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Customer Snapshot: Overview

Caring for >14,000 people in need each year

More than 14,000 people a year, including children, people with physical disabilities, senior citizens, challenged adults, and refugees receive food, shelter, services, training, and more at over 100 facilities coordinated by five charities under Diakonie Michaelshoven’s umbrella. 

Diakonie Michaelshoven e.V.

Customer Website

Line of Business
Asset Management, Finance, Human Resources, Sales, Service

SAP Solutions
SAP BusinessObjects business intelligence (BI) solutions, SAP Lumira, SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, SAP Fiori, SAP Real Estate Management, SAP S/4HANA

Cologne, Germany

Number of Employees

Public Sector


akquinet AG, Rubiccon GmbH

Visionary Themes

Run Simple, Prosperity, Run Live

That level of complexity led their managing director to reach out to SAP to help increase efficiency, decrease overhead, speed up financial management processes, deliver data in real-time, and connect the many pieces of the heterogeneous organization.

Customer Snapshot: History

Helping People Since 1950

Diakonie Michaelshoven was initially founded in 1950 as a home for war orphans. They have grown over the decades to provide social services for people of all ages and stages of life who are in need. Based in the German city of Cologne, Diakonie Michaelshoven employs 2,000 staff members and is supported by more than 400 volunteers. As the holding company for five charitable societies and organizations, they run nursing homes, youth centers, catering facilities, vocational training facilities, and fair-trade stores.

Customer Snapshot: Business Model

Doing More for More People in Need

In general and at their core, the members of this organization are driven by their passion to serve and provide to others. Diakonie Michaelshoven provides a broad range of services through five separate divisions, including educational and vocational support, rehabilitation, and assistance for senior citizens, people with disabilities, children and families, and refugees. They also run a social department store called “fairstore”, which has four locations in Cologne.

Many people rely on Diakonie Michaelshoven.

Customer Snapshot: Success Strategy

Planning Ahead to Help More People Over Time

The company aims to be the place where people find a home and the support they need to live a self-determined life. In order to do this, Diakonie Micaelshoven is focused on streamlining financial processes and freeing up resources to support their main goal.

Every euro counts when so many people are counting on them.


The Challenge

Updating Structures and Business Practices

This large diversified non-profit organization has a myriad of moving parts including volunteers and employees, donations and expenses, resources and people in need. Managing it all was cumbersome, time-consuming, and prone to error, which tied up financial resources and limited the organization’s outreach capabilities. When Uwe Ufer was appointed managing director at Diakonie Michaelshoven, he made it his personal mission to streamline the organization’s processes, prioritize financial management and administration efficiencies, while continuing to help the many people who rely on their services each day.


While funding stays consistent, needs are increasing.

We had five different solutions for finance alone, which made things more complicated and cumbersome than necessary. In other words, we needed an integrated IT system that would enable us to map out streamlined structures and uniform, optimized processes. – Uwe Ufer, Commercial Director, Diakonie Michaelshoven

Enter SAP

An Unexpected Fit for a Non-Profit Organization

Fortunately, Ufer brought with him a deep understanding of how SAP could transform the financial backbone of an organization. Internally, the initial idea of using an SAP solution seemed extravagant to run a non-profit organization. Some considered SAP solutions to be too costly, too corporate, and too powerful for their needs. After a thorough investigation, the company soon realized that SAP S/4HANA was indeed the ideal solution for their organizational and financial needs, and would pay off in many more benefits to the people they served, as a byproduct of heightened efficiency.

The team acknowledged an additional benefit of implementing SAP: that of being seen as a pioneer for adapting a high-tech, high visibility solution. Being associated with cutting edge technology as a social enterprise is a definite boost to volunteers who take pride in their affiliation and helps the organization’s image in the marketplace.


SAP consultants demonstrated in workshops that SAP HANA would allow us to integrate our financial processes in a single system.– Uwe Ufer, Commercial Director, Diakonie Michaelshoven

The clear choice was SAP.

Enter SAP: The SAP Experience

Collaboration and Connections

The project team took three months to realign their financial operations before making the switch, which ultimately helped them migrate over to the SAP S/4HANA solution. Diakonie Michaelshoven created a customized interface with Connext Vivendi, an application package specifically designed for social services providers, to work in conjunction with SAP S/4HANA. They enlisted Rubiccon GmbH as an implementation partner and Hamburg-based Akquinet AG for hosting the solution.


The result is a lightning-fast system that can access transactional information in milliseconds instead of a full work day. SAP® solutions are used in nearly every area – finance and controlling, reporting, property management, sales, HR, and SAP BusinessObjects™ Planning and Consolidation application helps with planning.

The interactive data analysis brings up key figures on a map showing all 80 locations through SAP Lumira software, while the SAP Fiori® user experience (UX) allows employees to run their own analyses with a personalized and user-friendly experience.

One system could help the organization Run Live.

Better Business


A New High Tech Image

The can-do attitude of the team who made the new system possible is reflected in enhanced employee pride and ownership. The cool new user experience and speedy processing time deliver a big boost as well. As a result of the project and the new software, all stakeholders in the organization can be proud of what they have achieved and what they can contribute.

With processes more automated, the organization is now liberated to focus on what matters most: helping people.

Efficiencies gained save more than just money… they help save people.

More than anything else, though, I’m incredibly proud of my team. Pulling off a project like this in record time has changed our people. I’m seeing more professionalism, more motivation, more innovation – the team has reinvented itself all over again. Their attitude toward our SAP software has completely changed as well. Now they’re happy that we’ve got it. – Uwe Ufer, Commercial Director, Diakonie Michaelshoven

Better Business: Benefits

Freed Up Capital

All of the financial invoices, plans, and reports are now run in real-time with complete visibility into all of the organization’s details, big or small. In less than a year’s time, Diakonie Michaelshoven has already seen administration costs decrease while seeing the billing cycle speed up, resulting in immediate increased cash flow for the organization. The money saved in administration costs has already been directed towards strategic projects such as independent-living apartments and assisted-living arrangements for seniors.


New instant visibility helps Diakonie Michaelshoven to know what resources they have available on short notice – a tremendous benefit and competitive advantage in less predictable situations, such as during the refugee crisis.

Timing is everything.

Better Business: Run Simple

Smarter, Better, Faster

With in-memory technology and localized data storage, the new system can fulfill data requests in about 15 milliseconds. Users can view a map of Cologne, Germany to bring up all 80 locations and with a tap, bring up key data on that location in real-time.


Now the whole organization can Run Live.

A standard report used to take about eight hours to generate. Today, you wouldn’t even have time to grab a cup of coffee before the reports are ready. – Uwe Ufer, Commercial Director, Diakonie Michaelshoven

Journey Ahead

Ready for the Next Steps With SAP

The team is excited to move forward with even more improvements and system upgrades, bringing digital invoicing and digital workflow to all 160 of their locations. They are also planning for a full implementation of the SAP S/4HANA Human Resources solution, and for deployment of the SAP Fiori user experience on tablets that will let maintenance workers post real-time updates while on-the-go.

Achieving such dramatically positive results in a project that seemed daunting at first is a great confidence boost for employees, volunteers and the entire organization. Everyone involved is excited to see where the technology will take them next in their journey to provide aid to as many people in need as possible.

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