Over 100 years ago, Deichmann was a small shoemaker’s shop in Essen-Borbeck. Today, the company is a prospering global corporation that is active in 30 countries. Digitisation helps companies with administration. A successful digitalisation project at Deichmann SE: the introduction of the contract management software otris contract.
Keeping an overview
“With over 4,200 shops in Germany and abroad, we have to be well structured in accounting to keep everything in view,” says Ines Padovan, who works in International Accounting at Deichmann SE. An important task of her department is to monitor the company’s contractual relationships within the framework of a functioning ICS (Internal Control System).
Deichmann SE stores contracts with suppliers for merchandise – i.e. shoes, socks or T-shirts – in a system that is linked to the central ERP software. A uniform solution was sought for all other contractual relationships, from consultancy contracts to IT licence agreements. A team led by Ines Padovan therefore initiated an IT project together with colleagues from the legal department. The goal was to digitalise and standardise contract management throughout the company. The plan to use special software was obvious. The main requirements for the system were: central data storage, location-independent access, easy filing and retrieval of contracts/data, automated deadline monitoring, extensive authorisation settings, easy administration.
“With otris we immediately had the feeling that they understood our requirements. This feeling did not deceive us: from the initial meeting to the requirements analysis to the implementation, the cooperation worked excellently,” Ines Padovan sums up.
The system is currently running at the headquarters in Germany. Approximately 180 employees use the software. The departments have access to the contract files released for them. The authorised employees file new contracts and link contract periods on their own responsibility. The system’s uniform structure makes it easy to find filed contracts. More transparency in the contract portfolio makes it easier for staff to obtain information in order to achieve optimal results in contract negotiations. Security is another benefit of the system: otris contract warns the responsible employee of upcoming contract deadlines. A valuable function when it comes to not missing renegotiations or preventing unwanted extensions/expirations of contracts.
Ines Padovan is currently working on rolling out the system internationally. She is creating new users and companies as well as their access rights on her own. Without using in-house IT resources or hiring external consulting. In each country where Deichmann is active, a separate administration is responsible for the national business. The structure with all its companies and corporate units is stored in otris contract and at the same time forms the basis for the rights and roles concept. “The admin functions we need to scale the system are largely self-explanatory. We can create new departments and companies without a lengthy assignment process and make otris contract available to them.”
A well-structured admin area is one thing. Even more important is the usability for the user in the respective department. Ines Padovan tested the usability with a small sample: “In a test, we asked colleagues to create a new contract with otris contract. The colleagues had never worked with the software before and yet had no problems filing and subsequently retrieving a contract document.”
Understanding a customer’s requirement correctly is a basic prerequisite for a solution that meets the customer’s needs. This is far less trivial than it sounds and is the key to success in many software projects. Deichmann SE had concrete ideas of what a group-wide, digital contract management system should look like: easy to use without an excessive range of functions and at the same time scalable as required with little administrative effort. “With otris, we found the project partner we were looking for,” Ines Padovan sums up and adds: “I’m an otris contract fan!”
The Deichmann SE
Deichmann SE operates more than 4,200 shops in 30 countries and employs around 43,000 people worldwide. This makes Deichmann the market leader in the German and European shoe trade. The traditional company from Essen has been family-owned since its foundation in 1913.