Products and Services: Hotels
Web Site: www.scandichotels.com
Partner: Opal Wave Solutions Ltd. www.opalwave.com
Scandic Hotels, the largest Nordic hotel operator, wanted to improve and standardise its enterprise reporting. It therefore asked a Swedish company to implement the SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) application, which would provide powerful, integrated functionality across the group’s extensive multi-national network. Scandic then enlisted Opal Wave, a leading UK-based enterprise performance management and business intelligence software specialist, to improve the SAP BPC solution’s performance further. Opal Wave’s experts duly delivered, allowing Scandic to enhance the speed, efficiency, relevance, consistency and accuracy of its reporting. The client was so impressed that this initial project has led to a continuing relationship, with Scandic now regarding Opal Wave as its trusted technical adviser and service provider, and its first port of call on relevant issues.
The largest Nordic hotel operator
Stockholm-based Scandic, founded in 1963, has been the biggest Nordic hotel operator since the start of the 21st century. At the end of 2015, the company had about 221 hotels – containing almost 41,000 rooms – in 120 cities in the Nordic nations plus Germany, Poland and Belgium.
Scandic operates in the mid-market and generated revenue totalling SEK 12.2bn in 2015. About 70 percent of this is attributable to business travellers and conferences and the remaining 30 percent to leisure travel.
The organisation carried out northern Europe’s largest-ever hotel refurbishment programme between 2012 and 2014, upgrading 40 properties in Finland, Norway and Sweden to a very high standard, at a cost of SEK 1.6bn.
The company also undertook an initial public offering (IPO) of its shares on Nasdaq’s Stockholm stock exchange in December 2015. This attracted strong interest from international institutional investors, as well as retail backers.
Scandic went into 2016 still expanding, with seven hotels, containing almost 3,000 rooms, under development and the first of these set to open that year.
Scandic SAP BPC Solution Benefits
Budgeting, Forecasting, Consolidation
Daily hotel performance data and KPI collection
Stress tested to 700 concurrent users
Solution enhancements include:
- Enhanced system speed
- Process efficiency
- Data relevance and consistency
- Improved accuracy and transparency in enterprise reporting
Scandic asks Opal Wave to improve SAP BPC solution performance
By 2013, Scandic Hotels had become a large organisation, with operations spread across several countries. To address the challenges this posed and facilitate continued growth, the company needed a state-of-the-art integrated enterprise application, providing common reporting functionality and processes across its business.
Alex Erstfeld, group controller and SAP BPC solution manager, says: “We did have a limited SAP BPC solution, developed by a SAP competitor, at that time. But, in reality, we were still very manual, working with tools like Excel spreadsheets and email.”
Scandic therefore engaged a Swedish company to implement the SAP BPC application. With its native Microsoft Office interface, the solution provides the functionality and flexibility essential for modern finance and other organisational functions, and was ideal for Scandic’s needs.
On the recommendation of a consultant working on the project, Scandic then asked Opal Wave to improve the system’s performance further.
Why Opal Wave?
Expertise and experience made company ideal for Scandic project
Opal Wave is the leading UK-based enterprise performance management and business intelligence software expert specialising in SAP BPC solutions. The organisation has more and better certified consultants for SAP BPC than any competitor in the UK, Europe or the Middle-East. Many Opal Wave people worked in major performance management software companies earlier in their careers and, after dozens of projects over many years, the organisation has a detailed understanding of what works and what does not.
The company assists clients by delivering tailored solutions meeting their unique needs. Its experts analyse the key factors of alignment, response and change, and for new installations implement a disciplined and proven project methodology, beginning with analysis and ending with reviewing the solution in use. Opal Wave has enabled dozens of clients, across numerous industries, in many countries, to achieve exactly the results they desired, in vital areas such as planning, budgeting, reporting and analysis. In many cases, Opal Wave has continued to support them throughout their solution’s life cycle, as their requirements change.
Successful project delivered on time, within budget and avoids disruption
Opal Wave completed the initial Scandic SAP BPC solution improvement project successfully, on time and within budget, in about six months. This was achieved without disrupting the client’s daily, business-critical activities.
This technical task included Opal Wave’s experts monitoring and developing a deep understanding the system’s current performance, over several weeks. They then produced a series of recommendations to improve the application’s functionality and operation further – including rebuilding the technical environment – which, following client agreement, they implemented.
The project followed Opal Wave’s proven methodology and included initiation, a workshop on what should happen, architectural design, installation, a review and technical testing, handover and sign-off, followed by ongoing support.
Alex Erstfeld recalls: “Opal Wave were impressive throughout that first project. Their deep knowledge of the system was reassuring, they had clearly implemented it for other clients and understood what we wanted from it. In addition, everybody we came across from Opal Wave was thoroughly professional and committed.”
Following this initial initiative, Opal Wave has also upgraded Scandic from SAP BPC version 7.5 to 10.1 and from Windows 2008 R2 to 2012 R2, a task which was completed and went live during 2016. The consultancy’s role encompassed testing, including stress testing up to 700 concurrent users, to minimise risks on going live. The firm also trained the Scandic trainers – such as the internal project team and senior staff from across the business – in Stockholm, so their knowledge could be cascaded through the organisation. Around 10 Opal Wave experts were involved in this project, which has provided Scandic with software that SAP fully supports.
Alex Erstfeld says: “The main thing we wanted from the upgrade was a continuing stable solution that worked even more consistently and faster for us, and that’s what Opal Wave delivered. They were able to modify some features that we weren’t happy with, which didn’t suit our particular needs, and include some special functionality that’s unique to us.”
Opal Wave’s other contributions to Scandic since 2013 have included providing ongoing support for the environment, completing the upgrade and implementing multiple functional enhancements. These cover elements of continuous SAP software maintenance, addressing matters such as bug fixes and enhancements, for the company’s technical team. The supplier has also delivered more general application support for the functional team and provides specific functional assistance to Scandic’s finance team.
Faster budgeting and forecasting among a range of key benefits
Scandic’s SAP BPC solution now supplies data for key tasks, including budgeting, forecasting and financial consolidation. It also allows the group to monitor vital operational metrics, such as room occupancy rates, plus food and beverage sales. The system is accessed and updated throughout the business, including at group, country, region and hotel level.
Magnus Wretlund, Scandic’s IT system manager, business intelligence and CRM, says: “We use the system’s reliable and detailed information on a daily basis for making key operational decisions, at the level of individual hotels. Some of our properties have four or five bars and restaurants, for example, and the solution allows management to see how each is performing.
“Its operational benefits therefore go way beyond the vital monthly budgeting and forecasting, or financial closing, all of which it has made very quick.”
Alex Erstfeld adds: “Access to accurate financial figures was certainly important when we conducted our IPO at the end of 2015, so the system played its part in that vital development too.”
Over 1,000 staff, throughout Scandic’s network, were inputting into the system by mid-2016, with the company and Opal Wave discussing adding to its functionality and extending this user base further.
Better and more cost-effective decision making follow Opal Wave input
Since being called-in, Opal Wave has significantly enhanced the performance and functionality of Scandic’s integrated enterprise application.
The SAP BPC solution now facilitates much more insightful and cost-effective strategic and operational decision making, having greatly improved the speed, efficiency, relevance, consistency and accuracy of Scandic’s enterprise reporting.
The solution’s flexibility also means it can be extended easily to new countries and hotels, as the company continues to grow.
Alex Erstfeld says: “The system has made our organisation more uniform and transparent, among other advantages, and both are important benefits.”
Scandic describe Opal Wave as among the best consultancies they have worked with and have been so pleased that they have adopted some of the company’s operating methods for their own internal projects.
Magnus Wretlund says: “We have 50 to 100 suppliers on the IT side, and many talk about being our partners but, in reality, it’s more of a win-lose relationship and they don’t earn our respect by operating at that level. Opal Wave, however, are different and all their staff, not just the senior people, also know their stuff and what we should be doing.”
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