Strategic Overview: How Rodenstock is shaping a future-proof HR/IT Strategy

Development of an HR/IT transformation roadmap for the time after SAP ERP HCM

Company/ Industry
Rodenstock GmbH / Ophthalmics optics

Service Portfolio
As a global leader in the field of vision care, the Rodenstock Group manufactures high-quality biometric ophthalmic lenses and eye measurement systems for opticians. The company is headquartered in Munich and employs arounf 5,000 people worldwide.


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SAP HCM customer companies are increasingly moving towards the cloud, as the proven SAP ERP HCM on-premise system will be phased out for customers in the foreseeable future. Rodenstock, the specialist for high-quality spectacle lenses, has recognized that its own HR/IT system landscape therefore needs to be restructured and began to address the resulting questions at an early stage: How must HR management be structured in the future? What options are there for SAP ERP HCM? Do we only use SAP SuccessFactors, the HR cloud solution from SAP, or would it be better to use a hybrid solution? How long will a transformation take and what technical dependencies need to be taken into account?


The Rodenstock Group from Munich manufactures high-quality ophthalmic lenses and eye measurement systems for opticians. The focus is on biometric spectacle lenses, in which Rodenstock is the innovation leader: for a biometric spectacle lens from Rodenstock, the unique shape and size of each eye is measured individually and, based on this data, each individual spectacle lens is manufactured precisely using the biometry of the wearer's eye. In this way, Rodenstock produces several million spectacle lenses every year.

Since its foundation over 145 years ago, Rodenstock has been a pioneer of progress in ophthalmic optics. Rodenstock holds over 500 patents worldwide. With the introduction of biometric lenses, Rodenstock has created an innovation that has raised the vision of millions of people with glasses to a new level. This quest for new, better solutions is based on the people who work at Rodenstock. Continuing to attract and retain the best minds for the company remains the key to its future success. With the foreseeable end of maintenance of the on-premise Human Capital Management solution - SAP ERP HCM - major changes in the HR/IT area are imminent. This was the reason for those responsible at Rodenstock to work together with projekt0708 to develop the future goals and paths for a future-proof HR/IT system landscape. The aim was to provide a valid basis for decision-making for the upcoming HR/IT transformation.


Planning Horizon
Focus on Germany,
but can be rolled out worldwide
Valid options for
the future

Even a well-functioning system has temporal and functional limits

Rodenstock has been using SAP ERP HCM on-premise as the leading HR management system in Germany for many years. Thanks to its modular structure, it already covers a large number of business processes in the HR area, with numerous in-house developments supplementing the range of functions.

As support for this system is only provided by the software manufacturer until 2027, with extended service until 2030, it was clear to those responsible that a major HR/IT transformation was imminent in the foreseeable future. And that it is better to tackle this change at an early stage. Experience has shown that such a further development of an established and "grown" HR system is often a multi-year project. It is good if those involved agree on the direction of travel and have already completed the preparatory work.

In order to be able to make a decision to transform the existing system landscape, those responsible at Rodenstock decided to bring in external expertise. "When we do something, it has to be future-proof," says Andreas Schmitz, Director IT, Strategy & Digital Transformation at Rodenstock. The choice fell on projekt0708 as an HR/IT service and consulting company that has a wealth of proven expertise in transformation consulting as well as in-depth knowledge of the IT solutions SAP SuccessFactors, SAP ERP HCM, SAP HCM for S/4HANA (H4S4) and SAP Concur.

„Thanks to the detailed offer and the documents from projekt0708, we had a very good idea of the content of the workshops and what results we would get right from the start.”
Andreas Schmitz, Director IT, Strategy & Digital Transformation at Rodenstock

The path leads to the goal: The stages of an HR/IT transformation roadmap

An HR/IT transformation roadmap is a multi-stage, iterative process in which all participants jointly analyze the status quo and develop a target image of the preferred HR/IT architecture and its specific implementation options in line with the corporate and HR strategy.

The premise for the development of the roadmap at Rodenstock was as follows: The roadmap should provide a perspective over the next four to five years. The results initially only apply to the branches and subsidiaries in Germany, but can also be applied globally in the long term. As Rodenstock pursues a company-wide SAP strategy, the system and solution analysis focused on the Walldorf-based company's product portfolio.

The format for developing the HR/IT roadmap was joint workshops with all stakeholders relevant to the project from Rodenstock and projekt0708. The structured process was rounded off with specific interviews with key individuals and know-how providers. In phase 1, all participants defined the guidelines for the project with the so-called "Guiding Principles" and analyzed the status quo as part of an as-is analysis. In phase 2, various solution scenarios were developed and their implementation designed. This was followed by an evaluation of these options.

The purpose of the HR/IT transformation roadmap is to define an optimal alignment of the HR systems in relation to current and future requirements and framework conditions. The results of the roadmap serve as a decision-making basis for the future transformation, which can then be implemented in a clearer and more targeted manner.

Phase 1: Where are we now? Where do we want to go?

„Regardless of the actual roadmap, it is already helpful to take stock. Going through all the processes once and seeing where you stand is a value in itself.”
Sebastian Rieche, Head of Corporate HR at Rodenstock
„The various workshops were really good for thinking comprehensively about potential improvements to our HR processes. Particular attention was paid to ensuring that we remain flexible in the future and do not obstruct any opportunities.”
Sebastian Rieche, Head of Corporate HR at Rodenstock

Important premises and framework conditions form the "guard rails" of the future roadmap in the form of the Guiding Principles. On this basis, the technical requirements and wishes for a future solution are then discussed and collected along the employee lifecycle. It is important to always maintain a comprehensive perspective on the HR organization, processes and technologies as well as their interactions.

Following these procedures leads to the right solutions.

For the area of HR systems and technologies, the workshop focused on the medium-term mapping of all processes using SAP systems in order to ensure the optimal interaction of all components. Instead of the previous on-premise-based approach, there should be a stronger focus on the cloud. A central HR platform should offer an improved user experience on all (mobile) end devices without system interruptions. In addition, the future solution should be more scalable and open to future changes.

The following applies to the budget / TCO area: New resources should be used in a considered manner and with maximum efficiency. Existing resources and investments should continue to be used wherever possible. Proven but future-proof solutions are preferable to more innovative but riskier ones.

With regard to HR processes, a strong focus was placed on the use of self-services by employees. For good user-friendliness and high efficiency, processes should therefore be highly standardized and designed on a global level. This should also ensure the consistency of decisions and their conformity with compliance rules. At the same time, processes should be designed in such a way that they are open to change and innovative approaches.

Proven procedures, such as best practice examples from projekt0708, should be used for process design.

As soon as the guidelines are in place, all processes and the employee lifecycle have been examined and any conflicting goals have been resolved, the question of possible transformation goals can be answered.

This is done by defining target scenarios. It became clear that the only options for Rodenstock in the SAP environment in the medium term were the on-premise-based successor solution SAP ERP HCM for S/4HANA (H4S4) or a hybrid system landscape consisting of H4S4 and selected components of the SAP SuccessFactors HXM suite in the sense of a "core hybrid".

Phase 2: From the development of target scenarios to a factual basis for decision-making

Like the first phase, the second phase also consisted of joint workshops. The aim here was to get to know and work out specific target scenarios for the HR/IT infrastructure and processes using system demos. The specific advantages and disadvantages in relation to the Guiding Principles were compared in an evaluation matrix. In addition, each scenario was given a roadmap for organizational and time-related implementation.

In the specific case, these were different scenarios that included, for example, the exclusive use of H4S4, but also various forms of hybrid approaches in conjunction with SAP SuccessFactors. The use of SAP Build Work Zone and SAP SuccessFactors Work Zone as the future digital workplace for employees at Rodenstock was also examined.

The result and added value for those responsible at Rodenstock from the HR/IT transformation roadmap is not only to know the various possible scenarios and their specific advantages and disadvantages, but also to know how to implement them and what time frame to plan for them.

This provides a fact-based basis for decision-making so that you can act quickly and purposefully at time X. Because even if the HR/IT transformation roadmap has made it clear that the current SAP ERP HCM on-premise can continue to run for a few more years, it is just as clear that a transformation must have taken place by 2030 at the very latest.

„As a result, we have a roadmap that allows us to continue working with the existing systems without the need for major investments. But we can also see how we can build on this and then move forward.”
Andreas Schmitz, Director IT, Strategy & Digital Transformation at Rodenstock
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