Manchester Airports Group (MAG) takes flight with RISE with SAP partnership

Extended partnership sees MAG move to the Cloud as part of long term transformation journey with SAP.

SAP SE has grown its strategic partnership with leading UK airport operator, Manchester Airports Group (MAG). As an existing partner of SAP, MAG has chosen RISE with SAP in collaboration with AWS as the first step on its digital transformation journey across a number of key areas, from finance to people.

The Group, which operates Manchester, London Stanstead and East Midland airports, collectively saw 60 million passengers fly through its airports in 2019, and employed more than 40,000 people on site. Additionally, it has a 50% investment in the £1 billion, 5 million square foot Airport City development at Manchester Airport.

The pandemic had a devastating impact on international travel with passenger numbers at 1% of usual levels at its peak. As the Group started to see green shoots of recovery over the last few months, it spotted an opportunity to partner with SAP as part of an initiative called ‘Project Build Back Smarter’.

This programme focused on total departmental transformation as well as the considerable assets under management. It identified SAP S/4HANA as the foundation of this initiative, with a move to the Cloud helping to overhaul and streamline these extensive and complex business functions. The first phase of the move to RISE is a lift and shift of its existing ECC estate into the Cloud with a view to moving to SAP S/4HANA Cloud in the near future. With its core Cloud ERP platform now in place, MAG will also be looking to maximise its SAP Ariba and SAP SuccessFactors partnerships, to help create best-in-class experiences for finance teams and across its employees.

Due to the challenging backdrop of the past 18 months, SAP worked closely with MAG to identify a roadmap to support its recovery through its Project Build Back Smarter initiative. Key to this relationship was SAP understanding the challenges that MAG was currently experiencing, including reduced staffing through continued furlough schemes. Despite these challenges, MAG went live on RISE in March this year – marking the organisation’s first step on the road to transformation with SAP over the next five years.

Nicholas Woods, CIO at Manchester Airport Group, said: “Following a challenging period for the airport industry, we’re now seeing a resurgence in the number of people wanting to get away. As passenger numbers continue to increase, we need to be as agile as possible to deliver the best possible service for our customers and to respond to our colleagues’ needs in the workplace. Our SAP partnership allows us to do just that, initially shifting key functions to the Cloud, with a view to completing a full digital transformation in the next few years.”

Michiel Verhoeven, UK & Ireland Managing Director at SAP, added: “We’re delighted to be supporting Manchester Airports Group as it embarks on its journey towards full digital transformation. The tourism industry has been profoundly affected over the last couple of years, but as MAG becomes more agile, automated and insights-driven, it is putting itself in the best possible position to take off as global restrictions ease.”

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