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October 24, 2023updated 25 Oct 2023 9:57am

BT retiring 11 legacy finance systems as it picks SAP for cloud ERP move

The two companies are building on their long-term partnership with a new digital transformation initiative for the telco's finance function.

By Matthew Gooding

BT has chosen SAP for the digital transformation of its ERP operations. It is moving to the company’s S/4HANA cloud platform in a bid to simplify its finance operations.

BT has chosen SAP to help transform its finance operations. (Photo by chrisdorney/Shutterstock)

The partnership is part of a long-term collaboration between the two companies, which has seen SAP support the telco on its digital transformation journey.

BT moves ERP system to S/4HANA

By moving to S/4HANA, BT will be able to retire 11 legacy finance platforms and benefit from millions of pounds worth of annualised savings, the companies said in a statement released today. They have been working together since 2019, with SAP providing streamlined finance operations under BT’s ‘Making Finance Brilliant’ initiative, which aims to unite the company’s finance data, reports and accounts, as well as powering its BT Business, Openreach and group finance operations in the UK.  

It has also used SAP’s Business Network collaboration platform in the development of a new people management platform, MyHR, which forms part of the strategic transformation of its digital HR capabilities. BT hopes this will transform learning,  talent acquisition and management of workers, as well as attracting talent and enabling career development and workforce planning.

Jay Doshi, managing director for the corporate units, digital at BT, said: “The last couple of years have shown the necessity of being able to move fast and be agile to changing circumstances without disrupting either the customer or colleague experience. With our new SAP deployment adding to our existing portfolio, we can remove the complexity from our finance processes, simplifying finance operations across the group, reducing costs, boosting productivity and deepening the insights we can access to inform wider business strategy. Our teams will now reap the rewards as our strategic transformation programme drives a new digitally enhanced experience.”  

Pressure on BT for digital transformation  

BT is under pressure to make its digital transformation pay off, as the company’s profits were down 12% this year. It appointed a new CEO in July, with Allison Kirby picked for the top job. She will take over from current incumbent, Philip Jansen, in January.

It will also be relying on digital systems to pick up some of the slack from a planned 55,000 job cuts, which will come before the end of the decade. BT said in May that it plans to replace up to a fifth of the departing staff with AI.

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For SAP, building partnerships with large organisations like BT is crucial as it looks to compete with traditional rivals like Oracle, as well as ERP solutions provided by the public cloud hyperscalers and cloud-native vendors like Salesforce.

Ryan Poggi, managing director of SAP UK and Ireland, said: “BT Group has a long history of connecting the world through the power of telecommunications. As it undergoes its programme of transformation, our cloud-based solutions will place data at the heart of strategic decision-making, driving operational efficiencies and enabling innovation at scale.  

“With immediate savings and wider benefits in productivity and performance, our services can scale to meet and deliver against BT Group’s transformation ambitions. That’s why we’re the only choice for organisations, of any size, that wish to modernise their ERP and stay resilient to the challenges that may come.”  

Read more: UK government pumps £110m into 5G and 6G research

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