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- Consultative approach and shared project philosophies
- Deep product knowledge resources
- Multi-dimensional project management
- Ability to collaborate with and manage multiple partners
Neil Scanlon, Senior Vice President – Information Services, Suburban Propane
3,800 1,1 million
Suburban Propane has been in the customer service business since 1928. A Master Limited Partnership since 1996, Suburban is a value-oriented company managed for long-term, consistent performance.
Headquartered in Whippany, New Jersey, Suburban is a nationwide marketer and distributor of a diverse array of products to meet the energy needs of our customers, specializing in fuel oil and refined fuels, as well as the marketing of natural gas and electricity in deregulated markets. With nearly 3,800 full-time employees, Suburban maintains business operations in 41 states, providing prompt, reliable service to approximately 1.1 million residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural customers through 700 locations.
Challenges and Benefits
- Heavily customized system with complex interfaces
- Some SAP components were rarely used, knowledge-intensive for users
- Multiple teams/partners involved
- Improved performance
- Version of SAP that is supported
- Financial savings through virtualization
- Positioned for future enhancements
- SAP ERP 6.0 (Enhancement Pack 7)
- Platform migration (HPUX to Linux) via a Sandbox
About the Project
A decision was made to upgrade Suburban from SAP R/3 4.7 to SAP ERP 6.0 Enhancement Pack 7 via a parallel environment. A Sandbox (SBX) was added to the landscape during the upgrade to provide the necessary additional iterations of the upgrade process and corresponding test and technical efforts to ensure the success of the upgrade. A final piece of the project involved converting Suburban’s system to be Unicode Compliant. The entire project took place from mid-October 2014 through mid-May 2015. In the end, the Go Live was impressively completed by all parties in a challenging four-day window.
Ultimately, the project was a success because all parties stayed focused on, and executed, their respective roles. Success also came from repeatedly practicing and carefully documenting each transition process step before the final event. NTT DATA Business Solutions involved experienced and knowledgeable experts in areas such as Basis, workflow and technical support, and security
and authorizations. Rather than having dedicated “safety net” resources that were not always required, developers and functional consultants were brought in at the right time with specific knowledge of upgrade impacts to critical objects or other project needs.
“Previously, we couldn’t provide true driver-based planning, and it was a challenge just to create one version of a plan. Now, businesses are modeling all types of scenarios, even within a single forecast cycle, and because they now own it, they have a much clearer understanding of how the data…