Inside Vodafone’s massive S/4HANA migration

One of the largest monolithic SAP installations in the world is now on S/4HANA, thanks to successful data prep and reskilling efforts.

Inside Vodafone’s massive S/4HANA migration
MATJAZ SLANIC / Getty Images

Mobile network operator Vodafone migrated a monolithic SAP installation serving 100,000 employees to S/4HANA over a long weekend — after more than a year of preparation.

The key, says Ignacio Garcia, Vodafone’s CIO for corporate information systems, is the data: “Data, data, data. Focus on data 100 percent.”

More than a decade ago, Vodafone consolidated its operations in 22 countries onto a single instance of SAP ECC. The move gave it a centralized view of procurement and business operations, but Vodafone now has hundreds of thousands of cell towers each with thousands of components to track, and so it now needs “a lot more capacity just to keep running batches and processing,” says Garcia.

Moreover, integrating this monolithic architecture with newer software-as-a-service applications proved challenging. “That was preventing us getting information that we needed, at least with the speed that we needed, which means that we were starting to create a spaghetti, proprietary solutions where we were taking data out of SAP and putting that in another machine learning type of box to get that result on feedback to our central instance,” he says.

So Garcia set out to move from SAP ECC to S/4HANA with help from Accenture, which partnered with Vodafone to consolidate its SAP ECC instances in the first place.

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