Zuellig Pharma: greater business agility through SAP from the public cloud

S/4 HANA allows better data analysis for business optimization

Large population growth and a high backlog of demand – the healthcare market in Asia is booming and, according to studies, will overtake the European market in the coming years. Growth challenges the entire pharmaceutical ecosystem – and not just from a business perspective. Because growth also has social dimensions. Access to health services is still difficult.

Zuellig Pharma, one of the leading pharmaceutical service providers in Asia, has recognized the challenge and wants to help shape the future of the healthcare system. The company wants to simplify access to healthcare services for patients, while at the same time optimizing existing business and leveraging innovative business potential.
T-Systems Customer Success Story with Zuellig Pharma

Within nine months the complete SAP® landscape got relocated to Microsoft Azure. Zuellig Pharma now has the biggest SAP HANA® installation on a public cloud in Southeast Asia – with 1 million SAPS and more than 10,000 users. Zuellig Pharma is one of Asia's largest healthcare services group, with a core purpose to make healthcare more accessible in the region. The company serves over 350,000 medical facilities and works with over 1,000 clients, including the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Zuellig Pharma – future business through digitalization

The company generates revenues of around 13 billion euros with services for pharmaceutical companies such as distribution of medical products, cost management, and digital services. With its 13,000 employees, it serves 1,000 business customers – among them the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. 
Zuellig Pharma recognized very early on that consistent digitalization is the lever for future business success. The preliminary final step on the digital evolution path: Zuellig Pharma upgraded its SAP ERP to HANA and migrated the SAP landscape to the public cloud. The result: With 1 million SAPS and 10,000 users, the company now has the largest SAP installation on a public cloud in Southeast Asia.

SAP from the public cloud

“We are enthusiastic about the wealth of possible development paths that are opening up for us,” says Maikel Kuijpers, CIO of Zuellig Pharma, assessing the status achieved. The pharmaceutical logistics provider holds a real treasure of data as a result of its business activities. But so far it has lacked the means to claim this treasure. There are two reasons for this: On the one hand, the efficiency of the existing infrastructure was too low. On the other hand, the classic SAP system was not fit for real-time analyses. 
However, the new cloud-native functions of the modern SAP HANA promised to be able to claim the data treasure and thus to drastically increase the innovative ability of the company. In addition, the leap to HANA held out the prospect of using further innovative services. 
Zuellig Pharma set itself a tight schedule for the transfer of SAP to the public cloud. After a nine-month conception phase – after all, business-critical systems were to be transformed – the SAP systems were migrated to Microsoft's Azure Cloud over two weekends in October 2018. The Business Warehouse, the data heart of IT at Zuellig Pharma, followed last. T-Systems managed the transformation and now operates the systems on the Azure infrastructure.

Improved innovation power through real-time analysis

The data analyses that are now possible open up optimization potential for the existing business, e.g., for the optimization of logistics by matching storage capacities with demand, but also offer pointers for the development of new business models. “We now have the opportunity to explore and evaluate all these possible development paths for ourselves,” says Kuijpers looking ahead. For Zuellig Pharma, innovative software functions coupled with powerful dynamic infrastructure resources are the way to innovative business models. The company is positioned for the future and can sit back and face the boom on the Asian health market with composure.

Social contribution

But for the company it is about more than just future business. It sees cloud migration as a contribution to the development of the entire industry for the benefit of patients: “We have made these investments not only for ourselves, but also to advance the healthcare industry. We want to make the most of every opportunity to improve healthcare for the people in Asia.”
“The move to the public cloud opens up a variety of options for us to develop solutions that will shape the future of the healthcare industry. We are enthusiastic about the wealth of possible development paths that are opening up for us.” Maikel Kuijpers CIO of Zuellig Pharma​​​​​​​

About Zuellig Pharma

  • Zuellig Pharma, headquartered in Singapore, was founded in 1922 and generates revenues of approximately 13 billion US dollars. 
  • The pharmaceutical service provider employs around 13,000 people in 13 Asian countries.
  • The range of services offered includes the distribution of medical products and pharmaceuticals, clinical research, patient care, data analysis, and cost management.
  • The corporate mission of “making healthcare more accessible” underlines the social added value that Zuellig Pharma wants to achieve.
  • In 2017, the company opened its Zuellig Health Solutions Innovation Center in Singapore to develop new services that address pressing challenges in Asian healthcare systems. 
  • Development of new analytical possibilities 
  • Increase the ability to innovate
  • Optimization of the existing business
  • Disruption-free migration and operation of business-critical systems
  • Ambitious schedule
  • Migration of the SAP systems to Microsoft Azure Public Cloud
  • Switch to SAP S/4 HANA
  • Continuous management of the SAP systems by T-Systems
  • Adaptation of IT resources to business needs
  • Expanded capacities for real-time analysis
  • Future-oriented positioning
  • Early identification and exploration of new business areas 
  • Development of solutions for future healthcare challenges
  • Disproportionately high participation in market growth
Information on the company
Zuellig Pharma Case Study