British American Tobacco (BAT), headquartered in London, UK, is a large, multinational enterprise with annual revenues of £25.6B and more than 52,000 employees worldwide. BAT, established in 1902, has evolved into one of the world’s leading consumer goods companies.
Using data to drive transformational change and accelerate time-to-value from acquisitions
The global tobacco market has faced significant challenges over the past 50 years. With this in mind, BAT committed to building “A Better Tomorrow” for its stakeholders by reducing the health impact of its business with the creation of a new line of products that provide adult smokers with less risky alternatives. This new market approach involved investing heavily in new industry products such as cannabidiol (CBD), e-cigarettes and vaping that meet the preferences of their adult consumers.
The company set an ambition to have 50 million consumers of its non-combustible products by 2030 as well as accelerating the growth of these “New Category” revenues at a faster rate than its total revenue, reaching €5B by 2025. In order to achieve this vision, BAT is radically redefining its organisation with digital transformation, technology and innovation.
Managing data is absolutely critical to any organisation, but with BAT’s strategic focus on agility, flexibility and speed, it was both fundamental and critical to our success.”
From integrating Reynolds to tackling One SAP
A major factor to BAT’s strategy of growth and transformation is in acquiring complementary companies and technologies to round out its portfolio of offerings, particularly those in important and high-growth markets like the United States.
One of the most recent was the re-acquisition of Reynolds American Inc. (Reynolds), in 2017, a U.S.-based former subsidiary of BAT that needed to be re-integrated into the larger BAT organisation. BAT needed to accurately and efficiently integrate Reynolds enterprise resource planning (ERP) system into the BAT ecosystem so they could begin realizing the benefits of the acquisition. While the company was previously part of BAT, this was no simple task.
This is a quintessential Syniti project – complex and outcome- driven, something our team of data-focused experts and our software platform excel in, time and again.”
Starting in 2018, BAT worked with Syniti on the full migration of all Reynold’s data and processes, taking on an increasingly broader role as the project progressed. Using Syniti’s eight-step migration methodology, an iterative, repeatable migration process, team of expert consultants, and the industry-leading Syniti Knowledge Platform (SKP), BAT successfully jumpstarted their Reynolds integration project. One of the key challenges of the project was working within a very demanding timeframe and a business directive to not disturb any ongoing business operations. Business decisions typically focused on priority, impacting the data loading schedule, which was sequenced to follow business ramp-up.“Syniti was brought in to support our partner ecosystem, and what they did was get this program back on track,” said Burns. “This team has been a needed source of continuity, strength and expertise for us.”
How fast can I bring in the data – can I do it in six weeks? What about six days? Moving faster is only possible with a strong system in place, with high-quality data and with a partner like Syniti who focuses on the business outcomes, not just a delivery date."
Why Syniti was Selected
With the Syniti Knowledge Platform at the heart of BAT’s data transformation work across its entire organization, the company saw rapid returns in data quality and value generation:
- Business users are able to make decisions for data corrections faster, thanks to the transformation process in the SKP and its detailed Validation Reports. The quality of the data has improved significantly over the course of the program, with 100% data cleansing before starting production data load!
- Using one unified platform from extraction to transformation to post-load report reconciliation has drastically expedited the data migration process overall, reducing resources needed to support the process and completing the project faster.
- Production load data was completed in five weeks vs. previous loads of eight weeks, resulting in:
- Reduced Daily Burn Rate across the project
- Reduction in Blackout period (Cutover Window), with significantly less downtime on actual business activities such as project orders, goods receipts, generating sales orders (Sale to customers), receiving and paying invoices, and proper cash flow.
- Less impact on downstream systems, resulting in a smooth handover of operational activities after migration go-live.
British American Tobacco went fully live as planned on its One SAP project, the central SAP ECC ERP, in early July 2022. Backed by Syniti’s expertise and iterative methodology, Syniti was able to de-risk the entire migration project, resulting in a truly successful Boring Go Live™. BAT continues to work with Syniti’s data team in order to focus on Data Quality, extending full project completion until August 2022.
“This is a quintessential Syniti project – complex and outcome-driven, something our team of data-focused experts and our software platform excel in, time and again,” said Steve Wilson, EMEA Chief Operating Officer, Syniti. “We are thrilled to be supporting BAT on their incredible transformation journey. None of this would have been possible without Mark’s collaboration and vision, and we look forward to expanding our partnership.”
The SKP’s extensive project visibility tools and role-based workflow easily and successfully integrated business users into the program, allowing users to perform tasks within a single migration platform.
This provided BAT with increased visibility, transparency, and understanding of what was happening with their data – making the program more efficient. For example, despite changing business requirements, the team was able to hit enablement criteria for the first month-end.
With the expertise of the Syniti team and the proven success of the SKP, BAT was able to accelerate its data transformation across critical business processes, including Procure-to-Pay, Order-to-Cash, Manufacturing and Logistics Execution – all processes that underpin BAT’s global target operating model, a centralized data warehouse for master data storage that feeds all other systems.