WE WILL RISE TO THE COVID-19 CHALLENGE - Gerald Faust, Managing Director & CEO, SNP Japan & Asia-Pacific

Paola Krauss
| 4 min read


Gerald Faust, Managing Director & CEO, SNP Japan & Asia-Pacific (JAPAC):

SNP has a presence in all major world markets, including the Japan and Asia-Pacific region. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies with worldwide operations must also provide globally effective programs to protect employees and to carry out ongoing and planned projects securely. These two measures demand a great deal of commitment, close cooperation between management and staff, a considerable amount of management experience, and the fulfillment of technical requirements.

The latter is essential for global rollouts and go-lives. Now, amid the coronavirus, companies in certain industries must be capable of working remotely if they want to ensure business continuity. Gerald Faust reports on how SNP’s technical capabilities and confidence in the management guarantee project success in the JAPAC region:

With a very dynamic COVID-19 situation in Asia, how important is communication and cooperation with the company headquarters right now for an SNP managing director in a distant region, and what are the special aspects of the JAPAC region in dealing with this situation?

Gerald Faust: For me, personally and the regionwide team here too, it is extremely important to know that we can rely on the support of the management in Heidelberg. We are in very close contact, have discussed measures together and introduced them in line with local requirements in order to protect employees – this is priority number one for us in the Asia-Pacific region too. We also have the major advantage that we have been working remotely for years and are able to carry out projects remotely as well. For us and our customers, this experience is invaluable in times like these.

"We also have the major advantage that we have

been working remotely for years and are able

to carry out projects remotely as well.

For us and our customers,

this experience is invaluable in times like these.”

The region has always been characterized by its linguistic and cultural diversity, which offers its own challenges and opportunities of doing business here. Clear roles and responsibilities alongside highly standardized procedures help to bridge these differences and integrate capabilities. Our BLUEFIELD approach is exemplary in terms of its clear process model: The guided procedures integrated into our Mission Control center set clear guidelines yet leave sufficient room for the necessary customer-specific or project-specific agility.

The ability to work remotely is one of the key success factors for transformation projects amid COVID-19. But it also supports work during normal times and provides a decisive edge over competitors. How does SNP achieve this success while working remotely?

Gerald Faust: SNP has been carrying out complex data transformation projects in the SAP Landscape remotely for several years now. Here, one of the most important success factors is a highly industrialized approach.  In our view, it consists of two interdependent elements: a common methodology and an underlying technical platform – in our case the data transformation platform CrystalBridge. Both elements are necessary to successfully implement complex projects from afar. The methodology provides procedures, best practices, rules, guidelines, templates, checklists and other functions to support the work of our experts. In terms of the level of automation and comprehensive guidance offered, CrystalBridge also raises the effectiveness of the processes to a completely new level. It performs an automated analysis of complex SAP landscapes remotely without the need for additional personnel and provides comprehensive facts. In contrast, the traditional approach requires an investigation lasting several weeks that also includes on-site meetings. Besides being hardly feasible against the backdrop of COVID-19, it involves unnecessary work and is an error-prone procedure.

"Our experience has shown

that successful remote delivery […]

is based on synergy between human interaction

and an automated approach.”

Furthermore, during the next step in a traditional approach – the definition of the new processes – all participants would meet in person, for example holding a design thinking workshop. In the industrialized SNP approach, CrystalBridge takes control and defines the future organizational structures, business processes, workflows and technical landscapes, including interfaces and all other dependencies. We can also perform this critical and interactive step remotely. Our experience has shown that successful remote delivery of a complex transformation project is based on synergy between human interaction and an automated approach. Here in the JAPAC region, during the go-live of Inventia Healthcare, a pharmaceutical client in India, we recently found that a clearly defined framework is especially helpful in complex projects involving several parties and specialized partners. The BLUEFIELD approach and the data transformation platform CrystalBridge played a significant role in ensuring a smooth and successful migration to SAP S/4HANA – 100 percent remotely. SNP’s approach seamlessly collaborated with Team Inventia and their partner ecosystem including Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Amazon Web Services for a successful remote go-live.

Delivering data migrations at any time and place with the SNP guarantee of fast and secure execution is a core component of SNP’s overall strategy as a globally operating company. How does the JAPAC region achieve this as part of the group?

Gerald Faust: Thanks to our technology and our experienced consultants, we always deliver quickly and securely – whether on-site or remotely. Security plays an important role in remote projects. In some cases, we ensure this security in a simple but very effective way: We move equipment such as laptops to more isolated locations instead of having employees in centrally located plants. Another totally different approach is to completely decouple the target system from the customer’s production environment. In summary, CrystalBridge channels the knowledge of our experts, automates repetitive tasks and ensures a zero-error rate. This is also demonstrated by our experience in the JAPAC region, having performed a significant number of SAP S/4HANA migrations, move to cloud and other business transformation scenarios such as mergers or carve-outs.  In all cases, our approach not only enabled a rate of almost 100% remote work, but also drastically reduced implementation times, costs and risks. Recent projects that confirm our approach and whose success makes us very proud include the fully completed migrations at the Mining Group ABM Investama in Indonesia, NSW Land Registry Services, retail giant Coles in Australia and at Inventia Healthcare in India. We also successfully carried out further remote projects in Singapore and Japan. It is vital for companies to ensure that their projects are reliably implemented and successfully completed, even in times of crisis.

We believe that remote projects are not just a temporary COVID-19 issue, but the basis for carrying out complex transformation projects going forward with an unprecedented level of effectiveness.

SNP wishes the people in Germany and all over the world all the best. Please stay healthy!