Specialist charity selects Sapphire Anywhere with SAP Business One

Looks to optimise efficiencies and enhance reporting, ensuring donations are channelled to those who need them most

Moving to the latest version of SAP Business One and to a cloud platform is already delivering value for Deafblind UK. Deafblind is a national charity supporting people with sight and hearing loss, enabling them to live the lives they want. Established in 1928, Deafblind is focused on the development of new and enhanced services for those living with sight and hearing loss. In its quest to provide greater care, support and advice to more people across the UK, Deafblind invests in research to better understand the needs of its members. It also invests in infrastructure, staff and volunteers to deliver effective and efficient services.

Maximising donations, minimising downtime

For any charity, ensuring that the maximum amount of income is channelled into the services which support its beneficiaries, is crucial. Efficient operations, particularly in the back office are intrinsic to this goal. Deafblind raises around £1.5 million every year, and as part of its commitment to its members, it is imperative that this all goes towards its services. Ensuring that the charity’s back office is operating at maximum efficiency is therefore paramount and the charity continually reviews processes to ensure this is the case.

Benefits of Cloud migration

Against this backdrop, Deafblind recently mandated a Cloud approach for all of its IT infrastructure, a strategy designed to lower total cost of ownership (TCO), reduce risk, free up resources to focus on the core goals of the charity, and scale for the future. Because its ERP platform, SAP Business One, represents the backbone of its back office, part of this mandate was to simultaneously upgrade and migrate the solution to the Cloud.

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Having worked with business software consultancy Sapphire Systems for more than 10 years, Deafblind had no hesitation in selecting them for the SAP Business One upgrade and migration to Sapphire Anywhere’s Cloud model. As well as having the flexibility to host multi-tenant and single-tenant solutions, Deafblind selected Sapphire Anywhere based on the performance, control and security which comes with having a dedicated hosting environment.

“We have a long standing partnership with Sapphire Systems and have always found their support to be excellent,” comments Rod Cullen, Director of Finance and Deputy CEO. “We have always been impressed with their speed of resolution, and the professionalism and expertise of their consultants. In addition to the support model, we’ve always gained lots of value from Sapphire’s user days which are incredibly informative.”

A two-tier upgrade

The upgrade project was potentially complex as Deafblind was not only moving to latest version of SAP Business One, but from a Sequel server to SAP HANA as part of its shift to a Cloud environment. Despite the challenging nature of the deployment, the upgrade was smooth, and came in on time and to budget.

“Undertaking an upgrade of this nature requires a great deal of knowledge, deep skillsets and experience of the system at play,” Rod comments. “However, despite the complexities of upgrading and moving our infrastructure to Sapphire Anywhere’s hosted model, the professionalism and dedication of Sapphire’s consulting team resulted in a smooth transition with minimal downtime experienced.”

Confidence in the face of complexity

Completed in 2019, the deployment is already delivering value to Deafblind, as Rod explains: “Not only are we starting to see the benefits of a Cloud model, including lower TCO, reduced business risk and minimal maintenance, but the enhanced reporting capabilities in the latest version mean that we’ve already reduced reporting days significantly. We’ve been able to remove at least 10 days out of our reporting, since adopting SAP Business One, and typically we can report to trustees on the 12th of each subsequent month. In turn this enables decisions to be made quickly, based on accurate, meaningful information.

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“Because our income comes from a diverse mix of sources, from conferencing facilities and property, to fundraising, reporting has the potential to be complex. Collating the information required for reporting has in the past taken time. However, with our new solution we are able to collate, consolidate and report almost immediately. This allows us strong visibility, facilitates meaningful, real-time reporting, and supports faster decision-making, which ultimately expedites the allocation of funds to services,” he continues.

The future

“Looking ahead, we anticipate even greater speed and productivity in our back office and efficiencies to the tune of 5-10%. As well as establishing a foundation for the future, this saving equates to up to £20,000 a year, increasing the funds available to our beneficiaries,” Rod concludes.

“Ultimately, through moving to the Cloud via SAP Business One and Sapphire Anywhere, we are confident that we’re making the very best of our donations and that more can be channelled into services for the people who rely on them.”

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