The netinsight IT Controlling platform combines performance data. Bayer Business Services with about 6500 employees is an internal service company of the Bayer group with core excellence in IT infrastructure and applications, purchasing and logistics, personnel and management services as well as finance and accounting. Annual turnover of the Bayer group is around a billion euros. Around a third of that turnover is generated through provision of services which cannot be represented in a standard SAP solution. Therefore, in order to invoice them through SAP, information needs to be delivered from upstream systems, which Bayer Business Services has achieved by implementing the IT Controlling platform netinsight from nicetec. The result: fewer legacy systems and ensuing greater efficiency and transparency.
“A considerable portion of our services consists of classic IT services. This particularly involves server operation, workstations, networks and telephony,” says Dr. Michael Eibl from the “Organisation and Information” department, and presents the portfolio. “In addition we offer integrated services for personnel, purchasing and logistics and finance as well as individual services like law and patents, training and provisioning of information.”
The control and invoicing of individual services for the group’s 300 companies across the world is a complex task. Previously, different applications had to be used at great expense and the data combined from these systems. In addition, the business areas of Bayer Business Services had used their own legacy systems for invoicing and delivered aggregated invoicing data, but not all the raw data. In the past this limited the depth of the information and complicated any corrections or adaptations that needed to be carried out.
Achieving greater profitability and efficiency was therefore the objective for the new invoicing system. This requirement coincided with the planned removal of the mainframe server. The exchange of hardware was then combined with the implementation of a new system for the invoicing of services. “Capturing expenses and services which the SAP systems in the company cannot recognize,” says Michael Eibl in summary of the starting point.
Improving the comprehensibility of invoicing was a fundamental goal – as transparency is a fundamental requirement due to the high quantity and complexity of the incoming data. “For example, we have to invoice several million phone calls every month,“ explains Eibl. This involves adhering to data protection requirements on the one hand, while on the other hand being able to show proof of individual connections in case of queries.”
They searched for a new central platform which would simplify the processes by removing many of the previously required legacy systems and combining all usage data. It was important that the solution would have a wide variety of standard interfaces and data collectors.
Automatic collection and processing of the usage data from the infrastructure would enable the complete process to be mapped. This includes the automatic invoicing and booking in SAP through to reporting. Further requirements of the solution were consistency and uniformity of the invoicing process through comparison of the different service types with each other and the reduction of handling expenses.
A recommendation at an internal industry circle meeting led Bayer Business Services to nicetec GmbH. “At the beginning of our cooperation with nicetec we created a joint preparatory study, outlining the requirements and possible solutions. To do this the individual departments at Bayer were put “under the microscope”. It was also helpful that we could see nicetec’s solution live in action – the results were very encouraging,” says Michael Eibl in summary.
On the basis of the results the Universal Data Collector Project (UDC) was launched, which formed the basis for the transparent capture of all IT usage data. Initially the focus was on the capturing of production costs and their allocation and invoicing through the new UDC platform; later it turned more to the availability of information about the processes. The netinsight platform now automates the capture, allocation and invoicing of services for Bayer Business Services from different legacy systems. Their concept enables the platform to be expanded and new processes to be integrated by Bayer themselves – in many cases, without requiring software developers.
A fundamental advantage of the new platform is the improved integration of procedures, from the ordering of an IT service through to its invoicing, particularly with the classic IT infrastructure services: customers can request services using the relevant cost center code over a specific portal. Procurement is thereby initiated without any red tape, and the UDC automatically handles the invoicing.
Due to the universal structure of the solution the platform is also well-suited for the invoicing of other services apart from IT. As other service companies need to invoice their services for the corporation, Bayer Business Services offers use of the UDC platform as a Managed Service. One the large client is Currenta GmbH & Co. OHG. The chemistry park manager and operator supports the Bayer group with many different services in the chemical-technical area. This includes disposal, energy provision, infrastructure, security, analysis as well as training. The range of services from Currenta alone captured and invoiced monthly through the UDC platform reaches a high two digit figure in the millions.
For Bayer Business Services as well as for nicetec the project was a challenge, due to its size and complexity. Nicetec CEO Ralf Meyer says: “netinsight has already proven itself in different usage scenarios in companies of different sizes and industries, thanks to its modular structure and high level of flexibility. With Bayer Business Services, adapting to very individual requirements was achieved thanks to the close cooperation with their own in-house experts.”
Project manager Michael Eibl confirms: “Everybody involved was dedicated and flexible. In time for the mainframe to be “switched off“ all the necessary measures had been carried out and only six months after the start of the project the first service types were invoiced using the UDC platform. The result is a significantly greater degree of process automation and the capture and invoicing of the services of Bayer Business Services are markedly more efficient.
Bayer Business Services, the internal service arm of the Bayer group, generates around a third of their revenue of 1 billion Euros per annum providing services that cannot be captured in the standard SAP system. In order to be able to carry out the necessary invoicing via SAP, Bayer Business Services implemented nicetec’s netinsight IT finance management platform as a central legacy system. This resulted in lower costs and greater efficiency and transparency.