VICE PRESIDENT INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Jeremy Vance is the VP of IT at Hostess Brands. He oversees manufacturing execution systems, operational technology networks, and bakery line automation. Collaborating with various teams, he aids in modernizing procurement processes and trade strategies. Moreover, maintaining a robust cyber posture to ensure enterprise security is a top priority for him.
Can you describe your organization's journey to SAP S/4HANA, highlighting the timeline and challenges related to cloud migration and modernization?
Our transition began in January 2022 and was finalized by November. The beauty of our journey was our relatively clean ECC environment. Still, even with that advantage, we had to grapple with the adoption of features such as the unified ledger and Treasury functions. Our presence in the cloud already laid the groundwork. But with every major transition, challenges arise. A significant one was managing various priorities. We lived by the principle: "proper planning prevents poor performance." While the cloud offers flexibility, there are complexities in security and system optimization that cannot be underestimated. The cloud's strategy wasn't just about convenience but was a leap towards simplifying operations and incubating innovation.
We lived by the principle: "proper planning prevents poor performance."
How does partnering with Managed Service Providers like Accenture align with your IT objectives and drive innovation?
Collaborating with Accenture has revolutionised our IT strategy. They're not merely a service provider but a strategic ally. About half of our IT team is outsourced to them, encompassing a mix of both onshore and offshore teams. They expertly manage our core SAP functions, enabling our in-house team to tackle strategic objectives.
One of the key pillars of our journey is the "Big 5" strategy, centred around SAP, Workday, Logility, SalesForce, and Microsoft. I'm fully committed to modernising our approach, and we're focused on teaming up with industry leaders that are modular, scalable, and offer solid training and knowledge management. It's not just about keeping up with current standards; it's about pushing boundaries. When we look at tools outside the Big 5, I tend to lean towards what I describe as "Big 5 adjacent" solutions. These are either top-tier partners or those who have garnered significant investments from the Big 5, hinting at their potential future integration.
From my perspective, while the Big 5 offers great tools, sometimes more flexible and cost-effective alternatives are better. It's about balancing standardisation with innovation.
The tools we integrated, like the Fiori apps, revolutionized operations. Tasks that once took hours were halved, thanks to streamlined dashboards and analytics.
How did you assess the success of your post-transition SAP operations and its impact on business growth and team dynamics?
Evaluation is multi-faceted. Technically, we tracked uptime, transactional outputs, and the innovation-maintenance workload balance. With a 40%-60% ratio, our processes stood validated. Business growth, however, is the ultimate litmus test. Our revenue trajectory, escalating from $800 million to roughly $1.2 billion in a span of 4-5 years, spoke volumes. The tools we integrated, like Fiori apps, revolutionized operations. Tasks that once took hours were halved, thanks to streamlined dashboards and analytics. Beyond mere numbers, the transition reshaped our team's work ethos. There's a renewed sense of purpose, and the tools guide them, amplifying both efficiency and morale.
The balancing act between security and modernization is a challenge in dynamic environments like SAP. How do you ensure neither is compromised?
It's a tightrope walk. Our proactive stance, evident in our relentless pursuit of managing technical debt, safeguards us against vulnerabilities. Embracing tools, especially SAP's Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) arsenal, fortifies our defense strategy. We've compartmentalized costs associated with security tools from our major upgrade expenditures. This ensures focused investments and negates the risk of bundling too much into a single transition. By anticipating changes and executing auxiliary IT projects ahead of mega-upgrades, we maintain a strategic edge and robust security posture.
Our proactive stance, evident in our relentless pursuit of managing technical debt, safeguards us against vulnerabilities.
Adopting RISE will demand not just a technical transformation but also a shift in organisational culture. It's about rethinking how we work and challenging ourselves to simplify processes.
SAP RISE is on everyone's radar. How do you envision its role in the evolving landscape?
SAP RISE is poised to be a game changer for enterprises that run SAP. However, SAP is still early in this journey. RISE is transitioning SAP into a platform-as-a-service model, making it more akin to a business platform. While it's not fully a software-as-a-service yet, I believe it's on its way there.
The challenge, though, lies in the state of an enterprise's existing SAP environment. If you have a cleaner environment, the transition to RISE is likely smoother. However, enterprises with extensive customisations will face hurdles. These customisations can complicate the move, necessitating a thorough simplification exercise to determine what's truly essential and what can be let go. Adopting RISE will demand not just a technical transformation but also a shift in organisational culture. It's about rethinking how we work and challenging ourselves to simplify processes. To fully benefit from RISE, enterprises will likely need to transition to an S/4HANA native version, which means embracing the necessary simplification exercises. This transition, while it may present hurdles, opens the door to greater efficiency and innovation, setting businesses on a path to a promising and adaptive future.
A cherished name in indulgence, crafting iconic baked goods since 1919. From Twinkies to Ding Dongs, their treats evoke nostalgia and delight across generations. With a rich history and innovative spirit, Hostess continues to sweeten moments and create lasting memories. A brand that blends tradition with innovation, leaving a delectable legacy.