Case Study | Protera and Beautycounter

Beautycounter increases inventory accuracy with SAP S/4HANA on cloud

2018

Migrated to AWS

6-month

Project timeline

25-30%

Increase in inventory accuracy

Beautycounter is a mission-driven, digitally native, clean beauty brand that continues to lead and define the future of the global beauty industry since it was founded in 2011. The company’s efforts have led the way for ingredient innovation and transparency and prioritized advocacy to advance personal-care product safety. Beautycounter’s consumer-first directive combined with a technology-first enterprise approach sets it apart as a leader in the beauty industry.

Being a lean team, we need to focus on business projects that drive value. Having Protera as our MSP allows us to do that.

– Nick Lyons
Sr. Director of Enterprise Applications

Challenge

Since its founding, Beautycounter has been a direct sales led company focused on clean beauty for all and has seen explosive organic growth in the industry. However, the initial system of record was not able to scale for the growth of the company and lacked the ability to streamline and modernize the supply chain. In 2017, Beautycounter leadership chose to implement SAP S/4HANA on AWS.

Unfortunately, the initial SAP implementation stalled, and Beautycounter called on Protera, the first managed services provider to migrate SAP to AWS, to stabilize the existing AWS migration and get the project back on track. In six months, Protera fully implemented SAP ECC, PO, and Webdispatcher on AWS, and provides ongoing cloud and SAP managed services.

“Our initial implementation wasn’t going well, from the migration itself to the SAP Basis support,” says Nick Lyons, Sr. Director of Enterprise Applications at Beautycounter. “Protera stepped in with zero documentation, zero assistance from anyone else, and got us over the finish line. Everything they touched was a bright spot of the project.”

The Journey to Modernizing with Cloud and SAP S/4HANA

In 2018, Beautycounter worked with Protera to transform to SAP S/4HANA version 1610. This transformation was focused on the end-user capabilities, and as Lyons states, “SAP S/4HANA on AWS is lightning fast, allowing our employees to benefit from actual analytics rather than running reports and crunching numbers.”

User adoption with the functional teams is not an issue at Beautycounter, especially due to the significant improvements in one of their most critical areas- the supply chain. In 2020, Beautycounter transitioned to a new distributor and leaned heavily on the involvement of Protera during the project. Protera handled all digital interfaces between the cloud IBP solution and SAP S/4HANA instance to streamline demand forecasting, sales, and operations planning, and supply planning processes.

“We went from completely manual processes for everything to now beautifully automated processes,” says Lyons. “Beautycounter now has industry-leading inventory accuracy, with everything trackable with a click of a button from sale to procurement, to hitting the GL.”

Although user adoption is often a trying aspect of most application interface changes, Beautycounter’s finance, accounting, and supply chain teams are on board- and excited. The technology team performed a roadshow across the functional units to highlight the enhanced Fiori capabilities demonstrating the strains that would be alleviated.

In 2022, facing the end of maintenance support on version 1610, the Beautycounter team chose to upgrade to SAP S/4HANA version 2020, seeking substantial improvements in scalability, functionality, and supply chain-focused additions. In just 12 weeks, without any major impact to the business, Protera performed the upgrade while activating transactional and analytics Fiori apps relevant to finance and accounting. Additionally, they upgraded and resized their SAP on AWS instance for a boost in memory allocation and usage. “The upgrade to SAP S/4HANA 2020 was painless, in fact, it was the smoothest upgrade I’ve been a part of. Protera gave us a project plan and we followed that to the letter,” says Lyons.

The Future: Focusing on Value

As Beautycounter looks to the future, they are set on SAP being the lynchpin of their business and continuously improving to optimize cost, enhance internal processes and develop solutions to help their customers and drive revenue. Additionally, they are evaluating and rolling out the plethora of revamped Fiori applications now available to them with SAP S/4HANA version 2020.

“As a lean IT team, we need to focus on driving value for the business,” says Lyons. “Protera frees us up to do just that while continuously bringing new and innovative ways to improve performance and maximize our investment.”

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