The T-Systems Singapore team began investigating various components in order to prepare the infrastructure migration to the Microsoft Azure Cloud. Through this planning, the full extent of the migration quickly became clear. For example, one of the defined goals was “the highest possible availability of an installation with the capacity of 1 million SAPS.” By comparison, 1 million SAPS equal 20 million order items processed per hour, up from 2,000 items processed before.
The sheer capacity that Zuellig Pharma needed for its daily operations required it to “move digital mountains" — in concrete terms, the data centers had to be configured with particularly powerful cloud components that could support large amounts of transaction data. The largest virtual machines offered by Microsoft were ordered to be able to access tremendous amounts of data more quickly. T-Systems used SAP HANA, with a 40-terabyte in-memory capacity, to make the required information available to the user at the touch of a button.
“Zuellig Pharma understood right from the start how it could accelerate its transformation by moving into the public cloud while still using the same operational technology and applications,” said Arkadiusz Czopor, Managing Director of T-Systems Asia South. “As a result, the company now reaps the benefits of being a first mover and market leader in its sector while reducing its hosting costs by 40 percent.”
However, according to Zuellig CIO Maikel Kujpers, “data must not only be available to us in the shortest possible time, but it must also be meaningful. Too many health organizations are sitting on a gold mine of data and are ambivalent about what to do with it. The valuable and vital information becomes worthless if it is untouched and unanalyzed – keeping us theoretically rich in information but poor in applied knowledge and understanding.”
The key to this is data analysis. With the new SAP system, Zuellig Pharma can now use the faster database to transform its raw data for applications with artificial intelligence (Al) or machine-to-machine (M2M) learning. Zuellig Pharma can now do a much better job of predicting the results for many of its operations, from patient care management to logistics. Upon completing the migration process, Zuellig Pharma gained access to the broader capabilities of the SAP Business Suite on HANA, including the immediate modernization of multiple apps with real-time, data-driven insights.
“We’re a distribution company with data touchpoints that range from products entering and leaving our warehouses to deliveries at pharmacies and to individual customers,” says Kuijpers. “With Azure, we can now grant our pharmaceutical customers access to that data in real time.” Prior to the move to the cloud, these data touchpoints would have been uploaded to company servers overnight and applying analytics would have waited until the next day. “Now, our customers can sign in to our system and, in an instant, they’ve got their real-time sales figures, their inventory balance, and how their sales are tracking toward their end-of-month goals,” continues Kuijpers.
To get there and relocate the existing systems from an SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, T-Systems also had to manage all the potential disruptions that could occur during such a massive migration. Not least for its suppliers, customers and the supply of medicines to hundreds of thousands of patients, Zuellig Pharma’s employees had to rely on the system functioning perfectly throughout the entire region on “Day X.” The system had to be able to handle all of the problems that could occur during such a migration. And that’s precisely what the system did – after nine months of preparation, T-Systems and Zuellig Pharma completed the production changeover in just two weekends.