This article is part of a series (links below). I would recommend reading the articles in order, starting with “Greenfield Opportunity”, which provides the required framing.
- Greenfield Opportunity
- Modern IT Ecosystem
- Service Delivery
- Hybrid Multi-Cloud
- Identity Access Management
- Unified Communications
Within this article, I will highlight our proposed positioning for key Line of Business Applications, specifically Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Capital/Resourcing, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Regulated Content and Data Management, and Service Integration and Management (SIAM).
The terminology “Line of Business Application” is not consistently defined, in the context of this article, I will use the term to describe a “mission-critical” application that supports a key business capability.
Like many businesses, our value chain includes many highly industrialised processes, covering Research & Development, Manufacturing, Commercial, and Global Services. For example, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Capital Management (HCM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), etc. These processes are critical to the business, but can also be considered a commodity, recognising that they are common across the wider industry.
With this in mind, our goal is to enable highly scalable, efficient, and reliable processes, instead of looking to differentiate where there is minimal competitive advantage.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
We have positioned SAP S/4HANA as our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, used to manage and track core business processes, resources (cash, materials, production capacity), and operations. The diagram below outlines which capabilities will be supported by SAP, highlighting core components (dark blue) and bolt-ons (light blue).
SAP can be an incredibly complex beast, therefore our goal will be to embrace the capabilities found in S/4HANA, whilst avoiding (where possible) custom configuration.
Our instance of SAP will be hosted by Virtustream, who have a wealth of experience deploying and supporting SAP for large enterprise customers within their specialist (purpose-built) cloud.
We did explore the use of a Public Cloud provider (e.g. Azure) for SAP hosting but prioritised Virtustream based on the following value positioning.
Hosting/Basis: Virtustream can deliver unified (one-vendor) SAP Hosting and Basis.
Full Stack: Virtustream are accountable for the full technology stack and are not reliant on a third-party Public Cloud (e.g. Azure).
Experience/Expertise: Outside of SAP, Virtustream has the most experience deploying/supporting SAP.
Cost Effective: Virtustream leverage a unique consumption-based commercial model, delivered via fine-grained measurement of compute, memory, network, and storage resources.
Hybrid Multi-Cloud: Virtustream is Public Cloud agnostic (reducing lock-in and protecting against data transit costs).
Architecture Alignment: Virtustream partner with Equinix, who are positioned as our Colocation DC provider.
Performance: Virtustream peer with the Equinix ECX Fabric, enabling a cost-effective 10GB/s fibre cross-connect.
Dell Partnership: Virtustream are part of Dell Technologies, who is one of our primary partners.
With Virtustream, we get a fully-managed SAP instance (SaaS-like) and the benefits of a cloud (utility compute) cost model, combined with cost effective “LAN-like” performance, that does not penalise for data transit.
The diagram below provides a high-level overview of our Virtustream SAP Hosting architecture.
As depicted, the architecture includes multiple user interaction points, including traditional VPN/VDI via our Colocation DC infrastructure, as well as Direct Internet Access (DIA) for Cloud-Native (Web/API) interactions (embracing SAP Fiori).
We have positioned Workday as our unified platform for Human Capital/Resourcing, covering Human Capital Management (HCM), Human Resource Management (HRM), and Human Resource Planning (HRP).
Human Capital Management (HCM): A set of practices related to people resource management. These practices are focused on the business need to provide specific competencies, covering workforce acquisition, workforce management, and workforce optimisation.
Human Resource Management (HRM): The strategic approach to the effective management of people in a business, enabling a competitive advantage.
Human Resource Planning (HRP): The process of forecasting the future human resource requirements of the business and optimising the existing human resource capacity to meet specific business requirements.
Workday will support the following key capabilities:
- Talent Management/Succession
- Organisation Management (Joiners, Movers, Leavers)
- Performance Management
- Reporting (HR, Headcount, Trending Workforce data, etc.)
Workday is a SaaS platform, with a strong focus on integrations (Workday API Documentation). Alongside SAP, it will become a primary source system of our Identify Access Management (IAM) architecture.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Over the years, Veeva CRM has become the “de facto” standard for Customer Relationship Management across our industry, providing advanced mobility, multichannel capabilities, and real-time insights for sales teams.
When combined with a modern workplace services, Veeva CRM provides an easy to use, rich user experience that has been specifically designed to improve productivity for field teams who have limited “office/admin” time.
Veeva Network provides a highly integrated Customer Master Data Management capability, enabling localised business applications and a global data model. When enabled alongside Veeva CRM, it delivers a seamless end-to-end experience, with no third-party integrations to manage.
Veeva Network also includes a wide range of standard integrations, for example, SAP Concur for expense reporting, which will help to streamline key business processes, whilst improving quality and transparency.
Veeva Network forms part of our wider Enterprise Data & Analytics architecture, which I plan to cover in a future article.
Regulated Content and Data Management
Veeva Vault is an enterprise content management platform built for life sciences. It is uniquely positioned to manage both content and data, enabling end-to-end processes across commercial, medical, clinical, regulatory, quality, and safety.
The Veeva Vault Platform includes multiple applications, specifically:
We are exploring the use of the following applications, supporting multiple business functions (Research & Development, Manufacturing, Commercial, and Global Services).
Vault Clinical Operations: Supporting the study process and method control, providing a single system of record for shared CTMS, TMF, and study start-up content.
Vault Quality Suite: Supporting the Quality/Control processes, covering Quality Plan, Action Tracking, Change, Deviation, Complaint, Audit, Lab Investigation, Product Safety Assessment (PSA), and Notification to Management (NTM). Veeva Quality Suite will also act as the authoritative source for quality documentation/content (e.g. Procedures, Policies, Validation, Reports, etc.)
Vault RIM Suite: Supporting the planning, execution, and oversight of all regulatory activities within a single, unified Regulatory Information Management (RIM) application.
Vault Safety: Supporting the collection, management, and real-time oversight of adverse events.
Vault PromoMats: Supporting commercial and scientific disclosure, providing digital asset management, review, and distribution capabilities.
Similar to Veeva CRM and Veeva Network, Veeva Vault is a SaaS platform.
Service Integration and Management (SIAM)
Service Integration and Management (SIAM) is an approach for managing and integrating multiple service provides. It aims to unify internal and external service providers, delivering end-to-end services that meet specific business requirements. This replaces the traditional approach, where service providers are managed in isolation, with separate processes and expectations, often resulting in hand-off issues and/or “finger-pointing”.
Specifically, SIAM enforces a combined “revenue at risk”, contractually dictating the holistic performance (shared service level agreements) across all vendors, incentivising collaboration and collective innovation.
To enable effective Service Integration and Management (SIAM), the following IT capabilities must be established and maintained.
Service Integration Governance: Define, establish and continuously adapt the service integration governance.
Service Integration Organisation: Develop and manage a distributed organisation supporting changing business requirements.
Business Requirements: Manage business demand and develop a service portfolio in alignment with business requirements.
Tools and Information: Manage distributed information and the integration tool solutions.
Providers and Contracts: Select an appropriate provider portfolio and to manage the providers according to the outsourcing contracts.
End-to-end Services: Understand and manage the business services end-to-end, covering business and IT services.
Recognising the critical importance of IT Service Management (ITSM) as part of Service Integration and Management (SIAM), ServiceNow has been positioned as our unified ITSM/SIAM platform. ServiceNow will support the following key capabilities:
- Configuration Management
- Problem Management
- Change Management
- Incident Management
- Knowledge Management
- Request Fulfilment Management
- IT Asset Reconciliation (Hardware and Software)
- IT Cost Management
- Business Process Tracking (IT Business Management)
- Employee Effort/Satisfaction (KA Surveys)
As outlined above, leveraging the integrations provided by Workday, ServiceNow will compliment specific HR processes, providing workflow capabilities for HR/Ethics and Compliance Case Management, as well as host our Information Portal.
As outlined in the article “Modern IT Ecosystem”, our goal was to target SaaS providers for all highly-industrialised/commodity capabilities, regardless of business criticality.
I believe the capabilities and positioning outlined in this article demonstrate how this is achievable (even within regulated industries), enabling “best in class” services, with a focus on the business requirements (not the underlying technology).
Recognising the additional benefits of SaaS, specifically reduced implementation time, simplified support, and continuous updates, we believe our “Cloud First” strategy will dramatically improve business agility, enabling better outcomes for our employees and customers.