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Case Alma Media

Cloud-based SAP S/4HANA system to streamline the co-operation of financial administration and business operations

The Challenge

The media company Alma Media wanted to renew its financial enterprise resource planning (ERP) and reporting and to procure all required services in line with the one-stop-shop principle.

The Solution

The company partnered up with Sofigate which updated their SAP system and now provides Alma Media with support for the related solutions.

The Outcome

Professional project planning, smooth co-operation between teams and thorough testing guaranteed that the project was a success with regard to both quality and financial aspects.

Modernising financial ERP and reporting

Alma Media’s vision is to become the most exciting provider of information, service and experiences. The company aims to set the stage for the future of media. The media corporation currently employs more than 2,000 people, and its revenue reached nearly 370 million euros in 2018. In order for Alma Media to be able to grow and offer versatile services to its customers, it requires functional and effective background systems for business operations and financial administration.

The company’s previous ERP system could meet the needs of modern business insufficiently, so it had to be modernised. Since the company’s SAP system would have had to be replaced by 2025 in any case, Alma Media chose to be among the first Finnish companies to deploy a newer version of the system. In addition, Alma Media wanted to improve its finance ERP and reporting such that all services would be available through a single service provider, Sofigate.

One-stop-shop SAP systems and support functions

Sofigate replaced Alma Media’s finance ERP system with the latest, cloud-based SAP S/4HANA system. In addition, Sofigate acted as Alma Media’s partner in SAP Business Warehouse reporting and SAP PI integration platform solutions providing the continuous services required by the system. The project started in the spring of 2018.

“We wanted a centralised solution in which both the platform and the capacity services are provided by a single supplier. The solution enabled us to update the SAP engine on the latest technology,” says Taru Lehtinen, Reporting and Planning Director at Alma Media.

Only a few companies use the latest SAP S/4HANA system in Finland. According to Sofigate’s Janne Parkkonen, more than 100 similar system update projects will be started in Finland by 2025.

“Alma Media did an excellent job showing the way to others through its decision to update its SAP system. The new system enables the company to access the next level of finance and business management. The new solution provides Alma Media with quick access to combinable real-time data and reporting. Thus, the company’s managers responsible for the business operations receive more up-to-date data to support decision-making,” Parkkonen says.

Alma Media chose Sofigate as its partner because it values functional co-operation, Sofigate’s insight of its needs and the company’s efficient project group.

“For Alma Media, it was important to select an operator of adequate size with a service entity that stands out. Sofigate listened to our needs and adapted to them agilely without unnecessary bureaucracy,” Lehtinen says.

Deployment of the latest SAP system ensures that we are able to develop our financial management to meet the growing requirements.

Juha Nuutinen

CFO, Alma Media

Cloud-based system to take reporting to a new level

The ERP system and the Business Warehouse implementation were completed in October 2018. Sofigate continues as Alma Media’s partner providing continuous services and support functions. In addition, the SAP platforms’ server room functions were transferred to the cloud and under Sofigate’s responsibility during the project.

“From Sofigate’s partner network, we found the server supplier Symmetry which specialises in SAP hosting. For Alma Media, it is essential that the company’s SAP hosting services are provided by professionals who participate in platform development in the role of an expert. During the first months of our co-operation, Symmetry has proved that it is capable of performing its tasks in a professional manner,” says Juha Punnonen, Alma Media CIO.

By deploying the latest version of the SAP system and utilising the cloud, Alma Media has backed its operations by a faster and more efficient database and a simpler data model. They enable the company to further develop the company’s financial and business reporting functions.

Compliance with the agreed schedule and budget was one of the key factors of the successful project.

“Professional project planning, smooth co-operation between teams and thorough testing guaranteed that the project was a success with regard to both quality and economical aspects. Deployment of the latest SAP system ensures that we are able to develop our financial management to meet the growing requirements. Furthermore, the latest versions allow us to maintain and develop our personnel’s skills and know-how,” says Juha Nuutinen, Alma Media CFO.

“Now Alma Media can develop and take new innovations directly to the modern S/4HANA platform. We can also utilise artificial intelligence and robotics more easily for the purposes of financial administration. This project has been very fruitful for us as well, and working with Alma Media has been a pleasure,” says Sofigate’s Janne Parkkonen.

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