Case Study

Siemens Financial Services extends its 15-year Alfa journey with significant upgrade

Taking another major step forward in a longstanding relationship with Alfa, Siemens Financial Services (SFS) completed a successful upgrade to Alfa Systems v5 - on time and within budget - which is now supporting its pan-European financing operations.
Alfa and Siemens logos


Siemens Financial Services (SFS) empowers customers around the globe to unlock the next era of innovation and sustainable growth. Based on its unique combination of technological expertise and financial know-how, SFS provides a diverse set of financing solutions enabling investments in future-proof technologies in key areas like automation, digitalization, and sustainability.

Already today, SFS is one of the leading players in financing greenfield renewable projects and contributes significantly to decarbonization. SFS’s experienced and diverse team allows it to create customized financing solutions, paving the way for industrial productivity, smart infrastructure, and intelligent mobility, facilitating the energy transition and enabling high-quality healthcare.

Hear from Martin Skitt, CFO, SFS Commercial Finance UK

"Our recent Alfa Systems upgrade saw us build on our 15-year-long relationship with Alfa as a key business partner. Our upgrade from Alfa Systems v4 saw over 100 people, from 15 countries, delivering on a two-year project - on time and to specification. Throughout the process Alfa, as a company but also each and every employee we have worked with, have been highly professional and strived to deliver enormous value to our organization, working alongside our employees.

"Two months after go-live, our experience has been great. Naturally with an implementation of this size there were some bumps in the first few days and weeks, but with Alfa’s support we got through those with minimal disruption. I’m certain that with Alfa at the core of our IT offering we will continue to offer the best possible products and service to our customers, partners, and stakeholders."

Hear from Marc Friedman Morata, SFS IT Project Lead

Marc discusses the upgrade process, reflects on project challenges, and highlights the benefits already being realized.

Marc Friedman Morata profile

How long has SFS been working with Alfa? 

"Our partnership with Alfa goes back to approximately 15 years. We implemented Alfa Systems v4 in our UK, Nordic, and Indian businesses."

What led you to select Alfa and an upgrade to Alfa Systems v5?

"We needed a state-of-the-art solution to address the business, regulatory, and technological changes that our landscape couldn’t cope with. After going through an extensive analysis of the existing solutions, we concluded that Alfa Systems v5, together with the positive experience over the years and industry know-how of the Alfa teams, were the ideal fit for us."

How did you plan and prepare for the upgrade? What was the process? 

"Before starting with the implementation, we performed an internal pre-work analysis of the process and requirements of the different countries where we wanted to implement the new solution. This helped us clearly understand the topics we had to focus on and prioritize with Alfa.

"Once this work was concluded, we followed the approach proposed by Alfa: starting with an Implementation Foundation phase, in which the plan and gaps were defined; followed by a Build phase where the needed developments took place; and finalized with a Model Office testing phase, where the teams simulated their new day-to-day conditions."

Alfa and SFS staff together

Did you require a lot of custom development?

"In general, we adopted v5’s standard modules 'out of the box'. The developments that were needed represented minor deviations that are important for some of our processes. Alfa also accommodated our internal processes, tooling, and documentation demands, as well as our methodology. This flexibility, on both sides, was essential for kickstarting and progressing the project as planned."

Who were the key teams and stakeholders involved in the project?

"This implementation impacted the majority of our functions. Our stakeholders were the heads of the different functional areas, and we ensured they were represented in the project by resources from their teams. In essence, our project organization mirrored the structure of the company."

What challenges were encountered during the upgrade, and how were these overcome?

"Considering what this sort of integral transformation entails, the project ran extremely smoothly. Our key challenges were around backlog and scope management, as well as unexpected requirements coming towards the end of the Build phase. These are typical, and expected in this sort of implementation.

"Luckily, the Alfa team had experience on how to handle unplanned events as they came up. On top of this, Alfa supported us with additional staffing when needed. The way Alfa ramped up and managed its resources was truly effective and impressive. This, in my personal experience, is one of the usual areas where companies of Alfa’s size struggle the most. And it was not the case with Alfa."

Alfa and SFS staff together

How did you ensure the team was adequately trained to use v5?

"As the new landscape was significantly different from our legacy one, we worked from the beginning of the project on ensuring both our project teams and future users were comfortable with the new Alfa Systems v5 solution and ‘to-be’ landscape.

"For that purpose, we held familiarisation sessions carried out by Alfa experts, on-the-job training ramping up future specialists in charge of the system configuration and operations. In addition, shortly before the go-live, we ran in-depth classroom training sessions with end users from all relevant areas.

"These activities were part of our training concept, the main purpose of which was to cover the different knowledge needs we anticipated from the beginning."

What has been the overall feedback from stakeholders and users?

"We have very positive feedback from our teams. The amount of automation achieved, and new functionalities, allow daily activities to be focused on value-adding and not so much on repetitive and manual tasks."

What advice would you give to other companies that are considering moving to Alfa Systems?

"There are many reasons why Alfa is one of the leading companies providing technology for financial services entities. These reasons are sometimes challenged by different company cultures, team preferences, and so on. This should be avoided. In my opinion, that is precisely where Alfa’s key strengths lie.

Alfa and SFS staff together

"One of our project’s internal mottos was to follow, adopt, and adapt our processes to Alfa ways as much as possible. We were clear that the 'we know better' approach would take us nowhere, and at no point wanted Alfa to change their way of working.

"Also, I feel it is particularly critical to ensure collaboration at eye level. For us, we never looked at Alfa as our 'vendor or solution provider', but rather as part of the team and a true partner. The same principle applies to all the different teams - internal and external to Siemens - that collaborated in this transformation.

"Naturally this openness, at times, led to discussions of the different points of view. Ultimately, these discussions were simply essential to the success of the delivery. In addition, typically Alfa’s team is outnumbered by our project resources, and therefore respect and an adequate channeling of direct requests to Alfa experts also played an important role."

How do you see your implementation of Alfa Systems evolving to match SFS needs? 

"Alfa Systems v5 and the upcoming Alfa Systems 6 features are part of our strategic roadmap. Certainly, we will take part in the user group discussions, and grow our features in those areas that are relevant to our needs or bring new opportunities."

"The fact that we had partnered with Alfa for many years, coupled with Alfa’s track record across the industry, made them the ideal partner to perform such a complex upgrade. Alfa teams know the business, and excel in providing technical solutions. Also essential to these critical implementations that are prone to failure or delay, they have a clear approach on how to deliver. They collaborated, guided, and supported Siemens Financial Services experts along the way."