Swiss Federal Railways, Mastering a Data-Driven Culture with SAP BTP – Innovation Evangelism

Swiss Federal Railways, Mastering a Data-Driven Culture with SAP BTP – Innovation Evangelism

Mastering Data Hygiene

Reliable data is at the core of all digital transformation. Here’s a great example of how technology can help make sure that you have a solid information foundation for innovative new business processes.

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is a winner of one of the prestigious 2023 SAP Innovation Awards, in the “Experience Wizards” category. You can see their full entryv”Enabling a Data-Driven Culture by Integrating SAP Solutions with SAP Business Technology Platform” on the awards site.

SBB, one of the world’s leading passenger and freight railway organizations, has made a significant leap in data management and business process integration with the help of SAP Business Technology Platform.

Based in Bern, Switzerland, SBB operates a vast integrated railway network that serves almost a million daily passengers. With a workforce of approximately 33,900 employees, the company faced challenges managing data across its divisions, which led to inefficiencies and sub-optimal data hygiene. The need for a unified data system was pressing, and the journey to a data-driven culture started in 2017.

End-to-end approach from suppliers to customers

Working closely with Camelot ITLab, SBB embarked on a strategic data management initiative rooted in the integration of SAP Master Data Governance (MDG) with the SAP Business Technology Platform. These tools were chosen to manage master data throughout its entire lifecycle, as well as to facilitate end-to-end business process automation and integration.

A key objective of this initiative was to establish data as an integral part of the company culture and automate processes wherever possible. As a result, there was a significant need for a central system of material master data to integrate supplier lifecycle fully and create high-quality Master Data.

The implementation of SAP Ariba and SAP Customer Experience has been instrumental in managing the full lifecycle of supplier and customer records, from registration to phase-out. The integration of these solutions with SAP MDG has resulted in significant process efficiencies, a 60% increase in overall data quality, and a 75% decrease in process variants through simplification and consolidation.

It’s always about people!

Beyond the numbers, the initiative has impacted the SBB’s workforce positively, reducing efforts for various departments regarding simple, repetitive work and enabling a stronger focus on complex topics in data quality and governance.  The data management department, for instance, is no longer bogged down by the need to check irrelevant information or engage in double maintenance tasks. This shift has enabled them to concentrate on more intricate aspects of data quality and governance. As a result, they’ve been able to maintain long-term data quality, benefiting departments such as procurement, sales, and finance by improving process efficiency and significantly reducing data quality-related issues.

Furthermore, this initiative has facilitated an organization-wide transfer of knowledge, particularly in the business sector. This enhancement empowers the organization to independently handle routine requests, including data modifications. The success of the initiative is also reflected in the implementation of a data-centric project methodology that promotes the harmonization of data utilized across the organization.

Better data = ready for future innovation

SBB’s data management transformation story offers a glimpse into the power of SAP’s solutions. The innovative use of SAP Business Technology Platform and its associated tools demonstrates how organizations can leverage technology to foster a data-driven culture, optimize business processes, and enhance their service delivery in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape.

As PatricBinzegger, Lead Cross Data and Architecture, SBB AG puts it:

“A highly integrated data landscape is key for transformation success at SBB, as it lays the foundation for automated business processes, increased efficiency, and more flexibility to meet customer expectations.” 

For more details, check out the SBB Success Story: From Strategy to Execution – Transformation to a Data-Driven Organization and Data Management for a Data-Driven Company: Case Study – CAMELOT Blog.


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