Mintek, South Africa’s national mineral research organisation, has implemented mySAP All-in-One to improve its assessment of both organisational performance and individual projects.

A world leader in mineral processing, extractive metallurgy and related areas, Mintek is an autonomous statutory organisation that reports to the Minister of Minerals and Energy. About 35% of its annual budget of R290 million is funded by the State Science Vote, with the balance provided by contract research and development, sales of products and services, technology licensing agreements, and joint-venture private sector companies.

“With such a diverse range of projects we need impeccable project management capabilities,” says Mintek’s general manager corporate services, Vimlan Govender. “Also, running a combination of state-funded and commercial projects, we need to be able to do both management and financial accounting. Specifically, we require the ability to take profit and cost centre management right down to source information.

“In addition, we need to be able to produce a single balance sheet in which the state-funded and commercial elements of our business are intelligently and relevantly merged in line with governance and regulatory requirements.

“And the Auditor-General assesses us annually on our performance, so we need the ability to monitor and assess our performance so as to ensure continuous improvement.”

Deciding last year to upgrade its 1998 version of SAP, Mintek realised that, because of its relatively small size (500 employees, 130 users), it would be more cost-effective to go for an entirely new solution.

Having examined a number of options, Mintek decide to stay with SAP. “Our existing licence agreements and the fact that we were already familiar with SAP methodologies made it financially sensible for us to go with mySAP All-in-One,” Govender says.

Implementation partner, BPS, took Mintek live on its project management-specific version of mySAP All-in-One in six months – collaborating with Swicon for the human resources (HR) side of the implementation.

BPS marketing director, Duan Fourie, says that because Mintek was willing to adapt its business processes to the best practices built into mySAP All-in-One “we were able to provide Mintek with an extremely sophisticated solution with almost no customisation of the vanilla version of mySAP All-in-One. That meant we could keep implementation time and therefore costs down – while providing Mintek with a very short ramp-up to a high level of efficiency on the solution.

“Working from a best practice perspective also enabled us to provide extremely high levels of integration. And that positions Mintek as one of the most advanced users in South Africa of mySAP All-in-One’s project management capabilities.

"Instead of running their business in a different way to the way they run their projects, they now use their project information as the source of all their organisational financial information. So there’s no possibility of misinterpreting levels of profitability because of a lack of information about any project or its relationship to the organisation’s overall business operations.

“At the same time, because the solution provides it with a thorough understanding of the risk involved, Mintek can better manage its baseline quoting for each project and, from there, impose water-tight control over both expenditure and revenue in relation to progress on the project.”

The mySAP All-in-One HR solution, tightly integrated with the BPS project management solution, also improves Mintek’s performance management capabilities.

“To get what we needed in HR from the old solution, we had to do a lot of customisation, which was creating unmanageable complexities,” Govender says.

“Also, we weren’t getting the reporting and compliance capability we needed. Now, with our employment equity plan, for instance, we simply push a button to get the necessary details and reports – because mySAP All-in-One automatically caters for every relevant HR scenario.”