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Johannah Rodgers
Johannah Rodgers
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MassMutual Leverages SAP for BPM

Insurer re-engineers business processes and creates an enterprise standard for business administration.

In 1999, several years after the MassMutual and Connecticut Mutual merger, the carrier's two major business administration systems were still not integrated, according to Christine Modie, executive vice president and chief information officer.

In fact, Modie was put in charge of making sure the systems side of the new company worked as well together as the business side. "The two business administration systems were not at all integrated," she says.

Deciding that the integration challenge also provided the opportunity to re-engineer business processes, Modie worked with her counterparts in corporate finance and human resources to find a solution that was "extensive and met the business need in an integrated fashion," she says.

Looking for Good TCO

Total cost of ownership and the ability to implement the solution "out of the box" were key criteria in the evaluation phase. As Modie explains, "we wanted the benefits of the solution to pay for the new system, and we didn't want to have to make any code changes to have the system suit our needs. Having tools that were easily configurable was extremely important in making our final selection," she says.

After considering both integrated and stand-alone applications, the MassMutual team decided on Newtown Square, Penn.-headquartered SAP's mySAP Business Intelligence, mySAP Financials and mySAP HumanResources. "SAP had a tremendous capability to support process re-engineering without changing the code within the system," explains Ricky Swaye, vice president, corporate financial division. Emphasizing the maturity and flexibility of the system, Modie adds that "SAP may have been newer to financial services than other vendors, but in terms of corporate infrastructure applications, they were clearly the most mature in terms of configuration."

The first phase of the SAP project was initiated in June 2000, and MassMutual went live with the first module of the application, the Business Intelligence information warehouse, in August 2001. Five months later, the human resources module-including integrated payroll and benefits-as well as the corporate financial module were up and running. "We flipped the switch on the first business day of 2002, and while nothing is ever flawless, this was as close as it gets. We were extremely proud and relieved," says Modie.

The project was staffed at its peak by approximately 140 individuals and included resources from MassMutual's business and IT divisions, as well as several outside consultants. "We also selected SAP America as our functional systems integrator due to their very tight relationship with SAP's development organization," says Edward Wilczynski, second vice president, enterprise business systems division.

Realistic expectations and good planning contributed to the success of the project. "We learned from the problems that other ERP projects had encountered and ensured we had appropriate mitigation strategies," Modie explains. Wilczynski adds that "the ability of SAP to partner with us and their commitment to making the ERP suite meet the needs of our enterprise were key success factors."

Unexpected Benefits

Based on post-implementation analysis, Modie is finding that "the payback period is dramatically shorter than we had expected." She also has found that there were unexpected benefits, such as the ability to move to activity-based accounting for IT functions. This, Modie believes, as well as the system's overall extensibility, "are a result of having the central data repository as the base of the system." In terms of the advantages of using ERP applications, Modie sees myriad benefits. "We are constantly benefiting from the fact that SAP is an enterprise standard and includes modules that have been tested on global platforms and represent the best practices of some of the largest companies in the world."


Case Study Closeup


The MassMutual Financial Group, Springfield, Mass., $240 billion in assets.


Life, annuities, disability, long-term care, retirement planning, trust services and money management


SAP's (Newtown Square, Penn.) mySAP Business Intelligence, mySAP Financials, mySAP

Human Resources.


Integrate diverse systems and applications to create new enterprise standard for business admin.

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