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What happened to the HR system when Uniper split from E.ON?

87,000 users divided into two separate systems in just a few months

When one company suddenly becomes two, the IT landscape is also affected. Despite the very tighttimeframe for the split of the publicly listed Uniper SE from its parent company E.ON, the separationof their shared Talent Management Suite went smoothly. Here is a look at how it was achieved.

Uniper energy – a new company is born

Uniper energy took over divisions such as conventional power generation from its parent company, the German energy provider E.ON. This required the system landscape to be split. Many systems were affected including the SAP SuccessFactors HR solution which had been in use since 2013. Sven Ohlsen, Head of Talent Management and Reporting Solutions, was entrusted with the separation of this solution. He describes how the split was implemented along with meeting the deadline of September 1, 2016 (before the scheduled flotation of Uniper).

The challenge: when one becomes two

The former parent company, E.ON, opted for the agile and maintenance- friendly cloud solution from SAP SuccessFactors a few years ago to facilitate the IT-based support of HR processes. E.ON’s solution had become highly complex over the years. Numerous customer-specific adaptations made the system’s maintenance ever more complicated. Also, the Training and Development department was still using SAP LSO on-premise for its 87,000 employees. During the separation of Uniper, the goal was to retain the streamlined, modern cloud solution. 
There were two versions of SAP SuccessFactors modules which were already up-and-running. Both versions needed to be retained and be able to work independently of each other based on identical rules. The Uniper Talent Management Suite (TMS) should only contain Uniper records. The system at the former parent company E.ON had to be purged of any personal data relating to future Uniper employees due to data-protection concerns.
Sven Ohlsen explains: “This meant that we had to set up whole new systems, including all interfaces. Not only that, but we also had to cleanse data on both systems, which were scheduled to go live as separate systems simultaneously. We also seized the opportunity to map the Learning Management System in the cloud, and the integration of training and development processes into the existing SuccessFactors suite was therefore an obvious step.”

A choice between two concepts

Two possible approaches emerged during the tendering procedure for an implementation partner: Build & Migrate or Copy & Delete. Build & Migrate would involve setting up a new, empty system of SuccessFactors for Uniper. Then copying the relevant configuration, plus Uniper data, to the new system and leaving the ‘rest’ with E.ON. Copy & Delete would involve copying the existing Talent Management Suite, including all records from both companies, to an empty system and then deleting data from the respective other company. Uniper opted for the Copy & Delete approach, choosing tts as their partner for this unusual endeavor. “tts didn’t just impress us with their outstanding expertise right down to the most minute detail, but also introduced many crucial strategic arguments into the discussion – just as we would expect from a true partner,” enthuses Sven Ohlsen.



Well worthwhile: the big deletion and meticulous testing

The guiding principles, which were compiled in cooperation with a tts team of consultants in April 2016, included the idea of an initial snapshot on a test system. This first copy of the old system (consisting of 87,000 records) to the new Uniper system was based on the premise that no new functions or processes would be added before the go-live date of September 1, 2016. Of the five project phases (analysis, trial deletion, analysis of trial deletion, cut-over, and deletion in the production system), the second and third ones obviously required the most time and effort. But they also yielded some crucial information for the cut-over phase involving the transfer of data from the old system to the new one. As expected, certain types of databecame invisible in the system due to their deletion in the frontend, but they were still on the database. Close cooperation with SAP therefore became indispensable in preparation for the permanent deletion of these data types. The final snapshot was held six days before the go-live and lasted two whole days. The new TMS for Uniper came on stream punctually thanks to the Copy & Delete approach, which allowed Uniper to retain the history data that would have been lost forever with the other approach.

Two houses, two systems

“We first sat down with tts in April and were able to go-live punctually on September 1 without any kind of negative impact,” recalls Sven Ohlsen, summing-up his look behind the scenes. 87,000 users (14,000 from Uniper and 73,000 from E.ON) were split up between two separate systems over the course of five months. Good consultation with the stakeholders, along with a clear division of roles and responsibilities between Uniper and tts, is what guaranteed the project’s success, according to Sven Ohlsen. To coincide with the split, tts also implemented the SAP SuccessFactors Learning Management System, featuring close interfaces to SAP HCM, for both companies.

Facts & Figures

• With 14,000 employees, Uniper is floated on the stock exchange as a spin-off of E.ON in September 2016

• System landscape with 87,000 users is split up

• Switch from SAP Learning Solution to the SAP Success Factors Learning Management System in the cloud

• Copy & Delete approach saves history for both companies