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The Body Shop scrubs out legacy systems

The Body Shop is getting creamed with global sales data, and using SAP for Retail to solve the problem.

There are two things John Granville wants you to know: SAP for Retail works and, if you want it to work for you, then you better get the right partners and people on board.

As global director of IT for The Body Shop International, Granville watched SAP for Retail deliver as promised for the massive retailer's U.S. division. Now Granville is overseeing a three-year project to establish one master data system and one repository for reporting for the entire company.

SAP is a business initiative, not an IT initiative.
John Granville
Global IT DirectorThe Body Shop

"There is a very firm, positive-ROI case for this -- a three-year BSI strategic plan," Granville said.

The Body Shop is a $1 billion company with 2,000 stores around the world. That's a lot of mango lip butter -- and a lot of customer, employee and sales data to manage.

"Basically, it's going to give us the chance to have franchise- and company-owned information in a single repository, where the information is accurate, consistent and timely," said Granville, who last month presented The Body Shop case study at SAP's annual user event, Sapphire.

"Our project plan is very ambitious -- to make sales live by the end of August," Granville said.

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The global project means The Body Shop will be using SAP's full business suite, making SAP BI its data warehouse, and using Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Human Capital Management, and Financials.

The Body Shop credits its SAP project with helping its U.S. operations outperform all others, Granville said. SAP for Retail has been running for more than three years in U.S. stores, Granville said.

Now a large number of legacy systems, not able to support the sort of growth The Body Shop expects, will be replaced by the full mySAP Suite around the world.

One world, one way

Granville said that The Body Shop did two important things at the outset: Planned for "phase zero" and, together with IBM Global Services, wrote "maturity profiles" to forecast target levels for things like accounts payable, accounts receivable, budgeting and planning, and travel expenses.

"In my experience, not everyone has a phase zero," Granville said. "That is, building the business case and building the justification -- and making sure you've got business engagement, business support to do what you need to do -- because this is a massive transformation."

The Body Shop named its IT project "One World, One Way,'' a reference to a single view of company data around the world. And the company decided POS Data Management should be the first process implemented. Why? Because it gives the company "a quick win," Granville said. The idea was to show returns quickly. "POS [point of sales] Data Management is something we're expecting big returns on," Granville said.

"Basically, we're going to have three regional hubs that are getting information from the POS systems located around the world," Granville said.

Stressing the importance of partners, Granville said that The Body Shop chose Diagonal as a partner for products that are not in ramp-up phases [such as POS Data Management]. The company selected SAP Germany as a partner for the ramp-up products and chose Hewlett-Packard Co.'s storage, servers and software for its computing infrastructure.

In his Sapphire presentation, Granville said The Body Shop also partnered with companies such as IntelliCorp Inc., and its LiveModel product, to build out business processes. And The Body Shop contracted Compuware Corp. to build the automated testing capabilities for its SAP implementation.

Granville said the company learned some hard lessons, ones that probably aren't new to the SAP community. Above all, Granville said, SAP project managers need to get a strong business sponsor. "SAP is a business initiative," Granville said, "not an IT initiative."

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