As one of the leading companies worldwide in the distribution of industrial and speciality chemicals, the US company Univar delivers products from its comprehensive portfolio to almost 115,000 clients.
In 2013, Univar generated sales of 10.3 billion US dollars. “As a global company we constantly strive to gain added value for every dollar we spend. For me, this means winning back control of our ERP software schedule and optimising our investment in SAP software,” says Erik Viens, Chief Information Officer for Univar.
When the company’s software maintenance costs for ECC 5.0 and 6.0 continued to increase, Univar decided in mid-2014 to try Rimini Street’s independent support due to the attractive pricing and the high level of service.
By switching to Rimini Street, the company was able to halve its support and maintenance costs, not least because support for customisations is included in the Rimini Street maintenance model at no extra charge. As a result, in-house employees and developers who previously had to provide support for these individual customisations gained time to devote towards value-creating activities. In addition, Rimini Street optimises interoperability with the rest of the IT infrastructure, enhancing the performance of the system.
Finally, Rimini Street guarantees support for the current, stable software version for at least ten years. Univar is, therefore, able to avoid the updates which would have been necessary to maintain support for the SAP system.
“We are now in a position to invest the significant savings we have made directly into projects that are important for our business,” explains Erik Viens. Univar used their freed-up budget, for example, for initiatives relating to client loyalty, client management and business intelligence.
The Atkins Challenge
In 2013, Atkins found themselves in a position familiar to many other organisations running Oracle: EBS 11.5.10 was moving to Sustaining Support, which meant virtually no support. The team at Atkins were very happy with their EBS stable system; it was performing and delivering what the business needed. They weighed their options of upgrading their system or breaking out of the traditional ERP upgrade cycle and driving their own roadmap.
The problem with upgrading to R12 was that there was no business justification, no return on investment, to do so at that time. Oracle clearly seems to be investing mostly in its cloud business models with little in the way of enhancements for the EBS system.
In fact, Atkins wanted to embark on a hybrid IT strategy and implement a series of emerging cloud-based applications for HCM, payroll, recruiting and benefits that would enhance its established EBS system. Along with moving its EBS support to Rimini Street, Atkins also moved its Oracle Database and Oracle Fusion Middleware support. Now the team enjoys better support of all their Oracle products.
Better yet, Atkins could change the way they looked at dedicating resources by rein- vesting cost savings and shifting attention to innovation rather than self-support or unnecessary upgrades. Not only were the Atkins’ team receiving more responsive attention for basic ERP support issues, but they no longer had to devote resources to support their EBS customisations.
“With Oracle, you were always kind of tiptoeing around any customisations that you added” Martin says. This support model necessitated self-support and increased Atkins’ total cost of maintenance. “With Rimini Street, it was always made clear to us, even before we came on board, that customisation support was core to their support program.
It wasn’t a hard black- and-white line between what’s Oracle code versus our extensions or customi- sations,” he adds. Now that its IT resources have been liberated to perform more value-added tasks than basic ERP support and maintenance,
Atkins is extending its technology platform to grow the business. “We’re making inroads in the cloud peripherally around our ERP” Martin says Developing a hybrid IT approach enables the company to be more agile and responsive. Since moving to independent support, Martin reports that Atkins has seen more engagement from Oracle. Our relationship has improved,” Martin says. “I think, overall, making the move to independent support has increased our ability to redirect resources to strategic initiatives.”