Coles buys in to SAP future

Published on the 14/02/2019 | Written by Hayden McCall


Mega deal will implement SAP’s latest ERP, HR and procurement tools…

SAP has inked a deal with long term client Coles which will see the supermarket giant upgrading its SAP environment to the German software vendor’s latest offerings to improve automation of its business processes, procurement and HR.

The transformation project, beginning this month, will include upgrading its core SAP financials environment to the latest version (S/4HANA) along with SAP’s SaaS solutions for HR (Success Factors) and procurement (Ariba).

With Coles employing 115,000 staff, and engaging with 7,000 suppliers, the deal represents a major global signing and vote of confidence in SAP’s cloud strategy.

“This partnership with SAP will allow us to innovate more to ensure we are as efficient as possible across our retail environment.”

Coles, which completed its demerger from Wesfarmers in November 2018, is a long-standing SAP shop, and the new upgrade is designed to simplify and streamline business processes and achieve cost savings, while gaining access to insights to help identify market opportunities and improve productivity.

Coles is understood to have been running an IT environment independent from other entities in the Wesfarmers group, but the project will provide an opportunity to review and unravel any historical process complexities, and simplify its systems.

“Making life easier for our customers and team members is a key focus for Coles, says Roger Sniezek, Coles’ chief information and digital officer.

“This partnership with SAP will allow us to innovate more with both groups to ensure we are as efficient as possible across our retail environment,” he says.

The upgrade will focus on improving consistency of processes, removing duplication and supporting delivery of more efficient services for Coles 115,000 staff and 7,000 suppliers, as well as partners and customers.

While SAP S/4HANA is expected to enable Coles to simplify and streamline its business processes and gain new insights into the business, Ariba will be used to gain cost and efficiency savings in procurement through improved supplier management, risk management and cost management. Invoices and payments will be digitised and automated, with automation, network connections and data-driven insights expected to also enable Coles to build stronger relationships.

The third prong of the transformation, SuccessFactors, will help Coles keep track of key HR information, manage performance, benefits and remuneration (the payroll function itself will continue to run on SAP Payroll), improve employee self-service and ensure compliance, while gaining real-time insights across HR functions.

Damien Bueno, SAP Australia and New Zealand president and managing director, says Coles is putting a focus on simplifying the experience for its people and customers.

“The retail industry is focused on continuous innovation and anticipating customer needs. To be successful in this era of change and build for a digital future, it is critical to get your digital business framework right,” says Bueno.

No implementation partner nor timeline has been named, yet. Coles did say that implementation partners would be confirmed in a separate announcement.

The upgrade follows announcements in October 2018 that Coles had signed contracts with Witron Australia to develop two new automated distribution centres to extract savings from a modernisation of its supply chain over the next five years.

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