Delivering SAP Cloud technologies for K-12 business innovation and transformation
Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) is an urban school District which enrolls over 35,000 students in public primary and secondary schools from Pre-K through 12th grade, and employs over 3,400 teachers and 3,000 support staff. Located in Minnesota’s largest city, MPS is the state’s third largest school District by enrollment and has the state’s second largest public school budget over $640 Million. The District administers around 100 public schools in total, including 38 elementary schools, 8 middle schools, 12 high schools, 8 education centers, 8 alternative schools, 19 contract alternative schools and 5 charter schools.
MPS sought out Genesis’ expertise in guiding the District through the selection of multiple integrated technology platforms to enable simplification and standardization of their business processes, integrate the latest cloud technologies, reduce costs, and improve HR, Procurement and Finance operational performance. MPS chose to further invest in SAP as their enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, after which Genesis was challenged to navigate through the creation of their SAP implementation roadmap and to provide integration and change management consulting to the District.
Genesis and MPS successfully implemented a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) suite of products with the SAP innovation solutions as part of the final phase of its planned business transformation. Solutions implemented include SAP SuccessFactors, SAP New G/L and SAP SRM Procurement for Public Sector. After a full upgrade in early 2018 to position MPS for cloud and digital services, the new SAP applications were designed to the tighten data integration, reduce manual processes and support executive goals to spend funds more efficiently in support of improving the educational experience. We achieved success using the following strategies and methods:
Implementation of Agile Software Development, Project/Program/Product Management, DevOps, and CI/CD
During the implementation, teams set up Scrum standards and tools such as a Kanban board to manage the backlog of configuration and development and met for daily stand-up meetings to work through impediments. After getting the SAP Landscape platform and innovations roadmap approved by the Board, Genesis worked in collaboration with MPS to continuously deliver business value with multiple releases of development, integration and business capability to address:
Business user demand for new functionality in contract management, procurement and human resources to improve operational excellence, enable innovation, and reduce manual data entry
Desire to increase process efficiency and thus reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO), particularly in terms of the total cost of operations – for example, by returning SAP software modifications and custom developments to SAP standard functions; and retiring redundant legacy systems
Requirements from IT, such as planned infrastructure updates and consolidation projects that can be combined to take advantage with an upgrade
SAP release and future migration strategy: Preparing MPS with the prerequisites to migrate to HANA while providing the opportunity to evaluate the benefits and test scenarios
Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) Upgrades
Genesis brought expertise and project experience for laying out a road map and implementation plan for technical platform solutions and future functional application innovations in MPS’ SAP environments. MPS engaged Genesis in multiple phases for the implementation of SAP Technical Upgrades and new components as a prerequisite for future business initiatives for the District. After a careful analysis of the current release and infrastructure of the SAP systems at MPS and the upgrade goals and infrastructure requirements of the target releases of the various SAP systems, Genesis recommended MPS adopt an upgrade strategy that met the goals of their HANA, New G/L SRM and SFSF projects, and also prepared the landscape for a future optional migration to the cloud while reducing risk and cost.
User Experience and Interface Design Services
With the implementation of the new SRM Procurement for Public sector solution, MPS adopted a new UI and improved user experience for internal buyers, shoppers and vendors. Genesis helped MPS clarify the SRM portal UI concept in general, including the technical architecture, data provisioning, role model, and SSO. Genesis designed and implemented a UI/UX strategy with SAP SRM, SAP portal and the MPS launch pad, based on collected requirements to improve user adoption and process efficiency.
Business Analysis and Requirements Support
Genesis led the business objects modeling (cross-process view) to identify business objects relevant for the scope of the implementation, such as organizational structures and material masters, and to design a solution for these business objects within the SAP solution. Business objects were associated to processes and reflected in applications. Understanding these relationships was essential for overall integration and cross-process integrity. In addition, it was critical for Genesis to work with MPS to design and document requirements of the organizational structure. This reflected multiple views of the organization, such as Legal, Fiscal, Functional, Product-oriented, Regional and geographical, Customer-group, Distribution-channels, and Purchasing-channels to support the process scope. Multiple design sessions and demo iterations resulted in the Business Scenarios deliverable which included documentation of requirements, solution design for the scenarios and processes.
Quality Control and Quality Assurance Testing
Genesis was fully responsible for the creation of the test framework which drove content input from the existing Test Policy. The key to our success was to build a central foundation around the Test Approach and Methodology, Test Standards and Guidelines, Test Case Development, Defect Management, Reporting and Analysis, Roles and Responsibilities on functional testing (unit-, string-, integration-, scenario-, user acceptance, regression testing etc.) and performance testing.
After the upgrades and implementation of new SAP solutions and services, MPS has experienced process efficiencies and improvements, increased integration, linking of multiple business processes, decreased costs, improved compliance and lower operational costs. Minimizing manual data entry has resulted in a drastic reduction in errors across all platforms including recruiting, onboarding, and payroll. Throughout the process, we were able to link MPS’ strategy with IT execution resulting in accelerated organizational integration between different areas through an end-to-end process approach. Overall system performance is highly improved in the new enhancement packs which aid in the conversion of contracts as well as maintaining any large contracts or files for attachment within the system. We implemented new supplier relation management (SRM)/procurement for public sector (PPS) capabilities for contract management, bidding and supplier registration which promotes District-wide spend visibility and analysis, enabling more leverage and buying power with vendors. Increased business process efficiencies and integration between SRM and ERP Central Component (ECC) and the implementation of a new SAP General Ledger are continuously yielding significant improvement in transparency and reporting.
MPS and Genesis have taken a strategic approach to align leading SAP technology with the goals of the District to provide the best educational environment for its students and a more effective way of how its HR, Finance and Procurement employees manage their funds and resources.