A Look at the SAP Partnership and BackOffice’s Newest Platform Launch

May 8, 2013 Enget Dang

Image_Interview with Rex Ahlstrom

Moderator: We’re here with Rex Ahlstrom, Chief Strategy Officer for BackOffice Associates (BOA). For those of you who don’t know about BOA, they are a global leader in Data Migration and Information Governance solutions–concentrating on enhancing ERP data quality. Rex brings a unique vantage point to BOA, charting a path that ensures value creation within the SAP partnership and overseeing the development of solutions that are in sync with SAP Enterprise Information Management products.

Q: What’s so special about the BOA relationship with… is it OK for me to say BOA? Anyway, what’s so special about your relationship with SAP?

A: Great question, and yes, quite OK to use BOA. The quote below I think speaks volumes about the quality of the relationship and the opportunity before both of us:

“A thriving partner ecosystem is central to SAP’s success, and we are delighted with BackOffice Associates’ expanded partnership with us. Customers can achieve improved return on investment, productivity and satisfaction by leveraging the market-leading information management solutions from SAP. These are further complemented and enhanced by industry expertise, proven methodologies, and value-added solutions provided by BackOffice.”

Byron Banks – SAP
Vice President
Database & Technology

Q: What is unique about BackOffice’s newest platform?

A: This is the first time, BackOffice has essentially compiled all our world-class solutions going back 17 years of successful data migrations, and captured them onto one unified platform of functions and capabilities known as the Data Stewardship Platform (DSP). It will not only accelerate our customer’s time to value, but brings our consultants and everyone involved in a data audit, migration or governance project, with a significantly enhanced user experience.

Q: As names go, DSP certainly seems very inclusive to the domain you work in… I get how you’re intimately involved with basically everything connected to data quality. But how does this platform relate to BackOffice’s partnership with SAP?

A: On a few levels actually. The DSP includes what we call an Accelerator Pak Suite for SAP. The suite can be coupled to Master Data Governance, Information Steward and Data Services among other products from SAP. Being pre-built, as I alluded to earlier, it accelerates how our consultants optimize a data cleansing, migration or governance process and how they work with SAP and other partners. We believe everyone wins with this level of integration as it reduces time-to-value.

Q: It would appear that you and your teams have put some serious effort into delivering a level of functionality that also enhances the partnership with SAP and how you can work together more cohesively.

A: If you look around at the ERP landscape what do you see? 232,000 SAP customers, which drive 63% of the world’s transactions on a SAP system. It’s just smart business for BackOffice to more closely align to one of the key players in ERP and define an integral role for ourselves within the Data Quality domain. DSP accelerates the ability of both sides of the partnership to derive value from the partnership as we also attempt to create value for the customer.

Q: Rex, one more question. Do you have any war stories you can share with us from one of your data quality projects?

A: Frankly, we have quite a few, but there is one recent account that comes to mind. During a good size data quality implementation for a utility client, we loaded 45 million records—only 118 records did not make that initial load. I have to say, that’s an impressive 99.9997% load success. Our consultants were very pleased and of course, so was our customer.

Q: What a great story.. perhaps just one more Rex?

A: Sure… Well, we had a retailer customer who wanted us to clean 67,000 vendor records before the start of a data migration project. Team members from the customer were a bit anxious with what had to be done before the actual start of the project. When BackOffice looked at the data from the most recent 18 months, it was evident that only 3,000 active vendors actually existed. Focusing your team from 67,000 assumed vendors to the reality of 3,000—that’s quite a huge headache removed. At a practical level, the customer also realized savings from the original estimate.

Moderator: Those are great stories Rex—thanks for sharing and spending some time with us today. Good-luck with the SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference. You guys have some great solutions to talk about and demo. I encourage folks to stop by booth #741 and say “hi!” to Rex and his team.

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