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First Cloud, Later S/4

Interview: SAP and Azure is not only worthwhile for large companies The decision to migrate SAP systems to the cloud can be based on various drivers. In joint discussions, Hars and Hagebauer and PTS defined the framework parameters and roadmap for a successful path to the cloud.
E-3 Magazine
19 January 2021
Interview: Inconsistent data simply costs money
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This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

A necessary system upgrade at Hars and Hagebauer was taken as an opportunity to review the current provision and operation. In the joint analysis, the diverse added value in the area of optimizing the operating concept with high flexibility and cost-saving potential within a new IaaS model led to the decision to move to the Azure Cloud. The project was scheduled for spring 2020 and included an EHP upgrade in addition to the cloud migration. In the E-3 interview, Philip Fischer from Hars und Hagebauer provides further details.

What challenges have you had to face during the Covid-19 pandemic and what effects do you still see for your business?

Philip Fischer: Although fresh fruit and vegetables are only suitable for hoarding to a limited extent, demand for citrus fruit and apples in particular increased significantly in March and April. Ensuring the supply of goods required a high level of commitment from all employees. At the same time, we had to manage the careful and extensive testing of all functionalities of our SAP system as part of the upgrade to EHP8. We were also confronted with quarantine periods for people returning from vacation. This meant that some of the tasks had to be carried out from home. Fortunately, the necessary technical requirements were available. The migration to the cloud went smoothly.

First cloud, later s/4

The relationship between you and the PTS Group goes back many years. Had you already thought about the cloud before the PTS initiative?

Fishermen: The more fundamental decision to move to the cloud was to no longer operate our SAP system on our own servers, but to relocate it to the PTS Group data center. We had already made this decision many years ago. With regard to SAP on Azure, we followed the recommendations of PTS as our long-standing partner. We found it advantageous to be able to book and use additional hardware resources at short notice for a certain period of time. This was particularly helpful during the test phase of the project and enabled us to significantly reduce the downtime of the production system during the upgrade. Compared to previous release upgrades, the restrictions on customer order processing, which was also required at weekends, were minimal.

What would you say to other SAP users who are still reluctant to migrate to the cloud?

Fishermen: Anyone who has already made the decision not to operate their ERP systems on their own servers but to move them to external data centers should not shy away from migrating to the cloud. The decisive factors are the available resources and reliability. Our experience during the migration and ongoing operation in the first few months has been positive.

With your locations in Hamburg and Berlin, you have comparatively few SAP users. What is the added value of SAP systems in the cloud?

Fishermen: One objective for the coming years is to expand digitalization. On the one hand, this concerns data exchange with important customers via EDI, but also access to data from our suppliers about the goods delivered to us using blockchain technology. We are also aiming to digitalize processes in the area of batch management.

As part of the migration project, the current ECC 6.0 was prepared for an S/4 migration with the EHP upgrade. Why was an S/4 migration not yet an option for you?

Fishermen: Even in the past, we were never among the first users to switch to the latest release. We have done well with this approach so far and therefore saw no reason to migrate to S/4 Hana this year. We were encouraged in our decision by PTS, who were unable to advise us to migrate to S/4 at the moment, both at a process level and for cost-benefit reasons.

Looking back on the course of the project: What would you recommend to other SAP users?

Fishermen: In retrospect, it proved to be a good idea to combine the migration to the cloud with the EHP upgrade. This meant that the considerable testing effort was only required once. It has also been shown that sufficient time should be reserved for testing the new environment, including all connected systems and hardware. When planning the migration and upgrade process, the downtime of the productive system can be minimized through the targeted use of additional hardware resources.

Thank you for the interview.

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Working on the SAP basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. 

This gives the Competence Center strategic importance for existing SAP customers. Regardless of the S/4 Hana operating model, topics such as Automation, Monitoring, Security, Application Lifecycle Management and Data Management the basis for S/4 operations.

For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024

Venue

Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT

Venue

Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
69115 Heidelberg

Event date

28 and 29 February 2024

Tickets

Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT
The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house B4Bmedia.net AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.