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ALPE Consulting: migration services from SAP to 1C will be in great demand for more than three years.

ALPE Consulting: migration services from SAP to 1C will be in great demand for more than three years.
Stanislav Malyshev, CEO of ALPE Consulting, in an interview with TADviser said that the events of 2022 became a time of new opportunities for the company and will allow it to become even stronger by providing market-demanded services and developing its own data platform.

Your company has been developing the SAP practice in Russia for many years. What did you do when this vendor left our country?

ALPE Consulting has been a highly specialized company for many years, we did nothing but SAP products. Several times we tried to diversify the business, to do something else, but this could not be done for subjective reasons, especially since things were going well for us, there was always enough work. And only in 2022 did we have to take a step towards universalism.

Until the end of February 2022, we were a rather atypical IT company for the Russian market: more than 80% of our clients were foreign customers with Russian representative offices. Since one of the founders of ALPE Consulting was an Austrian citizen, we have historically been focused on the European market and the processes adopted there. In terms of turnover, the proportion of such customers was even higher, around 90%. Mostly European companies from German-speaking countries worked with ALPE Consulting: Germany, Austria, Switzerland. There were also customers from Italy and France, a few from Turkey and Brazil. All these clients were united by the fact that we helped them to carry out Roll-out, that is, projects for the implementation of SAP systems adapted for the Russian market. Approximately in 90% of cases, the implemented systems were deployed in foreign data centers, on the territory of countries that are now commonly called unfriendly. Our tasks primarily included adapting SAP systems to Russian legislation and training staff to work with document templates. It was around these services that the work of our company was initially built since 2006.

Soon, in parallel with the Roll-out projects, we began to implement SAP ERP implementation projects for Russian enterprises. Initially at small enterprises, and then at large ones. In 2007, ALPE consulting participated in the localization of the SAP All-in-One for Retail Package solution V1.6, in 2008 - the first successful implementation of the SAP All-in-One for Retail solution in OLIVIE (Smart Value Retail) in Russia . The first major project took place in 2010 - we received the SAP Quality Award 2010 for the best project in Russia in the SME segment, the implementation of SAP ERP in Kalina Concern OJSC.

We have always tried to be an innovative company. For example, our company was the first to develop and successfully implement a localized solution based on the SAP S/4HANA platform, which was certified by SAP and named ALPE4HANA. The next step was the certification of the localized S/4HANA cloud solution, which was named ALPE4HANA Cloud.

Throughout the years of our development, we felt good in the market, experiencing some difficulties only during the 2008-2009 and 2014-2015 crises.

Initially, ALPE Consulting had clear principles for recruiting employees. First of all, our consultants had to have a good knowledge of SAP standards. This vendor has a huge library of ready-made business processes. In general, the Germans are known to be very thorough and pedantic people, so it is not surprising that when developing SAP, they described in detail every action that our employees must master perfectly. In addition, the consultant was required to be fluent in either English or German, ideally both. Due to the careful selection of personnel, we almost always corresponded very precisely to the needs of customers and were not afraid of competition.

Naturally, for the first time after February 2022, our clients experienced what can be called a loss of direction. Foreign companies were confused. And the problems of customers, as expected, affected us - there were no new orders for several months. But by the summer of 2022, everything gradually improved.

Most importantly, our team has started getting jobs again. There were orders for business transformation. Our clients needed to adapt their information systems to suit the prevailing conditions. In particular, it was necessary to “move” information systems from foreign data centers to Russian ones. By the way, this process has only gained momentum by 2023, and we are still receiving such orders. Our company helps our clients to correctly and painlessly transfer operations to Russian data centers. I would like to note that companies in German-speaking countries are always very law-abiding, and they not only scrupulously follow the laws of their states, but also listen to the requirements of the laws of Russia, where they still have business in one form or another. It is quite natural that it is becoming more and more difficult to take into account the laws of the two countries.

What are the features of working in the new conditions? In what directions do you plan to develop the company's business in the coming years?

Moving from a foreign data center should be accompanied by the transfer of licenses from the parent company to the Russian representative office. Therefore, not all companies decide on such a migration. Some companies understand that their Russian subsidiaries will be sold to local structures. As a result, such clients want to switch to 1C.

Until 2022, we did not have any experience with 1C at all, but since many of our clients decided to turn to the relevant systems, ALPE Consulting began to develop business in this direction. In the summer of 2022, we began to actively train our consultants to work with 1C and hire new people with knowledge of 1C. At the same time, we replenished our team with fairly high-level specialists, which allowed us to quickly offer services for the transfer of systems to 1C. Today we are implementing three major migration projects.

It is clear that we cannot compete with large 1C integrators, each of which has been operating on the market for many years. All of these companies have established expertise and large teams of qualified professionals. But we already feel confident in our chosen niche - in providing migration services to foreign companies that remain in the Russian market in one form or another. Accordingly, such companies need to switch from SAP ERP to 1C ERP. But for this, first of all, you need to know SAP ERP processes well, and 1C integrators have problems with this. And the fact that ALPE Consulting has a deep knowledge of SAP ERP business processes, I see our significant competitive advantage.

How wide is the group of companies that need to migrate from SAP to 1C?

There are many such clients. And these are not only those who worked with us until February 2022. Among our new and potential customers there are many with whom we have not worked before. So, this year, even the clients of our competitors come to us, because they do not always have time to cover the needs that have appeared on the market. In my opinion, the market for migration services from SAP to 1C will flourish in the next 3-5 years, we will definitely have enough work here. What will happen next? I don't think anyone in our country knows this.

Did you manage to save the team?

Having the highest level of specialists in our team, with excellent knowledge of SAP and fluency in foreign languages, we have retained all of them, despite the difficulties of 2022. Of course, people had to develop new competencies related to 1C ERP. We can say that the company's specialists already have an equally good command of SAP ERP and 1C ERP standards. Of course, one can talk about 1C ERP as a standard rather conditionally, after all, it is much less standardized and does not have such an extensive library as SAP ERP. Therefore, it can be learned more easily and quickly. For people who once mastered SAP ERP, switching to 1C ERP is definitely not a big deal.

Having chosen the direction of services for migration to 1C, we purposefully recruit specialists with knowledge of this system. Most likely, in 2023, the 1C practice will be seriously expanded, as we see a serious field for expansion.

I heard that ALPE Consulting is also trying itself as a vendor…

In the bowels of our company, a rather interesting innovative startup has arisen. It was created jointly with InnoGeoTech companies from Innopolis. Currently, our startup has won a grant from Yandex to provide cloud resources for the development of a future product. In addition, in February 2022, we are submitting an application to the Bortnik Foundation for another grant.

What is the essence of the product that you want to develop as part of a startup?

We are developing the LeanDI platform. Its vision is to develop a lean data infrastructure. Together with our partners, we have already seen that this is a really working idea. Currently, the startup team is actively working on creating a product. Soon we plan to introduce a high-performance infrastructure solution that allows you to work with big data, regardless of its nature - transactional or OLAP data for reporting. The bottom line is that Lean DI considers data as a whole and makes it easy to work with them, avoiding system integration. Based on our platform, it will be possible to scale horizontally, that is, include different databases on different servers. It was this opportunity that attracted Yandex very much.

I want to note that Lean DI is a high-speed platform. Because it disables Delete and Update operations, it provides a complete audit trail of all transactions that go through the system. We see this platform as very promising for deploying applications that were in SAP ERP. Our consultants, having deep knowledge of SAP processes, can act as excellent system analysts when implementing the Lean DI platform. I hope that by the fall of 2023 our startup will be widely known in the market.

Where can LeanDI be used?

We see large-scale mechanical engineering as the most promising direction for the LeanDI platform. There were many German engineering companies among ALPE Consulting's clients, so we know very well how this industry works - from the production of components and spare parts to the assembly of finished products. In my opinion, we have a good chance to impose competition in the 1C industry due to the better performance and scalability of our solution. Moreover, the platform has prospects not only in Russia, but also in other countries, but it is too early to talk about real chances.
We hope that our own LeanDI platform will be a notable success.

Does ALPE Consulting plan to develop in foreign markets?

Today we are focused on Russia, but in general we see quite good prospects for ourselves abroad. I think that in the future we will try our hand everywhere where Russian companies can be met positively - in Brazil, India, Iran, Indonesia and Malaysia.

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