Yellow Pages goes SAP with NetWeaver

Identity management component played key role in SAP decision, says CIO

Yellow Pages Group is to deploy SAP’s NetWeaver platform, as it moves to fill the IT infrastructure vacuum left after its sale by Telecom last March.

The split from Telecom gave Yellow Pages a clean technology slate and the opportunity to sit down and consider what was out there in terms of best of breed and best practice, and how that could be combined with what the company had, says Karl Wright, CIO of Yellow Pages.

The separation left Yellow Pages with almost nothing from a technology point of view, Wright says. The company, with 650 staff, needed a way of managing identity within the organisation.

“We also needed a new financial system, a billing system, HR and payroll system,” he says.

The organisation decided to implement SAP’s NetWeaver across the board, and the identity management component played a key role in that decision. Previously, the SAP offering did not have identity management as an integrated suite but the latest version has, says Wright.

But the decision was also based on the fact that Yellow Pages would not have to retrain people, as the organisation used SAP under Telecom as well.

The main challenge around the separation is to maximise benefit but change as little as possible of the processes. “We saw the opportunity to make a change and we decided to take it,” says Wright.

The organisation is well through the testing phase and is on track to go live on May 1. Wright expects the identity management suite will reduce operational costs in creating, changing and deleting user identifications within the systems.

Up until now, Yellow Pages has been using legacy systems — 10-15 years old — to manage identities, says Wright. System administrators handled the processes by email, and manually created user identities and assigned authorisations, keeping spreadsheet records. But with SAP identity management, these processes can be automated, which to a large extent eliminates the need of the administrator. The new system has led to savings of nearly three fulltime administrators, which can now focus on other tasks, says Wright.

The software assigns identities to staff based on approved workflows, allowing managers to give staff access only to their specific areas, starting from the moment staff start work with the organisation. In addition, when a person changes roles, it is relatively straight forward to update that person’s identity in real time, says Wright. The software is linked with human resources information, which makes it easier to remove user access when needed.

This is the first implementation of SAP identity management in New Zealand, says SAP’s Andrew Rattigan, vice president of identity management. SAP Consulting will do the implementation.

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