The cloud-based ERP system SAP Business ByDesign supports the expansion of Energie Zukunft Schweiz AG in Europe as well as the establishment of new business cases.
In 2006, the association Energie Zukunft Schweiz was founded in Basel – with the aim of promoting renewable energies and energy efficiency in Switzerland. The “100 Jetzt” solar roof program was one of the association’s first projects. The goal: 100 solar installations on 100 private roofs. In the end, more than 1000 thermal solar systems were created. The project won the Swiss Marketing Trophy in 2009, and a year later the association opened its second office in Zurich. The business picked up more and more momentum. In 2019, the association outsourced the operational business to a public limited company. At the same time, the subsidiary Sunwin Energy Italia SRL was founded. It develops ground-mounted solar plants in Italy.
Rapid growth: Today, Energie Zukunft Schweiz AG (EZS) employs around 150 people and has four subsidiaries in Europe. The consultancy accompanies energy suppliers, players in the real estate sector, public authorities and private individuals in implementing their energy transition. Demand for its services is growing almost exponentially, according to Stefan Rotzler, Group CFO. “By 2022, we have doubled every year. In the next few years, it will continue at the same pace.” The company outgrew its former individual ERP components very quickly. “We needed a consolidated and scalable software landscape.”
The strong growth and the increased international orientation of EZS were among the drivers for the ERP conversion in 2021. In addition, the former ERP components were no longer maintained, so that the company programmed its own solutions for over five years. “There was a complete lack of group-wide understanding of each other, uniform processes and bundled expertise. Everyone worked in their own structures. Data for reporting had to be pulled together manually from different systems, which was time-consuming and error-prone,” says Stefan Rotzler.
Cleaning up master data: The accounting software and CRM solution at the time were also no longer sufficient for the company’s needs, as Andrea Tschudin, Head of IT at Energie Zukunft Schweiz AG, says. “As a modern company, we wanted interfaces from the ERP system to other software solutions, such as our document management system. In this way, we wanted to achieve end-to-end data transparency.” To this end, and in preparation for the introduction of the new ERP system, an EZS employee prepared hundreds of thousands of data records from throughout the company’s history. A key factor in the subsequent successful implementation in record time.
Mobile application: For Group CFO Stefan Rotzler, it was clear that EZS needed a cloud solution. “Only a cloud-based system with standard processes could meet our requirements in terms of internationality, data transparency and usability. We wanted to offer our employees a simple mobile application with which they could autonomously handle time recording, expense management and all approval processes.” Furthermore, project management was to be optimized with a comprehensive documentation function.
We wanted to achieve end-to-end data transparency. ~ Andrea Tschudin, Head of IT, Energie Zukunft Schweiz AG
Due to the continued strong growth of EZS, the ERP conversion had to be handled quickly. The new system was scheduled to go live in January 2022, and just under four months earlier, Stefan Rotzler and his team started evaluating various providers. Due to the clear requirements, EZS quickly decided on SAP. “We found that there were not many vendors that offered standard ERP solutions that met Europe-wide compliance requirements and could be implemented quickly. Therefore, we quickly decided to go with an SAP cloud solution. SAP offered us a standardized cloud system that we could use directly as an internationally active SME,” says Stefan Rotzler.
Preconfigured ERP system: EZS adapted its processes to the cloud solution and stayed within the standard. This methodology, combined with the clean data preparation, contributed to the successful implementation of SAP Business ByDesign within three months. EZS was coached and supported by SAP partner all4cloud Schweiz, which Stefan Rotzler also counts among the success factors. “all4cloud approached the project very pragmatically and understood our processes as well as our business model from the very beginning, even though our business is constantly changing,” Stefan Rotzler summarizes his positive experience.
After just a few months of operation, Energie Zukunft Schweiz felt the first positive effects of the cloud-based ERP system SAP Business ByDesign, as Group CFO Stefan Rotzler says. “With the new ERP system, we now speak the same language at all company locations. Our employees can access documents and their key financial figures at any time thanks to the integrated data storage. For example: a key account manager not only records the data relevant to her, but is also aware of the needs of the finance department.”
Strengthening business intelligence: reporting benefits from intelligent functions such as Drilldown. This analytics feature allows all users to go directly from a data overview to a more detailed view within the same data set through attractive dashboards. “The real-time traceability of our data has led to a huge increase in reporting efficiency.” Andrea Tschudin also draws a positive balance: “We have been able to significantly reduce the time spent on administrative tasks. We now handle expense recording, approval processes or time recording via intuitive apps, which saves a lot of time.”
Outlook: Growth: The sales department in particular will be able to benefit from the integrated CRM and marketing functions in the future. All customer data from all EZS sources will be bundled on a group-wide consolidated platform. “Our goal is to have personalized customer journeys and to achieve a 360-degree view of customers,” says Stefan Rotzler. The system also allows direct connection to other programs, such as Excel, and enables rolling project management with financial snapshots from all project phases.
The traceability of our data in real time has led to an enormous increase in efficiency in reporting. ~ Stefan Rotzler, Group CFO, Energie Zukunft Schweiz AG
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