Project One – a shared SAP® system for Covivio
About Covivio and the project background
Covivio is one of Europe’s largest real estate companies. The core business of the corporate group, which has its headquarters in France, includes investment and project development alongside managing residential and commercial property in Germany, France and Italy as well as hotels throughout Europe. In line with the objective to standardise the IT systems of the companies in Italy, France and Germany, the group made the decision in 2019 to use an SAP® system as a shared basis for all sites. Until then, only Covivio Germany had been using a solution from the market leader SAP®. Following the decision, the parent company in France successfully went live in 2021 and has been working with SAP S/4HANA® ever since. Covivio Italy has now followed on 1 June 2023. These successful launches have laid important milestones for standardising the real estate group’s IT landscape. Now the time has come to migrate the SAP® ERP system at Covivio Germany, which has been in place for around two decades, to the new SAP S/4HANA® system. To this end, an ambitious project has been launched together with PROMOS as the IT service provider.
Project approach for the SAP® migration
Until now, a core team in France and Italy made up of staff from both PROMOS and Covivio was responsible for implementing SAP S/4HANA® as well as maintaining and expanding it. Another team has now been set up on both the customer and service provider side to migrate the German SAP® system to the newly created S/4HANA® landscape. The project manager for Covivio Germany, Fabian Keil, explains the migration approach so far: “At the beginning of the year, we started an intensive proof of concept phase. The burning question was: is a migration even possible? After all, our plan is to migrate to a system that is already active in France and Italy. Together with PROMOS, we focused intensely on the technical aspects and conscientiously tested all the functions from the German source system in the French system copy from a technical perspective. The satisfactory conclusion is: yes, we can do this!” Having successfully completed the PoC this month, now it’s time for the technical implementation. The German project team is currently working on an extensive actual situation analysis of the existing system. The plan is to combine the findings of the international core team and the German team by the end of the year so that the system can be successfully migrated by the end of 2024.
Challenges and special features
In addition to the project language – English – the ambitious migration project comes with a further challenge. “We at Covivio decided we wanted to work together in the same client in all three countries. I believe this is pretty much unique in this form within the real estate industry,” says Keil, explaining one special feature of the project. The major challenge here is harmonising all the legal requirements. For example, each country has its own specific tax rules. With this approach, the end result will be an SAP® system that is always the same for more than 1,000 users, no matter which site they are at. A fact that plays a key role in allowing the group to grow closer together.
The proof of concept has been completed successfully. However, the actual journey still lies ahead for the two project partners. “We are certain that, with PROMOS, we have the right partner at our side to successfully complete this international project by the end of 2023. I am already looking forward to this year’s SAP Forum for the real estate industry on 26 and 27 September in Berlin, where we plan to share further insights from the project with the visitors,” says Keil, turning his attention to the upcoming autumn events. He will be the keynote speaker at this specialist trade fair and will also be available to answer questions from the audience regarding the project. And he will certainly also provide an outlook to follow-up projects that are already waiting in the wings. For example, the company has already turned its attention to existing third-party solutions – such as portals for craftsmen, solutions for quality management and legal safety regulations, and mobile changes of tenant – that it plans to replace with PROMOS solutions. We are looking forward to a first interim progress report at the SAP Forum for the real estate industry.
The objective of Project One is for Italy, Germany and France to work with a single client in one SAP® system.