Icon Integration, an SAP partner with a dual focus on SAP supply chain execution and SAP Business Intelligence/Information Management, has officially established a Victorian presence, with the appointment of Gavin Pilkington as Victorian practice manager.
Pilkington, who has held application and technology roles with prominent SAP customers Murray-Goulburn Cooperative and Linfox, will lead new client acquisition in Victoria and provide local sales and support for Icon’s existing clients.
Peter Collett, co-managing director of Icon Integration, said the company has been expanding rapidly in recent times, and now has a team of over 30 people across the two locations, primarily in NSW, with six people in Victoria.
Icon has customers such as Schweppes, Parmalat and Dulux in Victoria, and further growth in this state is coming from both the BI and supply chain business areas.
With data volumes exploding and end user expectations higher than ever, BI is still a hot topic within Australian organisations across all industries and size. End users are demanding self-managed, agile solutions, which can deliver ‘highly attractive’ insight against increasingly large amounts of data, quickly.
“It’s not uncommon for us to engage with customers that want to provide insight into multi-billion- or even trillion-row data sets now, and the users still want the output to be pretty, interactive and responsive,” Collett said.
“Customers are inundated with technologies and quite mature and demanding end users. This is leaving IT scratching their heads about which tool to use for which application, and how do they architect and structure their BI solution, which could be a hybrid of technologies and not all SAP, with third party vendors in the mix as well.”
“We have a good handle on the different SAP technologies and how to combine these and deliver some value to the end customer and business stakeholders in what has become a complex and sometimes confusing area. Gavin has been handpicked from the SAP ecosystem due to his ability to understand and meet these challenges.”
Icon is also continuing to see strong demand for its services around warehouse and logistics optimisations, under the leadership of Paul Roddis.
“There are a large number of customers finally investing in supply chain as part of a wider business transformation due to rapidly changing business models, which puts a lot more pressure on traditional supply chain,” Roddis said. “Our clients are realising that the investments they’re making in customer-facing digital technologies are only as good as the back end that supports them.”
Though SAP’s standard Warehouse Management (WM/LE) module hasn’t been developed for many years, adoption of SAP’s next generation alternative solution, Extended Warehouse Management (EWM), in Australia has been slow, though it has fast become is the ‘de facto’ solution in Europe and the US.
“In the last year or so, we’ve seen an acceleration in that when companies come to do a refresh, an upgrade, a reimplementation or have new requirements, EWM is the standard solution, but it’s different – it’s a decentralized solution, it’s part of the supply chain suite, and whilst it unlocks lots of additional functionality, especially around reporting and integration, it does require separate licencing,” Roddis said. “So the effort of taking a client on the WM to EWM journey needs to be carefully articulated and the value to the business well-understood.”
“We’re also doing a lot of optimisation for people who have got current SAP WM-run warehouses which were implemented five to 10 years ago. Requirements change, the movement of product changes, so we relook at the way they receive products and the way they pick and pack and the rise in the use of automation and technology.
“E-commerce has had a big effect – instead of a lot of big pallet-based movements, there’s now a lot of individual item picking, so much smaller orders but much more frequency, and that has a significant end effect on your business processes and how your warehouse system is set up to support it,” Roddis
Customers looking to take cost out of their supply chain are increasingly turning to analytics and labour management, in addition to voice workflows such as picking, again driving demand for Icon’s services.
“One of the most expensive aspects of warehousing is labour, especially in ANZ, so if they can optimise their use of labour and make them more efficient, it’s a clear big winner,” Roddis said.