Keytree supports TUI’s move to SAP

TUI is the world’s largest leisure, travel and tourism group headquartered in Hanover Germany. As part of a global finance transformation project, TUI made a strategic decision to migrate all legacy business processes to SAP to simplify their systems landscape and help streamline global operations.

Named internally as the STUART programme, legacy Oracle technology has been migrated to SAP of which the SAP Analytics suite is at the core of the solution. The project includes the migration of ProvessOR – a bespoke system used to calculate and process additional commission due to travel agencies that sell TUI holidays and other TUI products. As of 2017, in Germany, €2.2bn was made through these travel agencies.

TUI books vacations for 20 million holidaymakers each year, generates annual revenues of over €18.5bn and employs in the region of 67,000 staff. The ProvessOR system plays a vital role in ensuring that commission payments, a large amount of which are made through third-party travel agencies, are processed accurately and in a timely manner. The current ProvessOR system was built in-house on Oracle technology, so TUI needed to replace this system with a version that would work with the SAP Analytics suite. Keytree delivered a complete replacement system to ensure ProvessOR would migrate and run smoothly on SAP technology.

Delivering an SAP compliant version of ProvessOR

A key business driver for TUI is to incentivise third-party travel agencies to sell more TUI products and to optimise the sales mix – offering a higher proportion of some products, such as TUI Value, which helps to manage sales margins. Agencies that grow TUI volume and have a high TUI Value share are rewarded through enhanced commission. The TUI commission scheme is seen as a key differentiator between TUI and its competitors by both TUI and the third-party agencies.

ProvessOR, created to manage all commission payments, was developed as an Oracle-based solution, which had been running at TUI for more than 16 years. It featured a complex mix of SQL Scripts, with heavy script enhancements made each year to adjust even minor changes to commission structures. Continued change over many years resulted in the ProvessOR solution becoming increasingly difficult to manage.

The discovery and solution design process started with Keytree facilitating more than 15 workshops to go through each element of the calculation process to define the rules. It was essential to agree on the rules in advance of development, as the way the commission is calculated is very complicated with extremely complex rules. Once these rules were defined – insomuch how the commission was calculated – Keytree then started project delivery.

Keytree delivered a complete replacement system that included an SAP Business Warehouse (BW) data model to hold the data for all stages of the commission calculation process. Keytree also introduced a BRFPlus application containing business logic to clean and enhance sales data, classify sales data according to revenue type, calculate commission percentages, manage complex commission rules and perform commission calculations.

Keytree decided to incorporate BRFPlus as many parts of the legacy system contain complex business logic, which changes every year – such as commission rates and thresholds. As the majority of the business logic is expressed in decision tables, it can be relatively easily implemented and maintained in BRFPlus, providing enhanced levels of efficiency and flexibility that vastly improved the commission rule management process.

The new SAP compliant version of ProvessOR had to replicate what the previous system produced so the first requirement was to generate the calculations for 2017 – and these figures had to be exactly the same as the results generated from the old system for 2017. By taking this approach, Keytree was able to validate one set of data against the other – with the outcome providing identical information.

Working collaboratively to create true business benefits

Keytree’s expertise in SAP was an integral part of the STUART programme, as at TUI, there was a limited level of in-house experience of SAP. Keytree’s experience in delivering SAP projects and strong analytics capability was the driving force behind the success of the project. The two teams working closely together was particularly beneficial when resources were not always available – due to TUI staff needing to also focus on their day jobs. The collaborative approach paid dividends especially when leading up to and during the testing period of the project, as TUI did not have the BW or SAP knowledge to carry out the testing – Keytree used their expertise in this area and supported TUI through the process.

TUI now have a new system on their chosen SAP landscape that is much simpler to manage and operate than the previous Oracle-based system. One significant benefit is improved reporting including self-service analytics by business users. In the legacy system, the business was reliant on the IT function producing the output and producing the reports. Now, business users can self-service on the data to derive insights previously unavailable without IT department support. By using SAP Analytics, TUI can access flexible reports which they can slice and dice in a variety of ways – to produce the required insight seamlessly at pace. The time taken to execute commission calculations is greatly reduced, business logic is contained in one place (BRFPlus) and can be easily updated, and ProvessOR is now fully integrated with the TUI SAP ECC system.

It is now possible to push the maintenance of business logic out to the business, which is achieved by sending the decision tables used in the commission calculation to the business for amendment and checking. These adjusted tables can be easily imported into BRFPlus, seamlessly integrated into the commission calculation process, without requiring changes to complex SQL Scripts. Keytree provided extensive documentation to TUI that was created using Confluence. The documentation included full technical descriptions of the delivered components of the system together with “how to” guides covering the running of the system and the maintenance of business logic – streamlining knowledge sharing and collaboration within the team.