The Conversion Jungle | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 06.11.2001
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The Conversion Jungle

Small businesses such as the company Dentaurum need to get used to the euro - and are seeking help from computer consultants.


Coming soon....the Euro

Gunter Reinhard is a freelance computer consultant. He has been guiding the small business Dentaurum through the changeover process, and has been responsible for the euro being accepted as a daily currency for some time.

Dentaurum specialises in dental technology, and employs 500 people who make dental implants and braces.

The changeover has cost the company 50,000 euros. Now, in the final phase, the computer team is working on the last details.

Gunter Reinhard asks a member of staff about the status of the afterphase of the euro conversion project. She tells him that it took just under 15 minutes to go through.

Work in the computer nerve centre has to be precise. Consultant Gunter Reinhard began switching over the SAP software eighteen months ago. The euro has been the house currency for the past six months. Dentaurum has been dealing with its customers in euros for a long time.

Gunter Reinhard, computer consultant: "There were a couple of teething troubles with customers. Because we had converted the invoices and sent the bills out in euros, naturally at first, the customers saw just the total, and not the currency symbol behind it."

Hans-Joachim Würth, SAP's euro conversion manager can't breathe freely yet, because not everything is running to plan with all of the customers.

He suggests writing an article for the company's Euroline online page, reminding customers of what they need to check.

With just two months to go, SAP still has to go back to many customers to make sure they're prepared.

Customer care

Hans-Joachim Würth, Euro Conversion Manager, SAP: "'Last call' means that we give the customers a check list. It's the final invitation to go through everything and check things off. When everything has been crossed off, they get the green light, and everything is safe."

The euro specialists steer a company's Euro consultants through the conversion jungle, and check at the same time how well the euro project is working.

Hans-Joachim Würth, Euro Conversion Manager, SAP: "As far as internal conversion goes, we should have completed about 75 percent by the end of the month. We don't just use questionnaires to check this, we also use technical methods. If we're visiting a customer for servicing, we can look into the system and check which currency the customers have configured."

The euro is not a huge money earner for SAP, because software updates are included in the service contracts for all 6,700 customers in the Eurozone. In this campaign, SAP is mainly concerned with customer care.

Meanwhile, back at Dentaurum, staff continue their work, completely unaware of the months of stressful work experienced by the software experts behind the scenes.