Universidad de Concepción is one of the oldest and most important universities in Chile. In 2021, we told you about the migration project to the public cloud of its SAP solution, which included the SAP S/4HANA platform migration, SAP PO, and SAP SolMan systems. On this occasion, we would like to present the SAP S/4 HANA 2021 upgrade project that we carried out in 2022, completely remote.
Universidad de Concepción is part of the Universidad de Concepción Private Law Corporation, which includes several companies with a high level of development and commitment to the community. The implementation of ERP SAP was part of its Financial Management Modernization (MGF) project, which is part of a process that began in 2014 and whose goal is excellence in the university’s work, through a permanent review of its management processes.
The ERP has been operational for the University since January 2020, an opportunity in which Rector Dr. Carlos Saavedra Rubilar pointed out that “this is a key milestone in the transformation of the organizational culture of our institution and is part of the digital transformation that is being developed at the University”. Meanwhile, the Vice-Rector for Economic and Administrative Affairs, Dr. Miguel Quiroga Suazo, said that this process “marks the difference between two distinct stages: one is the implementation phase of the project and the next one, which is the stabilization of the system and involves the entire university community”. He also stressed that this new modality implies greater transparency, a reduction in risks and an improvement in financial management (see article in Concepción newspaper).
To talk about the SAP S/4HANA upgrade project, we spoke with Marcela Aguilera Hafner, head of the project and part of the MGF team. She is emphatic about the importance of SAP in the management of the University: “For us, SAP is our main financial accounting tool and has allowed us to have integrated and online information to optimize management and use of resources”.
Regarding the demands of a project like this, Aguilera adds that “the implementation at the Universidad de Concepción has a complex organizational structure in SAP, where each faculty has its own set of data: current accounts, cost center, profit center, etc. SAP allows us to carefully manage the cross-referencing of information and obtain specific reports according to what is required”.
In addition, he adds that “we also receive funds from the State for various projects, which must be reported in great detail. The incorporation of SAP has facilitated this work. The central administration now has an integrated vision. Thus, the Finance Department can analyze, for each faculty, what budget it has, what its purchases have been, what income it has had, and so on. All of this makes it important for us to keep SAP operating in the best possible way.
SAP announced that the version we had, SAP S/4 HANA v1610, would no longer be supported or maintained, so we had to upgrade to version 2021, since SAP is central to our work financially speaking.
Currently, Universidad de Concepción has implemented SAP S/4 HANA and the modules Fixed Assets Management (FI-AA), Accounts Payable (FI-AP), Accounts Receivable (FI-AR), General Ledger (FI-GL), Budget Control or Funds Management (FI-FM), Cost Control (CO), Materials Management (MM), Sales and Distribution (SD) and Project Management (PS), also uses SAP Fiori in the release of purchase orders. In addition, it has SAP Process Orchestration (SAP PO 7.5) and SAP Solution Manager (SAP SolMan 7.2).
Because it was already our partner in the Basis administration, and we had had a good experience in the migration to the public cloud. We liked working with Novis at that time, because of their work methodology and the responsibility of their project managers. In fact, the experience had been positive so, at the time of choosing, although we analyzed other alternatives, Novis was the natural choice.
The company developed excellent teamwork with us. It was a good project, it was carried out within the deadlines and was very well led by the Novis project manager, with whom we had weekly meetings. She coordinated the team of functional consultants, who advised us to make changes and adjustments to the modules we have implemented, and who did a high-quality job.
The project was developed in 15 weeks and included post-production support, while we worked 100% remotely. I think that the testing phase was very important for a good result. If you do good tests, you have almost 80% of your production output without major problems, as was the case in this project.
Victor Madariaga Landeros, business manager at Novis, points out:
“The project to upgrade SAP S/4 HANA from version 1610 to 2021 was done on a turnkey basis, i.e., it included all the technical and functional consulting and AWS infrastructure for the SAP S/HANA upgrade project. It also included the upgrade of the SAP HANA DB revision and the functional corrections required for the systems to continue operating as they were. For this, we considered both functional support of all implemented S/4HANA standard modules, as well as corrections of customer specific developments (transactions/Z programs, interfaces, reports, extensions) and SAP standard elements.
We use the specific methodology for upgrades developed by Novis, with SAP SolMan as a tool for the management and documentation of unit and integral tests. Our focus is to minimize system downtime, so we anticipate and resolve all possible difficulties in the process, without affecting the operation.
This project demonstrates, once again, that Novis has experience and proven methodologies to work remotely. If you would like to know more about our services, we invite you to contact us.
Article by Gilda Valderrama, Novis Newsletter editor.