sPro was created in July 2008 and since 2015 is a part of Next Consult. sPro was established by five partners, all of them SAP consultants, with over 15 years in implementing ERP systems. At first, they offered consulting services for various industries such as manufacturing, services, logistics, finance, organizational management and others. Shortly after, their sole focus became selling, implementing and maintenance of SAP ERP. They won the trust of the German company and helped them develop one of SAP’s most important projects in Bulgaria – the development of SAP Best Practices Baseline Package two times in a row. sPro is also the first SAP partner in Bulgaria, certified by the Active Quality Management programme.
Some of sPro’s clients include Lufthansa Technik, IMI Bulgaria INC, InBev (Kamenitza), Areksim Engeneering, Fantastiko Mebel, Schneider Electric Bulgaria, Kalinel, TED BED, Intrakom Bulgaria and many more.
Here is what the founders of sPro – Nikolay Georgiev, Peter Kozlev, Rumiana Ancheva - shared with us about their team, working with SAP and the challenges on the way to success.
Why did you choose to become a SAP partner?
SAP (Systems Applications and Programming) is really the best ERP system in the world. It’s the first-ever ERP system and it was developed in 1972 by four German developers, who worked for IBM. Even to this day, SAP is still developing and improving with over 30 billion euros in revenue.
As consultant, we were attracted to the endless possibilities that the system offers – it can benefit every aspect of a company, including manufacturing, finance, human resources, and more. It is all integrated together with all functionalities – continues Rumiana Ancheva, Partner at sPro and a senior SAP consultant.
What are the main benefits that SAP can offer compared to other ERP systems on the market?
The benefits are many – first of all, SAP is very flexible. The system allows you to create the parameters that are to be used when you set up any process. It also integrates very well with any external software – for example, it integrates with MS Office better than Microsoft Dynamics. In the system you can also find all new technologies including cloud based. You can integrate it will all devices – including mobile phones and tablets. There is also room for change – as there are lots of SAP developers - and if the client wants to switch between devices, which guarantees its independence, said Peter Kozlev, Partner at sPro and a senior SAP consultant.
What distinguishes you from other companies that implement SAP ERP?
Our biggest advantage is that we consultants, some of which have over 20 years of experience. Our practical experience in implementing started at 1997. We have completed over 20 successful implementations in this time.
In our company there is no staff turnover, which means we always finish the projects with the same people who started it – this is something that not many companies can say. Our whole team is very loyal and consistent with any deadlines that we promise.
Another advantage of ours is that in every implementation, we set the system up based on the clients’ wishes plus our own expertise as consultants. We consider everything that a client might need in their company, which means that sometimes we implement the one or two functionalities and other times, the whole SAP system.
We prefer to manage the whole implementation cycle and we also strive to always implement a standard SAP with as little development work as possible because we want to ensure that the client is independent from both the consultant and the new updates. Of course, we are not against development work. We have done it on many occasions as sometimes the brief itself requires it but the uncomfortable part about it is that if a new version comes or the development work has to be removed for some reason, the whole thing has to be rewritten again.
Two times in a row we have been chosen by SAP Germany for the development of SAP Best Practices (Baseline) in Bulgaria, so our approach is to step on Baseline and see the difference between it and what the client wants and bridge this gap.
Who was your first SAP client?
We implemented SAP for a company called “Balkancar” but our biggest implementation was in the Industrial Holding Bulgaria, where we implemented all SAP functionalities, including a product configurator. The client needed this functionality because the possible combination of product was over a million and we decided this was the best solution for this issue.
The product configurator that we developed for them allows for dynamic creation of product specifications at 10 levels in the process of client order without any need for manual input of data, which makes the whole process faster and more efficient – said Nikolay Georgiev, , Partner at sPro and a senior SAP consultant.
What was your most challenging implementation up to date?
The SAP implementation at Kalinel OOD was definitely a huge project, we would actually call it revolutionary. We found the company in a state where nobody in there knew or had any experience with any ERP. When we audited the company, we found that there was a huge amount of data, gathered over the course of a decade. So, we were faced with the task of creating a SAP system for them that was user-friendly even for those with no previous experience or technology knowledge. We created various interfaces that made the employees’ work easier. We also created a mobile app that scanned barcodes, each of which meant a separate activity (such as “I’m starting the day”, “I’m on my lunch break”, etc). In developing these solutions, we helped the staff have the exact same way of working and this made the transition to SAP much easier. – explains Peter Kozlev.
We change the whole IT infrastructure without having any error margin as the deadlines were very tight. Some implementors work on a step-by-step basis but we had to do it all at once at this instance.
We were very proud when on the day of the launch, we didn’t have a single critical error and the company managed to use the system effortlessly. This sense of a job well done is very important to us as it means we’ve kept our promise to the client. – adds Nikolay Georgiev.
Lately there has been a lot of talk about SAP S/4HANA but there still is some confusion about this transition. Can you tell us more about what this SAP version differs from the current one and how the change will affect current and future users of the system?
S4/HANA is the latest and most up-to-date version of SAP. The story here is that SAP acquired a company that creates databases, which is working on a new generation of databases called HANA (High-performance Analytics Appliance). The technology in this new product lies in the fact that the database isn’t stored in a server disc but in a RAM memory, which allows it to work a hundred times faster than the standard system. This is due to the fact that RAM isn’t doing anything physically and all transactions are done electronically which makes the access to information a lot faster.
By purchasing this company, SAP is positioning itself as not only the best ERP system but also the one with the best database. So, the idea is to write up a whole new SAP, optimized for HANA – so now you have the S/4HANA (SAP for HANA). The whole architecture is rebuilt, the technology is different and the best part is that the end user doesn’t see any difference between the new and the old interface. The new system is available in three versions -S/4HANA Cloud, S/4HANA on premise and Hybrid.
The most important thing to remember right now is that SAP is stopping the maintenance of SAP ERP 6 after 2025. Until then the users can migrate to the new version and the new users can transfer directly onto it – right now the sale of all other licenses apart from S/4HANA has been stopped.
Our team implemented one of the first S/4HANA projects in Bulgaria for “Debulko”, expected to go live in January.
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