Lufthansa AirPlus Servicekarten GmbH (AirPlus): Boosting Competitiveness by Transforming into a Digital Enterprise
Guest blog by Marina Clasen, SUSE.
The leading international provider of business travel management solutions Lufthansa AirPlus Servicekarten GmbH (AirPlus) is a subsidiary of Lufthansa operating under the brand AirPlus International who participated in the SAP Innovation Awards 2020 with its enterprise-wide digital transformation project. With SAP and SUSE, AirPlus was able to become an intelligent enterprise with a completely new, modern, and cloud-based IT infrastructure and a process-oriented, agile organization.
Outdated technology hinders growth
After 30 years of constant growth from a startup to a global business, AirPlus faced enormous technical challenges to enable further expansion. While its non-SAP IT landscape had served well during these years, it no longer met market standards to support new business models and product innovations. Furthermore, the old system was too costly to maintain and too time-consuming which negatively impacted operating margins, business agility and further international expansion.
Top-notch IT solutions for successful business operations
For this reason, AirPlus decided to renew its enterprise IT landscape on a cloud-based, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) architecture. The new IT infrastructure had to be able to replace manual and partially automated processes and work-arounds with fully digital, end-to-end processes and an intuitive user experience, documenting all processes in the system and eliminating the use of spreadsheets. It should further enable the rapid launch of new business models and innovations as well as fast international expansion, reduce IT operations costs by moving to the cloud and provide a robust foundation to meet the current and future requirements.
In the end, AirPlus chose SAP as the strategic software partner and SAP Digital Business Services for business process redesign and implementation services. They successfully implemented SAP S/4 HANA on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applicationsto support back-office processes in a fully integrate mode as well as to support core processes of customer invoicing and accounting. SAP Analytics Cloud now provides real-time insights for management KPIs and card product analysis, while SAP governance, risk, and compliance solutions enable full regulatory compliance for AirPlus as a regulated financial institution.
From a functional to an agile organization
In the end, AirPlus achieved complete digitalization on the highest possible level of automation of all back-office processes, resulting in greater efficiency and full transparency thanks to end-to-end process automation and digitalization. Now that the IT infrastructure is flexible and cloud-based, it is in line with worldwide market standards, enabling AirPlus to lower its IT operations costs by 50 to 70% and save up to 40% in business operations and reporting costs. The state-of-the-art IT infrastructure supports new business models and international expansion while enhancing customer service. Employees have more time to focus on value-added activities and are able to implement new ideas quickly. Overall, the move to SAP S/4HANA helped AirPlus to become more agile and was a major step in ensuring AirPlus’ continued success in a highly regulated and competitive market.
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