Our Interview Partner
Wiebe van der Horst
Senior Vice President Global Process & Enterprise Architecture BASF
Dr. Michael Schehl
Vice President Process Architecture BASF
> What is your actual role? On which topics and projects are you currently working?
Wiebe van der Horst: I am Senior Vice President Global Process & Enterprise Architecture of the BASF Information Services & Supply Chain Operations division. In this role I am responsible for the Process Architecture, IT Strategy, Enterprise Architecture, Cyber Security, Process and Project Implementation, as well as Process Audits departments. In general the harmonization of our business processes and the supporting IT systems is a key issue for BASF. At the same time, we implement process differentiation and new business models where this creates added business value.
Dr. Michael Schehl: Since the beginning of 2016, I have been responsible as Vice President for the Process Architecture unit of the BASF Group. My global team takes care of the design and optimization of our business processes. We review them end-to-end, meaning every process is optimized from start to finish across functional units. We also review our processes along the value chain and across different processes. With more efficient processes we intent to achieve a greater performance and react in an agile manner to changing market requirements.
> IBIS and BASF have been working together for 10 years. What are the benefits of a long-term cooperation with a specialist analysis partner, such as IBIS Prof. Thome AG?
Wiebe van der Horst: It is important for us to get an outside-in view of our process and system landscape. It really helps us that IBIS Prof. Thome AG independently reviews how efficiently and effectively our processes are set up and provides us with independent knowledge and expertise about the direction of developments and demands also in the external market. It is also important for us that the collaboration with IBIS has always been very efficient and professional. Analysis results have always been very well prepared and presented. In case of further questions, support has always been available fast and unbureaucratic.
> What can you tell other SAP user companies about RBE Plus projects that we have undertaken for BASF in the last 10 years?
Dr. Michael Schehl: RBE Plus projects have contributed greatly to the harmonization of our system and process landscape. For instance, in 2013 we migrated the BASF Group companies worldwide to one globally harmonized SAP process platform. IBIS Prof. Thome AG analyzed for us how our system landscape was utilized prior to the migration and demonstrated to us benefits of the migration. This “Project One” was highly complex and challenging, but created the basis for today’s integrated system landscape. Without this system consolidation it would be very difficult to conduct Group-wide analyses, also in the area of big data.
> What are your current challenges in the SAP environment?
Wiebe van der Horst: One challenge for BASF is to identify the effects of the new business management application S4/HANA on our existing processes. The platform provides us with many new and innovative solutions for our business processes. SAP also offers the basis for big data analysis, among other things, with the database technology HANA. That is why we are currently evaluating which benefits is can offer BASF. In doing so, we need to find a balance between the conflicting priorities of standardizing and harmonizing business processes and the simultaneous need to offer differentiated solutions for our business requirements.
> In 2016 we carried out an RBE Plus system usage analysis on your behalf, as well as an RBE Plus S/4HANA innovation analysis. How did the results help you in your projects?
Dr. Michael Schehl: Both analyses were commissioned by the BASF “Next Generation Architecture” initiative with the aim of highlighting the possibilities and potential of BASF using S/4HANA. We gained some valuable information particularly in relation to the RBE Plus S/4HANA innovation analysis. Very frequently used transactions within BASF were identified and analyzed and potential improvements identified. By defining business scenarios, we were able to highlight the detailed impact of the new FIORI front-end on the use of our processes. Overall, this makes the potential of S4/HANA more tangible and it can be discussed in considerably more concrete terms. We were able to reduce the run-time of certain programs by 50% as a result of this analysis.
The RBE Plus analysis highlights very well the current load on the system and the frequency of use of transactions. This enables us to identify bottlenecks and initiate specific improvements. As we had carried out this analysis in recent years, we can now observe developments over time and review measures.
> Where do you see the challenges in the future?
Wiebe van der Horst: Digitization in all areas of society is a challenge for globally operating companies, like BASF. Digitization has a direct impact on our business processes and on the necessary system infrastructure. We have to adapt our processes and services in an agile manner to respond to market requirements in an increasingly fast-paced and volatile environment. We need strong partners who support us to recognize digital innovations and potential at an early stage.
You can download this interview as a PDF here.