SAP BRIM – An Overview
The digital transformation and the changing consumer behavior of customers are forcing companies to rethink their products and processes. The markets are undergoing a transformation: usage-based fees and subscriptions are increasingly replacing one-off sales of a product. Use the opportunities of digital transformation for your company!
The key to this is SAP BRIM (Billing and Revenue Innovation Management) – the consistent evolution of conventional billing. Pricing, billing, invoicing and open item management are the core functionalities of this flexible and constantly evolving software.
The advantages are convincing:
With our many years of experience and cross-industry expertise, you can leverage the new potential of your company! SAP BRIM is not just a single module, but a framework of various components that optimally support your Offer-to-Cash or Consume-to-Cash processes.
Each component is highly integrated into the solution architecture, but can also be replaced by an existing implementation.
You can look back on more than ten years of SAP BRIM experience in consulting. This is a very long time in our industry. How have the requirements of our customers changed over this period?
During my time as a consultant, I have accompanied projects in various industries, my focus here was the telco industry, but I have also supported customers in the automotive, shipping and finance industries. In many areas I noticed an increase in regulatory requirements: Requirements from supervisory authorities, regulations and laws play an increasingly important role. On the other hand, we are experiencing a change that is being driven by increasing digitalization. They still exist: "classic products", but services that are either offered stand-alone or piggy-backed to classic products are becoming more and more important. Let's take Office as an example: in the past you bought the box with the software, today you have a subscription in the cloud.
A development that is only just beginning, what role does SAP BRIM play?
I see SAP BRIM as a springboard and a driver of digital transformation. BRIM gives you a powerful framework to make a company and its processes fit for the future. The sale of goods remains important, but it is even more important for every company to retain its customers in the long term and meet their needs as optimally as possible. To do this, you have to put the customer at the centre of your actions. Customer-specific prices and products are easy with BRIM - and at the same time we remain as close as possible to the software standard. BRIM achieves a significantly higher degree of automation, both in the processes experienced by the customer and in the downstream back-office processes. Let's now add the keyword "artificial intelligence"... Imagine software that, for example, continuously analyzes your billing processes and reacts independently to changing customer behavior. This makes it clear that we have only just begun the so-called digital transformation.
More and more companies are moving into the cloud. How do you experience this process?
We are currently experiencing this process at first hand on a project. A customer moves almost his entire IT infrastructure to the cloud. Here we see the urgent need for effective provider management. It is something else "with a screwdriver in your hand" to manage your own servers in your own data center or to work together with a large IT service provider. However, there are interesting advantages for small and medium-sized companies in particular: There are no direct, high investment costs, the computing power is easier and faster to scale and with SaaS you are always up to date. We often encounter scenarios in which highly standardized and highly automated processes run in an external cloud and a few highly specialized processes run on-premise. The integration of these two worlds has already presented us with one or two challenges...
When will we experience SAP BRIM in the cloud?
BRIM itself is also undergoing a transformation. At the moment, we mainly encounter the on-premise versions in everyday life, but the roadmap of our SAP colleagues is also clearly focused on the cloud. With SAP Subscription Billing and S/4 Hana Cloud for Contract Accounting & Invoicing, there are already very interesting solutions that are constantly being further developed and can be a valuable extension or addition to the BRIM landscape.
Let's come back to your company... You come from and live in Vienna, BRIZO is located in the center of the Rhine-Main area. Why did you choose Neu-Isenburg as your location?
I myself have known the Rhine-Main region and the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region for many years now, a region in which I felt at home from the very beginning. During a major customer project, Richard Griffith and I decided to found BRIZO. We are impressed by the great economic strength that is developing around the city of Frankfurt from the airport. Many companies based here are going through a phase of transformation, which we support with our expertise. We see ourselves as an international consulting firm with a local focus in the Rhine-Main region. Our teams are made up of both local colleagues from the region and employees from our branches.
Every day, SAP BRIM demonstrates its strengths in retail, utilities, and telecommunications. You played a leading role in the implementation of BRIM at a financial services provider. How did this happen?
In the winter of 2016/2017, a customer from the financial services industry asked us whether we would not like to support him with the POC (proof of concept) of his new system landscape. We naturally enjoyed this challenge and today we have been on board for almost two and a half years and can look back on our first productive experiences.
How have you tackled this challenge?
During the POC, we broke down the customer's requirements into functional user stories. Based on the overall view of the user stories, we created a high-level blue print, not too detailed, but in a way that provides us with the necessary framework for implementation. Within two-week sprints, we worked through the backlogs of the product owners in interdisciplinary teams, so that at the end of the POC there was proof of a sustainable system architecture. Thanks to the Scrum methodology, we were able to quickly make the customer experience the first results, and a project spirit quickly developed that focused on the requirements of the end customer and the products.
You approached interdisciplinary teams, with which skills and profiles did you support the customer?
During the POC, we were already able to lay a lot of groundwork for the subsequent implementation project, the decisive factor being a scalable, secure and future-proof BRIM system design. So our architects played a very decisive role here. They were supported by our module experts, especially in the areas of Convergent Charging, Convergent Invoicing and FICA, not to mention our ABAP developers. Again and again, however, we have also provided support in the methodical control of the project. It is important to us to advise our customers not only with regard to technology: Our consulting approach covers technology, functional consulting and methodology. During the project, we were able to scale the BRIZO team according to the customer's needs, with the help of our Nearshore Delivery Center in Albania.
You are an old hand in the SAP BRIM world - what did you learn from the project?
The regulatory requirements for a financial services provider are manifold, I would like to mention the BaFin, PCI-DSS and the Anti-Money Laundering Act. Here we had to crack a nut or two, but together with the customer's employees we found, I think, very good solutions. But I remember one other requirement in particular: On the one hand, we had to quickly make the claim visible to the customer in the accounting department, on the other hand, the invoice had to be written at a different, defined time. On-top was the payment of a liability to a partner. Here, we went through three or four approaches, all of which we had modelled from the BRIM standard, in order to implement a very elegant solution in the end in the interaction of Convergent Invoicing and Convergent Charging.
How did the cooperation with the customer work in general?
We see ourselves as partners of the client and meet him at eye level. Together with him, we bring the project safely across the finishing line. Our consultants were and are integrated into the respective teams and play a coaching role. Project work is also always on-the-job training, so we are very close to our clients and are happy to support them in building up their know-how, not only during the project but also in separate training sessions.