Case Study | Schäfer Shop
Implementation of BW/4HANA with a Greenfield-Approach
With BW/4HANA to a Data Driven Company

Schäfer Shop becomes a data-driven company with BW/4HANA

With the introduction of BW/4HANA on the “greenfield” – the so-called greenfield approach – Schäfer Shop has established a future-proof business intelligence solution. The basis for successful implementation of the BI strategy is thus established and the users in the departments use modern tools for strategic and operational analyses. Ultimately, company-wide reporting has been made fit for the future with BW/4HANA.

About “Schäfer Shop”

SSI Schäfer Shop GmbH is an internationally active mail order business and is part of the Schäfer Group. The headquarters of the company are in Betzdorf (Westerwald). The company was founded in 1975 and has 65 agencies and subsidiaries in 19 countries. Schäfer Shop numbers among the 30 biggest mail order businesses in Germany and is a leader in the B2B sector. The range comprises approx. 85,000 items – from office supplies to promotional items.

With SAP BW/4HANA we have established a future-proof solution – this is an important milestone on our way to a data-driven organisation. Thanks to the professional cooperation with PIKON, we were able to realise the project on schedule and within the planned budget. The awareness for BW/4HANA and the associated reporting possibilities must now be sharpened. For this purpose, we will successively involve the individual departments – supported by the PIKON BI experts.“

Dr. Andreas Gruchalski
Department Management Organisation/Informatik


Why Schäfer Shop modernised the DWH

Since 2015, Schäfer Shop has used SAP Business Warehouse as a reporting solution. SAP BW runs on a HANA database. With the existing BWonHANA system, reporting applications in controlling and sales were made available to the departments. The BEx environment (Excel/web) provided by SAP was the preferred BI front-end tool. During the course of modernisation of the BI system landscape and the restructured BI strategy, Schäfer Shop considered BW/4HAHA and the SAP BusinessObjects front-end solutions as a new and future-proof solution for displaying future reporting and analysis applications. An additional aspect of DWH modernisation resulted from the fact that further upgrades to the existing Schäfer Shop system are not under consideration. The desired central amalgamation of all data which exists in the company was a significant driver for such upgrades.

The path to DWH modernisation

In a first step, the previously existing SAP BW was initially analysed and evaluated in joint workshops between Schäfer Shop IT and PIKON. The previous use of the system was also considered in detail and future requirements – such as the selection of a new front-end tool – were compiled. These were used in the selection process for the future BI solution.

Furthermore, there were additional requirements for a new system:

  • Ease of maintenance owing to consistent development guidelines
  • Increased user acceptance owing to improved performance
  • Establishment of a standardised reporting process in the company, and
  • Optimal exploitation of the possibilities of Hadoop for establishment of a data lake

Following intensive discussing with the PIKON BI experts, a decision was quickly made in favour of BW/4HANA as a new and central DWH system. Now the question of whether brownfield or greenfield is the right approach for Schäfer Shop needed an answer! A key factor in making the decision was the fact that legacy issues from the existing DWH would not be carried over to a new system.

Ultimately, Schäfer Shop opted for a greenfield approach – implementation on a “greenfield”. Migration – within the framework of a greenfield approach – of the existing reporting applications and the corresponding database should initially be done 1:1. Furthermore, optimisation of the data model and the data flow based on the possibilities of a BW/4HANA system was also planned. The original reporting concept was also to be completely reworked. Owing to the discontinuation of the existing BEx front-end tool classically used by the departments, it was necessary to carry the existing and known reports over 1:1 (with optimisations) into the newly created SAP BusinessObjects environment.

Customer Benefits

Thanks to the quick and smooth BW/4HANA implementation, Schäfer Shop benefits from numerous advantages:

  • Establishment of a company-wide BI strategy with BW/4HANA as single point of truth
  • Increased flexibility to implement new BI requirements faster
  • Provision of modern and user-friendly reporting tools for the users in the departments
  • Basis for the effective use of a Datalake is created
  • Increasing the attractiveness of the company for potential employees by using the latest technologies
  • Basis for the implementation of trend topics such as predictive analytics is created

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Martina Ksinsik
Martina Ksinsik
Customer Success Manager
Tommy Beckers
Tommy Beckers
Managing Partner PIKON Benelux NV