PROMOS successfully completes transition of the data centre of Kommunale Wohnungsgesellschaft mbH Erfurt
In February 2017, KoWo started an EU-wide tender for the further development and operation of their own SAP® ERP system.
Apart from the go-live on 1 November 2017, it was particularly important to KoWo to find a partner who, on assuming control of operating the SAP® ERP, environment can also meet future requirements regarding digitisation and the associated new media and is familiar with optimisations of all IT processes during ongoing ERP operation.
Following an extensive phase of exploring the provider offers with the aid of an external consulting partner, the contract was awarded to PROMOS consult at the beginning of June 2017. PROMOS’ extensive services and possibilities for data-centre operation as well as other criteria resulted in a positive assessment in the criteria catalogue.
With the awarding of the contract, the employees at KoWo became part of the more than 3,000 productive SAP® users who PROMOS consult supports with data-centre operation.
PROMOS consult operates KoWo’s operating systems with databases and thus guarantees the agreed service level agreements. The exemplary redundant data storage in databases is implemented exclusively within the German legal jurisdiction and is thus subject to the strict application of German data protection laws. PROMOS guarantees this service for its customers based on the strict requirements of an exemplary quality management, which is underlined with the annual certification in accordance with IDW PS951 Type 2. The SAP Partner Center of Expertise (PCoE) certification allows contract partners who operate data centres to guarantee official SAP support and maintenance and thus optimise the support quality.
This means KoWo has a tailored server infrastructure at its disposal with systems that are always state-of-the-art and meet the current legal standards for security and data protection. An auditor continually examines these prerequisites and the internal control system based on the standard IDW PS 951. This refers to the “audit of the internal control system at service providers used for outsourcing”. This audit report is available to all companies connected with the PROMOS data centre. This means the auditors at the individual companies do not have to implement their own audit processes when testing the annual financial statements. This procedure also convinced KoWo during the tender process.
In KoWo’s transition project, after the contract was awarded, the first task was to transfer the application landscape, consisting of an SAP® ERP 3 system landscape, an SAP-BW 2 system landscape, an SAP® archive as well as a solution for managing potential tenants and a tradesman’s interface to the PROMOS data centre.
Until the go-live, there was an extensive planning period with multiple test conversions, in particular to ensure that the total of 15 interfaces to the connecting systems could be thoroughly verified. These include interfaces to the Schufa credit-rating company, financial authorities and heating meter reading companies. In the area of file archiving, approximately 4 million documents were transferred to the new archive at PROMOS and their usability demonstrated.
We were able to complete the go-live smoothly as planned on the weekend of 27 October–1 November 2017. Throughout the entire project, KoWo was particularly impressed by the enormous flexibility of the PROMOS consultants, who were able to suggest a practical solution for unexpected challenges depending on the situation. In addition, alongside the system transfers relating to maintenance, the old tradesman’s interface was integrated into the new easysquare craftsman portal including a credit note procedure, while all linked tradesmen were offered the opportunity to continue their old jobs and service entry sheets in the new solution.
On 1 November 2017, the transition was successfully completed on time. Live operation was started in the PROMOS date centre without any issues and all system interfaces could be operated thanks to the test runs that had been performed. The excellent project planning for the transition allowed us to develop and introduce additional innovative solutions, particularly in the area of mobile processes, as well as plan and partially begin improved communication with tenants and business partners.
Taking the introduction of the easysquare tenant app with services such as “contracts”, “service” and “defect reports” as an example, digitising business processes results in numerous benefits for both tenants and landlords. A defect report illustrates this particularly well:
Tenants can trigger a repair themselves via a smartphone or tablet. In the event of a defect, tenants use a pre-set catalogue of the apartment’s fittings and fixtures to easily define the cause of the defect. The defect reporting process is completed by adding a photo. This digital defect reporting process means future damage surveys and on-site inspections by a technician or property manager can largely be avoided. The orders themselves are still triggered by the responsible KoWo employees, ensuring that KoWo always maintains a precise overview of the maintenance activities as well as the probable use of the budget. The appointment for the repair work is agreed directly between the tradesman and the tenant via the portal. The invoice for KoWo and the credit note issued to the vendor are also dealt with entirely digitally. KoWo expects an annual volume of around 22,000 maintenance orders, which is 400 in every working week.
Figure 1: Innovation management/IT team – since 2017, KoWo has brought innovation management into the focus of the corporate philosophy with its own staff member in the company’s management.
Other benefits for KoWo result from the optimisation of business processes for the annual utility statements. These are currently drawn up entirely in paper form with the statement documents and sent to the tenants by post. The electronic transmission significantly reduces the administrative costs for KoWo, as all the documents can be prepared digitally and made available for the tenants. Approvals, for example regarding keeping a dog, also replace the written process with forms that the landlord uploads in advance. Using the neighbourhood tool, in the future tenants will potentially be able to find a neighbour who, for example, offers to take care of a pet while the tenant is on holiday.
A significant advantage of the easysquare solutions is direct integration into KoWo’s SAP® ERP system. All content is transferred directly from the SAP® system to the portals and vice versa. Time-consuming data transport and interface configurations are therefore not necessary, which is precisely what makes mobile solutions so interesting when it comes to increasing the efficiency of business processes. As of the middle of the year, KoWo will also process its residential property inspections and apartment handovers as well as the performance of quality assessment obligations using easysquare.
Director IT/Innovation Management
Kommunale Wohnungsgesellschaft mbH Erfurt