requirements perfectly. The fact that Fink IT [Neptune Software Partner] was not only an implementation partner who was familiar with the Neptune Software technology, but also brought along their own plant maintenance solution with various SAP PM apps, was the deciding factor.”

APPROACH: Delivering the first apps within six months

The project was a team effort, shaped through open workshops and close cooperation between end-users from both the business side and IT.

The first apps were delivered just six months after WVV decided to go with the Neptune DX Platform (DXP) from Neptune Software and the FITS/Maintenance Solution. WVV were impressed that DXP allowed continual innovation even during tricky SAP conversion processes.

Daniel Hofmann, who acted as the interface between users and IT during the project, said: “We defined the service notification system as the first sub-process. This had an immediate benefit and could also work on its own. On that basis, feedback was gathered from users and we gained initial experience with offline applications and Fiori UX. As the project progressed, we systematically worked our way through our catalog of requirements, app by app.”

Hofmann described the new mobile maintenance process: “The supervisor receives an order and assigns it to the relevant technician. The technician then processes this order and records the checklists, messages, times, pictures, operating equipment data and material withdrawals. After the order has been processed, the technician reports back and the supervisor then checks the order and carries out a technical completion.

“By gradually rolling out the new solution, we were able to significantly reduce the training effort required. With the initial apps, what needed to be done was explained in great detail. Once the users got used to the new UI, we found that a short description was sufficient enough for the rollout of additional enterprise apps. We gained good experience with the intuitive Fiori UX and had to do very little retraining.”

Due to the modular approach of individual applications, which depicts sub-processes, the reusability for other user groups was made simple. Hofmann added:

“Through the course of the project we discovered that the Neptune Software Fiori Apps fit perfectly in other areas. For example, the app for material withdrawal, which was originally intended primarily for maintenance staff, was rolled out to other groups outside of plant maintenance.”

RESULTS: Effectively combining SAP Fiori UX and a hybrid development approach

The project was mainly driven by the business department, but the IT department was always involved and clearly defined the guidelines at the outset.

The support of a complete on-premise architecture was just as important as the avoidance of unnecessary interfaces and redundant data storage in third party systems.

For us, the SAP PM project was the initial and successful start of implementing our Mobility Roadmap. We had planned to mobilize additional SAP processes from the very beginning. After receiving positive feedback from our users and having seen the confidence level in using Neptune Software’s technology had grown, the first HCM processes were designed. Today, company-wide, vacation requests and time sheets can be recorded and approved digitally.”

The rollout of the HCM apps to the entire workforce provoked a question around end-device strategy. The hybrid development approach offered by the DXP allows for an end-device agnostic use, which made it possible to implement the “Bring your own Device” strategy that WVV wanted.

CONCLUSION: A SAP-native rapid app development platform

With the introduction of mobile apps for SAP PM and SAP HCM, it was possible to achieve a higher-level project objective – to establish a cross-divisional platform for mobile applications instead of buying a niche solution. WVV now considers itself prepared for the future. With Neptune Software’s SAP certification for SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA as well as its flexibility in terms of on-premise and cloud operation, the DXP provides the most native and robust technological foundation for continued mobilization and optimization of all SAP processes.

To read the case study in German, please click here


Customer Industry: Utilities / Public Sector

Geographic Reach: Municipal supplier of the city of Würzburg, Germany

Users: 1500 Neptune Users / enterprise-wide

Systems & Modules: SAP ERP (SAP PM, MM, QM, and HCM)

Devices: Offline and online Apps for every mobile device / “Bring your own Device”

Implementation: 6 months until first Go-Live / Neptune DX Platform Customer since 2016

Functionality Scope: Complete reporting of the maintenance staff on PM tasks, vacation requests, and time registration

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To download the case study in German, please click here

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