Inside HPE’s massive S/4HANA consolidation

Taking a top-down approach is the key to ERP consolidation success, says HPE SVP and CIO Archana Deskus. Unless the CEO is on board, something this big won’t get done.

Inside HPE’s massive S/4HANA consolidation

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise is aiming to consolidate its legacy ERP systems on SAP’s S/4HANA in under three years, a task that Senior Vice President and CIO Archana Deskus reckons would take another company four or five.

Of course, it helps that HPE is an IT services business and sells high-powered servers optimized to run S/4HANA, but there’s more to it than that, says Deskus: Moving so fast also requires learning to make the right compromises, and getting buy-in for the project from the very top.

HPE isn’t so much half of your grandfather’s HP, it’s more like a third or a quarter. After its headline-grabbing 2015 split from printer and PC maker HP Inc., in early 2017 HPE sold its legacy services business to Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) to form DXC Technology, and then sold its enterprise software business to Micro Focus. In its last fiscal year HPE reported revenue of $31 billion, compared to $103 billion pre-split.

The original HP had grown through a series of acquisitions — Compaq, Aruba Networks and Autonomy among the biggest of them — and the pattern has continued since the split, with HPE swallowing SGI, SimpliVity, Nimble Storage and Cray. That, and a history of allowing business units and regional sales organizations a great deal of operational freedom, had left its mark on HPE’s IT infrastructure, which included ten or more ERP systems, according to Deskus.

“We were overly complex for the company that we are today… not just systems complexity, but a lot of business complexity,” she says. “A lot of the business processes and rules weren’t really built around what we need today.”

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