Eskom in R47m SAP upgrade with CSIPER Consulting, EDS

Johannesburg, 04 Sep 2003

Eskom`s Finesse Solution Centre (FSC), a certified SAP Customer Competence Centre, has completed the implementation of a SAP upgrade from 3.1H to 4.6C at Eskom with the assistance of CSIPER Consulting, a subsidiary of arivia.kom and a leading SAP consultancy.

The project was co-managed by Eskom FSC and the primary contractor - EDS Enterprise Solutions - with a total budget value of R47 million.

The contract value for CSIPER Consulting and arivia.kom was R7 million. A team of up to 90 people were involved in the project representing CSIPER Consulting, arivia.kom, EDS Enterprise Solutions, Eskom`s FSC and Eskom business representatives.

Eskom FSC was responsible for the SAP implementation including SAP functionality; arivia.kom provided technical support on the hardware and infrastructure implementation; and CSIPER Consulting was responsible for technical support on SAP.

Gideon Schoonwinkel, Eskom project manager, says: "CSIPER Consulting was responsible for the technical deliverables on the project. Its team of seven had to convert all the Eskom-developed functionality to work with SAP 4.6C and resolve any technical issues which arose in terms of the technical architecture."

EDS Enterprise Solutions was awarded the contract in January 2002 to partner with Eskom FSC on the upgrade. By July 2002 the Corporate and Services Division of Eskom went live and upgrades in the Generation and Transmission Divisions began in parallel in July.

Generation went live in mid-November 2002 and Transmission followed suit a week later. In December, the project team started work on Distribution, the final division in Eskom to undergo the upgrade, which went live in May this year.

Schoonwinkel says: "The partnership model implemented between FSC and CSIPER Consulting provided CSIPER Consulting with valuable knowledge of Eskom SAP`s solution, which assisted the project in delivering the upgrade on time and in budget. The resources from CSIPER Consulting required a low level of management overhead as the people demonstrated high levels of self-management.

"Initially the technical work (ABAP, workflow and ALE) was estimated to be an area where bottlenecks would arise, but the team delivered well within time frames. All Eskom divisions were converted on time and in budget and upgrade lessons learned by the project team from the first division`s upgrade were reapplied to subsequent divisions, which all benefited the project in terms of time and cost.

"The completion, according to plan, of the upgrade to Transmission and Generation in the last two weeks of November 2002 was a major achievement. During this period the project required a concerted effort, especially with regards to technical system tasks performed by CSIPER Consulting, to ensure a successful upgrade."

Jayson Dingle, technical team manager from CSIPER Consulting, says: "Eskom has one of the largest SAP implementations in SA, consisting of 7 500 SAP users distributed across the country, representing each of the main divisions."

There are 3 200 users in the Generation Division, making this the largest group of users in Eskom. More than 2 500 users are in Distribution, while the balance are distributed across Transmission and the Corporate and Services divisions.

Dingle says the upgrade was like-to-like initiated because SAP would no longer maintain version 3.1H and Eskom needed to prepare itself for future developments and move to a supportive platform.

"This has been one of the largest SAP upgrades in which CSIPER Consulting has participated as there are over 300 custom developments or ABAP programs and unique interfaces which had been written especially for Eskom, and these needed to be taken into account in the upgrade and tested for integrity," adds Dingle.

"The ALE implementation was also unique because of a variety of customer-written scenarios supporting the business processes across the divisions, and interfaces with a variety of third-party systems, especially in Generation and Distribution."

Dingle notes that the project followed the ASAP approach with the main objective ensuring that the solution offered the same functionality after the upgrade.

He says: "We created a copy of a divisions production 3.1H solution in a trial environment. The trial environment`s database was upgraded from Oracle 8.0.5 to and finally the SAP solution was upgraded to 4.6C. We then completed syntax checks on the ABAPs, which we did by writing a program to preliminary syntax-check each application. The functional teams performed business process testing and resulting errors were corrected.

"Our next step was to move all the required changes to the development environment. Thereafter, we copied the 3.1H production environment into the quality assurance environment and repeated the upgrade process and applied the same changes. The final step was to upgrade the production environment, reapply the changes and complete another round of preliminary checks before handing the system over to the users. This process was repeated through each division."

Dingle reports that Eskom also opted to deploy Knowledge Warehouse at the same time to facilitate end-user self-training. Knowledge Warehouse is a SAP component, which stores the SAP R/3 help files and SAP standard training courses. It is also used as the online source for all Eskom-developed SAP training courses.

Dingle comments: "The main advantage here is that all help and training information is now consolidated, providing access to current and previous versions of SAP training material. This eases content updates and provides a repository for all Eskom SAP training courses."



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