Innovation Management with SAP PPMDMK Group (Deutsches Milchkontor)

The company

The Deutsche Milchkontor (DMK) is Germany's largest dairy cooperative and one of the most important suppliers to the food retail trade. Its range includes cheese and dairy products through to baby food, ice cream or ingredients for industry, such as pizza cheese or the filling for a chocolate bar. Around 7,700 employees at more than 20 locations worldwide and over 7,000 milk producers work for well-known brands such as MILRAM, Oldenburger, Osterland, Uniekaas, Humana or Alete.

At one glance

  • Further development of a product innovation tool based on SAP PPM, SAP UI5/FIORI and SAP BRFplus
  • Analysis, conception, backend and frontend development
  • IT project management, proxy product ownership & agile coaching

The task

One of the DMK's core processes focuses on the generation, evaluation and prioritisation of ideas and concepts from which new and improved products are developed to market maturity. To support this innovation process on the system side, a solution from the software company SAP, which has been adapted to the customer's needs, has been used for several years: The portfolio and project management suite PPM was supplemented by BRFplus, a framework offered by SAP for modelling business rules. With the help of the UI technology SAP Fiori, concepts to be tested, process steps, projects, tasks and evaluations are simplified and personalised for the users involved in apps. The solution had not been further developed for a long time, was not yet in use in all business units and appeared to the customer to be too rigid and complex overall.

The task of neusta enterprise services was to streamline structures, eliminate known problems and errors and implement new requirements for the system.

The implementation

The core project team consisted of six DMK employees from the Group Strategy and IT/Commercial Application Management departments and five colleagues from neusta enterprise services.

Following a three-month knowledge transfer, the neusta team took over the analysis, conception as well as back-end and front-end development of the SAP solution. Furthermore, neusta provided the IT project manager and proxy product owner to support the DMK managers.

In order to be able to react quickly and flexibly to changing requirements, neusta enterprise services, together with DMK, introduced an agile procedure based on Scrum and communicated best practice approaches of this methodology to the customer. The work packages were processed in two to four-week sprints.

The result

Thanks to the agile approach, the process owners of the business units involved were able to gain an early insight into the developing system. Release cycles were accelerated and users were able to use new features more quickly.

New functions were added to the system, bugs were fixed and system performance increased. New process participants were integrated, reporting functions improved and authorisation concepts adapted. Users can now jump directly from the user interface of the innovation tool to the customer's central SAP ERP system and transfer certain information directly there. DMK management can get a quicker overview of pending innovation decisions through new approval workflows and via a user-defined app. Initial steps were also taken to develop the system, which was originally a workflow tool with fixed process steps, into a tool that enables project managers to manage their innovation projects more actively.

Parallel to the development work, the client strengthened the acceptance of the system among users through various communication measures - including regular training and feedback rounds, newsletters and process workshops.

Used technologies

• SAP Portfolio & Product Management (PPM)

• SAP UI5/Fiori

• SAP Business Rule Framework plus

• Web Dynpro

• OData

• Atlassian Jira

• Atlassian Confluence

Cover photo: DMK Group