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Interview

Stefanie Kemp
Stefanie Kemp,
Vorwerk CIO
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Facts and figures

The direct-sales specialist’s offering includes carpets, cosmetics and household appliances. The company has 22,100 permanent staff and 600,000 freelance employees in 66 countries.
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Change in the cloud

In 2005, direct sales giant Vorwerk became the first leading global player to leverage T-Systems’ Dynamic Services. Since then, the services and applications used by this cloud pioneer have changed considerably. Only two things have remained constant: Vorwerk has enjoyed state-of-the-art ICT, while benefiting from lower operating costs – each and every year.
Vorwerk
Since 2000, Vorwerk has grown impressively, thanks to strategic acquisitions of businesses in Asia and the Americas. In 2004, for example, Vorwerk bought US cosmetics company JAFRA. At a stroke, its IT was faced with delivering services for several hundred thousand new freelance employees responsible for B2C sales between Alaska and Chile. This included dealing with millions of customers’ data, order picking, invoicing and, most importantly, paying the new sales reps’ commission. As a result, Vorwerk’s IT infrastructures – especially CRM and ERP resources – face peak loads several times a week in many national markets. However, the company was reluctant to expand its systems to accommodate these spikes in demand.
Enter cloud computing
In 2005, Vorwerk was among the first major European players to embrace an entirely new IT sourcing model: Dynamic Services for SAP from T-Systems. The world’s first concrete cloud offering for business applications (AO4SAP) had to fulfill requirements that many more enterprises would ultimately come to demand from their IT providers: extremely high availability of computing power, flexible resources, reliable, worldwide delivery and scalable storage.
For everything from logistics to production through to customer-specific BI solutions, Dynamic Services for SAP helps Vorwerk slash costs by up to 30 percent. At the same time, notes Vorwerk CIO Stefanie Kemp, being a pilot customer meant there were a few teething problems in the early stages. Wagering on cloud computing, back when the term itself was scarcely known, was not without risk. But, says Kemp, “it is precisely because of the joint lessons we learned in cloud computing that Vorwerk and T-Systems have a significant edge in terms of experience.”
Consolidation with a new sales platform
Following configuration of more than 3,000 SAP desktops and the migration of data and applications to T-Systems’ servers, Vorwerk wanted to ensure that its employees would not experience any problems with the new services. And so in 2005, Vorwerk tasked T-Systems with application management and modernization (AMM) of its heterogeneous legacy application landscape. The objectives: to continuously improve process quality in a constantly changing business environment, keep its IT at the forefront of development and reduce costs even further. This move included the VIA (Vorwerk Integrated Architecture) project, initiated by CIO Kemp. “VIA is a sales platform,” explains Kemp, “that offers a high degree of consolidation coupled with maximum flexibility in the configuration of country-specific sales processes, which is able to support more and more of the countries we operate in.”
For the complete article, download the PDF here (see Downloads right) or read the latest print edition of Best Practice (issue 1-2012)
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