Keeping the data up to date at all times is a time-consuming undertaking. At Roche, the employees in the master data department were primarily responsible for this, but some personnel from the IT department were also involved.
They had the task of manually entering new or changed data into the SAP system, for example when equipment such as fire dampers, actuators or measuring sensors was created within a new building.
Here, they made use of the lists provided by the manufacturers in Microsoft Excel and transferred the data via "copy and paste". But this process was not only very tedious, but also prone to errors.
Roche uses SAP ERP/ECC 6.0 for the management of master data from technical service, material management and finance, among others.
"In 2012, to optimize the quality of the data, we looked for a technical Excel-based solution that would allow us to bring the data sets into SAP in an automated way"
recalls Rüdiger Weiß, administration and support of IT systems at Roche Diagnostics in Penzberg.
Finally, in early 2012, the managers selected the Winshuttle Foundation platform, which was implemented within a few weeks and ran as expected for years.
"Over time, the platform's user base expanded and we were increasingly approached with requests for validation of the same.
Because as soon as product-relevant data is processed automatically in the SAP system, quality management expects the use of validated software. Therefore, five years after its introduction, i.e. in 2017, we decided to validate the entire system with the next version jump".
What made the process easier was the fact that the software met the requirements for validation. As part of this, an extensive approval process was run to ensure that all Winshuttle components - such as users, licenses, scripts and rights management - were on a platform that complied with the Computer System Validation (CSV) guidelines. This can significantly increase the efficiency of data processes.
The implementation of version 11.2 started in spring 2018 under the leadership of the Business IT department. Around a year later, the platform went live after an extensive test phase.
The long time span can be explained by the very complex validation process. This is because all possible scenarios had to be run through to ensure that they met all the compliance requirements of a globally operating company.
Since then, around 100 so-called professional users have been working with the platform. They have familiarized themselves with it without any external training. They were able to take all the relevant training content from a PDF document of around fifteen pages and operate the platform without any problems.
Only the so-called 20 script developers were trained in a two-day, the five administrators in a one-day classroom training. In order to be authorized to use the software, all users had to purchase a license and submit a user application. In connection with this, they are included in the corresponding Active Directory group and have demonstrated the necessary training.
The license for Foundation also includes the Software Studio, which was made available to users via an installation portal. This regulated process is required by CSV specifications.
The Microsoft Excel-based software enables users from IT and business departments to develop integrated solutions for SAP business processes. This includes the automated capture, completion and validation of data as well as its transfer to and from SAP.
Studio combines five modules: Transaction is used for the creation and maintenance of transaction and master data, Query for the simple provision of SAP data in Microsoft Excel.
Use Direct to create complex SAP data and change scenarios, and Journal-Entry to accelerate the publishing of account and journal data. Runner uses predefined transaction templates and query files to securely make changes to SAP mass data.
With Foundation, all SAP-related processes can be automated through configurable workflows. In the process, business users can control, enrich and validate the data step by step before it flows into SAP.
This optimizes data quality and thus maximizes the ROI of an SAP solution. The Enterprise Product Suite provides a development environment that streamlines the capture and validation of data and processes it faster and more securely.
It consists of two modules: Composer enables the design and configuration of innovative ERP business processes in a single authorization environment. User Governance provides transparency and control over usage and ensures auditable traceability.
In the meantime, various departments perform a large part of their data management tasks with the help of Foundation. For example, the platform is used in technical service for the entire maintenance module (PM), in material management (MM), in product planning (PP) and partly in the areas of SAP Cross Application (CA), SAP Financial & Controlling (FICO) and SAP Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).
Changes to mass data are no longer carried out manually, but automated. This relieves employees of tedious and error-prone tasks, allowing them to devote more time to their core tasks - such as system and process improvements or the development of further or improved scripts.
Another significant advantage of automated processing is the improved data quality. Roche has been using the Foundation platform since 2012 and the validated version since summer 2018.
Last but not least, their user-friendliness as well as the Excel-based way of working quickly convinced employees of their advantages. But even more important is the great efficiency.
This is because, compared to the SAP upload lists used previously, which took weeks or even months to upload using the Legacy System Migration Workbench (LSMW), a template with script is ready to go in just a few minutes.
Rüdiger Weiß sums up: "We had the expectation of receiving an easy-to-use tool that can develop and provide individual scripts in a short time. Our experience with it has been very positive and our expectations have been fully met.
This also refers to the requirement to validate the system according to CSV guidelines." Just six months after the introduction of the platform, it has become clear how quickly the system has paid for itself.
Based on the positive experience, Roche plans to further expand the use of individual Studio components such as Winshuttle Query or Workflow. The former is used to quickly and easily provide SAP data in Microsoft Excel, for example to create ad-hoc reports and templates for mass change applications, without compromising SAP security and performance.
The latter enables the automation of business processes. There are also plans to extend the use of the software to other locations and to upgrade the system.
Roche Diagnostics International Ltd. is a subsidiary of the Hoffmann-La Roche pharmaceutical group, the global market leader in in-vitro diagnostics with approximately 94,000 employees worldwide. The global Diagnostics Division is headquartered in Rotkreuz, Switzerland. It is divided into the following four business areas: Roche Professional Diagnostics, Roche Molecular Diagnostics, Roche Diabetes Care and Roche Tissue Diagnostics. In Germany, the company is represented by offices in Mannheim and Penzberg.