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Alkaloid - a success story: Conversion of SAP ERP system to SAP S/4HANA


Transform the SAP ERP system of all companies in the Alkaloid Group to SAP S/4HANA, and thus provide a technological platform for future further business improvement through the application of new tools and functionalities in S/4HANA.

Project duration ~ 5 months


b4b is for Alkaloid d.o.o. Skopje, in November 2020, completed the project of conversion of the existing SAP ERP 6.0 system to SAP S/4HANA version.
The project realized the conversion of the existing SAP system into 6 Alkaloid companies from 4 countries. The entire SAP Alkaloid system was converted to S/4 HANA, which includes the business areas of finance and controlling, procurement, sales and distribution, production planning and management, quality management and human resource management. The project course included the conversion of existing customer and supplier master records into business partners as a prerequisite for conversion to SAP S/4HANA version, 3 test conversions to confirm all conversion elements including production system conversion duration, and final production system conversion. An additional challenge in project planning and implementation was the obligation to carry out process validation in accordance with the requirements of the pharmaceutical industry (GMP) within the business system, which took place as a parallel project of users and external partners.

The course of the conversion project itself included:
1. Conversion of existing master records of customers and suppliers into business partners as a prerequisite for conversion to S/4HANA version
2. "Readiness check" and necessary corrections over existing processes in accordance with the "Simplification item list" recommendations
3. Implementation of new functionalities - new data structure in finance, new accounting of fixed assets, material book, "account based" profitability analysis, settlement management for the purposes of calculation of sales rebates
4. Implementation of FIORI user environment
5. Migration to HANA base
6. Analysis and necessary corrections of more than 1800 lines of user development code
7. Three test conversions during which extensive testing cycles of all processes were conducted by business users.
8. Production conversion done in 48 hours (business downtime)


The realization of this project created the conditions for further development of the business information system Alkaloid, which uses new technological elements - "in memory" database and a strong processing environment. The foundation has been laid for:
- wider application of the new user interface (FIORI) in transactional and analytical activities of users
- more efficient application of analytical tools, including BW tools and SAP Analytics Cloud
- optimization and redesign of business processes using new functionalities built into the SAP S/4HANA system

As the project took place during the epidemic of the Covid-19 virus, the complete project was fully realized by remote access using available tools for the needs of holding "on-line" meetings, workshops and trainings.
Regardless of the changes and risks caused by this way of working, all project activities completed within the planned time, scope and financial framework thanks to the exceptional commitment of Alkaloid and b4b.


"The first operation in the SAP ERP system in Alkaloid started on July 2, 2007. The system successfully supported our continuous growth and development, so after 13 years of constant upgrading and in a record short time, we converted the AlkaSAP system SAP ERP 6.0 into SAP S / 4HANA.
The challenge was more than great!
The specificity of the situation we live in, the dynamism of processes in the pharmaceutical industry that we always have to keep up with, the complexity of geopolitical environments during our operations and the extremely unpredictable environment in which we all operate during the current year required a next generation solution that allows real-time analytics. We resolutely embarked on such an endeavor with a team of 110 members. During all phases of the conversion, certain uncertainties, unknowns and questions were present, but as we approached the phase of launching the new version in full form (so-called GoLive), it turned out that we planned well and met the set goals. Even in the conditions of virtual functioning, we were followed at the rate by our long-term reliable Croatian partner, the company b4b. Their quality and experience in such an extensive undertaking and in extremely specific conditions meant and were extremely important to us!
We were also supported by the SAP RIG group, and our partner from Brazil, FIVE Validation, did a great job of validating the system. We are also counting on future successful cooperation!" - Živko Mukaetov, General Director of Alkaloid and Chairman of the Project Steering Committee