Improving Business Growth and Bringing Innovation by Moving to Azure


Improving Business Growth and Bringing Innovation by Moving to Azure



An American premium food bakery realizing a business growth of 10% every year needed to strengthen its IT infrastructure that could support rapid growth and changes. As a first step, the company decided to move SAP S/4HANA and other SAP applications on Microsoft Azure. Their IT team teamed up with MSRcosmos to establish a high-availability environment using SUSE Pacemaker Clusters and Azure Site Recovery. The outcome— a unified platform with instant scaling with better uptime that helps analyze data faster for decision making and operate much smoothly.

Driving innovation and change

The company started with a humble setting in 2007 with only 5 people in a backyard, that sold biscuits such as cookies, creams, crackers to local retail consumers. Over the years the company earned a name in the premium bakery segment. As business flourished, they included other bakery products in savory and sweet categories like bread, buns, and cakes. They now cater to a loyal following in 26 states.

In their initial days, the company largely depended on disparate technology tools to meet operational requirements. They lacked the right resources to build a fully functional tool within a short span that could accelerate ideas to the concept at a fast pace to benefit the business. Most of their finances were directed to procure raw materials for production. The decision-makers were unsure if their existing manpower could create the required infrastructure, and shield from investing.

The requirement changed when the company started to show exponential production growth. With expanding production, operational visibility was reduced. The company had to make some serious decisions to achieve operational effectiveness. “The need was to integrate IT systems, and after contemplating a lot we decided moving to the cloud would be the best solution, as this would provide a streamlined platform for both the front-end applications and back-end systems,” said Chief Information Officer.

Consolidation of technologies 

The company evaluated several ERP systems and then decided to embrace SAP S/4HANA, as they wanted to run its ERP on a single global instance. Next, they needed a cloud platform best suited for its SAP environment. MSRcosmos, the company’s solution partner aided them in decision-making. Microsoft Azure was a clear winner for its pay-as-you-go cost structure, agility, and ease of interoperation with the company’s existing infrastructure. Also, the company was already using Windows and Office applications, so opting for Microsoft made sense.

Azure addressed their modern business objectives such as building true disaster recovery capabilities, supporting SAP analytics without impacting production servers, and improving productivity. “Choosing Microsoft Azure for the workload was definitely the right choice, as it helped us make an impactful business transformation not just limited to technology,” says the IT head.

MSRcosmos set out to deploy SAP S/4HANA, SAP Process Orchestration, SAP Document Service, SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC), and SAP Business Object Data Services on Azure. Within 7 months, MSRcosmos finished the SAP implementation. They then moved on to migrate all the non-SAP workloads and applications from on-premises facilities to Azure.

High availability and real-time reporting

The company was clear from the start in its digital transformation goal of 1) high availability, 2) fast, efficient disaster recovery, and 3) access to real-time operational analytics directly from SAP S/4HANA. To fulfill this goal, they needed a market expert that could support the company’s vision. The company consulted and chose MSRcosmos for their expertise — a Microsoft Gold partner with SAP on Azure advanced specialization.

MSRcosmos worked in collaboration with the client’s IT team and implemented SAP S/4HANA on Azure using active-active, high availability configurations. To maintain service availability during failure the team used SUSE Pacemaker Clusters and fencing API.

The active-active used for SAP HANA now helps the client easily create live reports directly from S/4 without any performance impact to its production system. Azure Load Balancer helps deliver high availability and strong network performance. MSRcosmos also implemented Azure Site Recovery and HANA System Replication solutions that now deliver best-in-class recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) requirements.

SAP S/4HANA active-active on Azure has boosted availability with near-zero maintenance. With ready access to up-to-date reporting into inventory and production, the business now can respond faster to situations with data-driven decisions.

HANA System Replication and Azure Site Recovery, enables the company to test the reliability and availability of SAP environment on Azure.

Increased business agility

By moving to Azure, the company now can easily spin up the SAP S/4HANA instances it needs without worrying about upfront costs. They now possess the flexibility to maintain its fast pace of business as they can test application performance and scale up or down before committing to a long-term arrangement. By spinning up virtual machines for disaster recovery testing and then removing them after the test, the company saves costs of added hardware. The client now have the agility to scale up as needed and ensure that the infrastructure never becomes a bottleneck.

The digital transformation has certainly made them more nimble and agile. With the deployment of SAP on Azure, they have cleared all IT infrastructure roadblocks.

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Challenges Faced by the Cement Industry 

The cement industry, just like any other industry, is renovating and updating itself with emerging technologies. Cement industries, as they advance their digital transformation journey, look for public cloud alternatives as the private cloud environment delays the opportunity to scale on demand and minimize capital expenditure. The challenges faced by the cement industries include inefficient physical systems, massive energy consumption, struggling with loading and security checks for trucks carrying cement, tracking these trucks, lack of supply chain visibility, deterioration in safety and working conditions, low operational surveillance, inefficiency in the distribution centres, etc. Since, the cement industries in India are already facing a situation of over-capacity, industrial turnover, etc. the major concern remains the possible business downtime that the company will have to face, as well as the high cost involved during the migration.  

In order to deal with these challenges and keep pace with the customer expectations, the company must find the finest cloud implementation solution. 

MSRcosmos with its deep technical expertise on SAP and Azure and cloud-certified tools systematically analyses the company’s existing landscape and designs a tailored, highly available, durable and cost-efficient SAP landscape on Azure. MSRcosmos helps in developing a thorough migration plan for the company, with the help of which they can experience a seamless, minimized downtime while migrating to Azure. 

Business Benefits – 

  • SAP on Azure solutions can help escalate profit and reduce environmental consequences for the cement industry. 
  • Reduces the number of physical servers and increases profit by enhancing operational efficiency. 
  • Provides real time data for analysis with the help of which information related to the item, load weight, vehicles carrying the load, date, time, etc. can be generated. Manually calculating and maintaining all this information can lead to error (caused by human). This can be avoided which further helps the manufacturers in carrying out the work efficiently without having to expect delays and reduces a lot of paper work as well. 
  • Company will be able to complete the migration efficiently and victoriously within a low downtime. They can achieve around 40%-75% Cost savings by moving the existing SAP production infrastructure to Azure from their private cloud environment.  
  • Company will also experience an overall better system performance with reliability on Azure than what was experienced on-premise. 
  • The migration helps in increasing the SAP performance and also creates opportunity to accelerate innovation with Azure data and AI services.

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