SAP and IBM are just the ticket for the Toronto Transit Commission

The Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) more than 15,000 employees can now access personalized HR experiences through a self-service portal, MyTTC, after the launch of the organization’s transformed internal payroll, finance, and HR processes.

Built using SAP SuccessFactors AskHR software running on SAP Hybris C4C platform, with SAP Knowledge Central by MindTouch serving as a knowledge repository, the portal digitizes HR service delivery to let managers and employees look up human resources and payroll information, view and update personal information, initiate leave requests, review and approve requests, run reports, and more. SAP S/4HANA was deployed to digitize financial planning, core accounting, financial close, and what-if analysis, and SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting and Onboarding will enable sourcing, engaging and hiring of the best talent by adding intelligence to every step of the processes.

TTC CIO Dan Guna said that the new systems are one step on the TTC’s roadmap to modernize and get away from legacy systems and manual processes. It wasn’t easy – some employees had been using the old processes for years – but he had good support from the business and guidance from partners SAP Canada and IBM Canada.

“We had some false starts,” he admitted. “But if everyone understands the problem, they can find a lot of innovative solutions. It’s everybody’s part, not just SAP and IBM. We have to share accountability and risk.”

The team focused process by process, trying to understand how problems could be addressed in SAP. Not everything could, so alternatives had to be found.

“Getting the design right up front is important in any transformation,” said Dave McCann, Canadian public sector leader, IBM Services. “One of the most important factors is partnership.” The strong partnership between IBM and SAP, combined with the TTC staff’s intimate business knowledge and guiding vision, were key success factors.

The TTC was able to do a greenfield implementation of SAP and standardize based on the City of Toronto’s policies, noted Lance Bialas, director of the SAP Canada Ideation Centre. The biggest win for SAP was “continued momentum and building off the strength of the use of SAP technology at the City of Toronto and expanding that to the TTC,” he said. “It helps build shared skillsets across the GTA.”

Adoption, said Guna, has been strong. “If you don’t have the support of the business, no matter how good the technology, you will fail,” he said. In the first month, 11,000 people signed in to the portal, which he found particularly impressive given that many were long-tenured employees who were used to doing things the same way over many years.

One big lesson he learned, Guna said, was that if he were starting over, as soon as a SAP product was identified as the solution to a problem, the first thing he’d do is train people on it.


“Because,” he pointed out, “the more they know, the better decisions they can make.” With over 300 people on the project, if decisions are delayed, costs go up.

Furthermore, he explained, while SAP and IBM provide guidance on what makes sense through their experience with other businesses and industry best practices, every business has a unique way of operating. So, he said, it’s important to create an accountable team including both vendors and the business if you want to get that synergy with the solution provider.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner has been interpreting tech for businesses for over 20 years and has worked in the industry as well as writing about it, giving her a unique perspective into the issues companies face. She has both IT credentials and a business degree.

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