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VAG Armaturen

“Real Added Value Through Consulting-Driven AMS”

Michael Rawus – head of global IT at VAG-Armaturen, a valve manufacturer based in Mannheim, Germany – has done more than just secure system operations in enlisting the application management services offered by cbs Corporate Business Solutions. The company is also benefiting from cbs’s wide-ranging consulting expertise in projects involving SAP integration, harmonization, EDI, PLM, business intelligence, and the IoT

Mr. Rawus, you’ve acquired application management services from cbs to support your system operations. What were your main considerations before you made this decision?

Rawus: We have a small team of four employees supporting 600 users around the world. They deal with all kinds of requirements, from process-related issues to legal obligations in the Czech Republic, India, or South Africa. We use all of the core SAP modules along with SAP BW, so we more or less have to bring in additional expertise from outside the company. As a midsize business, we can’t build up internal knowledge for everything, so this is a good way for us to get ahead.

That said, your employees probably don’t think in terms of IT processes and customizing alone.

We see ourselves as holistic process consultants and the ones responsible for implementing changes in our systems. When we don’t have the in-depth expertise to get the job done in a particular area, we bring in someone from cbs.

What’s it like working with cbs on a day-to-day basis?

The expanded AMS model is perfect for us because it includes not only system operations, but consulting services, as well. When necessary, cbs experts also help us out with our smaller projects. That makes us really flexible, which is a huge advantage.

What role do you think AMS will play in the changes taking place in the world of SAP, and in globalization and digitalization in general?

These days, it’s about more than just how we run our systems. We often need a consulting company with a broad range of experience to provide us with a proof of concept. In these cases, we’re basically saying, “You’ve carried out a project like this for an industrial company before. How is it done?” I’m not the kind of person who wants to keep reinventing the wheel, nor am I a big fan of SAP training courses that last five days. I’d much rather bring in a consultant I can work with on things like these.

You’re saying that the ideal AMS provider also needs to serve as a consultant with particular expertise?

Our company is growing and operating all around the world. That means we’re going to continue to deal with legal and process-related requirements in different countries. Daily support is important, but it’s not nearly enough. We’re talking about consulting-driven AMS. Doing business in a global setting requires a constant effort to advance our systems. In that sense, we depend on the flexibility, innovative capacity, and wide-ranging expertise of our consulting partners at cbs. The right combination of consulting and real-world implementation is also key.

Michael Rawus

Michael Rawus (born 1980) is the head of global IT at VAG-Armaturen GmbH. From its headquarters in Mannheim, Germany, this international company offers solutions for all types of control and shutoff valves used in water and wastewater management. (1,400 employees, €190 million in annual revenue) A native of nearby Heidelberg, Rawus earned his degree in information systems management at Berufsakademie Mannheim.