Siniat: Decommissioning of obsolete ERP systems and JiVS implementation
Ten years – that’s how far back a tax auditor can theoretically go to check a company’s financial records. Therefore, companies have to archive all tax-relevant data for this period. A decade is a long time in the IT world, however. Databases can be enhanced, ERP solutions discontinued and systems replaced. At Siniat GmbH from Oberursel, all of this came practically at the same time. “We became part of the Belgian Etex Group as the result of a takeover,” explains Uwe Straub, Head of IT at Siniat GmbH. “Since my IT department was responsible for our company and three other affiliates, we faced the challenge of having to divide up four different company histories.” The integration with the new group IT, which is now hosted at a data center in Brussels, meant the switch to a new database system was imminent. The ERP solution was also showing its age, and its continued use merely to archive the company data did not seem to make sense. “With our sale to Etex, we switched to SAP,” stresses Straub. “But it would have been too cost-intensive to migrate our entire company history from the legacy systems just to be prepared for a potential tax audit.”
Cost trap safely avoided
A primary concern was keeping the costs for the four companies as low as possible. “We looked at several offers, but none of them were exactly what we were looking for,” continues Straub. So he turned to T-Systems. Straub had good memories of past dealings with its corporate parent, Deutsche Telekom, because his IT team had used Telekom’s data center in Kiel prior to the company’s sale. “We were always extremely satisfied with Telekom’s service, so it was only logical to inquire at T-Systems, who referred us to their Swiss partner, Data Migration.” Their solution, JiVS History, provided exactly what Siniat GmbH needed to manage their data history. The first task was to cleanly separate the tax-relevant data of the four formerly affiliated companies. After all, now that the company has changed hands, they should no longer have access to the respective other company’s figures. Following the execution of this migration step and comprehensive data checks, each individual data history runs as a virtual machine in the respective company’s environment – and at a fraction of the usual costs, because the neither dedicated servers nor a complex database with the corresponding license fees are needed. After all, the data only needs to be available in readable form. It no longer has to be modified.
Predefined archive queries
The migration itself took five days. With configuration of the software, training the employees in the four companies and a variety of data checks, the entire project was completed in 40 days. Cost savings from installing JiVS History usually amount to up to 80 percent. “The process also cut our costs significantly,” confirms Uwe Straub. “In addition, T-Systems was able to perform the migration without interrupting regular operations.” The usability of the solution has also met every expectation of the IT manager. “We wanted a solution that would let us access our archive data without a separate client. With JiVS History, access is incredibly simple, through an Internet browser. I simply call up the address and enter my user name and password and I can start a data query.” As a result, if a tax auditor really does come knocking, he can sit down at any PC that is connected to the company network. “There are also predefined reports that we can run immediately,” says Straub. “In JiVS History, nearly three-quarters of all common queries are predefined, which makes the processes even faster. I find that very practical and convenient.” More specific queries are also possible, of course. A period or other parameters can be defined to hide the other data, so the auditor only can only see the data he wants to examine.
Siniat GmbH no longer has to worry about the ten-year retention period for its legacy data. “Without JiVS History, we would have had to set up a whole new ERP system, just to maintain the data for a potential tax audit,” says Straub. “We managed to avoid that. As a result, the costs for software and migration pay off very quickly, and we’ve met all the compliance requirements completely.” JiVS History also provides advantages for data security, because the solution encrypts the legacy data as well.