For an organization that seems to push artistry and entertainment risk ever higher, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group aims to reduce risk and expense, and boost business, innovation, and integration via RISE with SAP.

Cirque’s upgrade to its existing SAP ECC 6.0 environment will include SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP Ariba, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Concur, and the umbrella SAP Business Technology Platform. This month, Montreal-based Cirque embarks on its upgrade projects while resuming permanent stage and touring productions worldwide, concluding a 20-month, pandemic-related shutdown.

SAP Customer Since 2001

“Cirque has a cloud mindset,” said Elodie Bonniard, SAP Platform Team Lead with Cirque Du Soleil. Bonniard added that the upgrade extends the Cirque-SAP partnership, which has been going strong for over 20 years. The upgrade will shift her organization away from being transaction based, aiming for operations that are more automated, analytics-driven, and integrated.

Bonniard said that Cirque will move ahead with migration now, with the global “relaunch of shows in the next few months…because we want to be ready for growth. We’re doing this transformation for the business; this is not an IT initiative.”

“Embracing an intelligent enterprise strategy will simplify our business and support the organization’s global growth strategy,” said Philippe Lalumière, VP of Information Technology of the Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, in a statement to accompany the announcement. “Having the ability to quickly pivot, scale, and create new, engaging fan experiences has never been more important given the impact the global pandemic has had on the entertainment industry. RISE with SAP and SAP S/4HANA will help power our ability to deliver on these goals.”

Persuasive Business Case

Bonniard said that working with SAP to understand the comprehensive services and capabilities offered with RISE and Business Technology Platform helped Cirque create a persuasive business case, as well as organized project plans for business and board leadership. That case included projections of reduced IT system and operational risks, in addition to reduced expenses. She said that the original 18-month project plan has been consolidated to 12 months, further reducing costs.

Among the many projected advances envisioned with RISE, the entertainment company’s IT and business management department said it plans to gain:

  • More timely reports, with increased analytics to understand and manage capacity
  • Improved automation, including timely revenue recognition linked to sales
  • Accelerated and improved talent and general employee onboarding processes
  • Merchandise logistics improvements

While Cirque is eager to see near-term “ramping revenue and new employee onboarding” improvements through its latest SAP initiatives, Bonniard said that her team is already considering additional work with SAP Analytics Cloud, the Asset Intelligence Network, and additional BTP integration activities. The company will also explore SAP Signavio to further improve business processes.