Migrating SAP to the Cloud for Improved Performance
Established in 1953, Shyam Steel is one of India’s leading steel manufacturers. It has been using SAP as its core enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for over 10 years. The business first migrated from SAP ECC on-premises to SAP ECC on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud in November 2018, upgrading to S/4HANA six months later to improve reporting and leverage new analytics capabilities. “We were already using AWS for some of our applications and found that it was easy to deploy SAP S/4HANA applications on AWS compared to other cloud vendors,” says Prakash Mani Tripathi, general manager of Information Technology at Shyam Steel.
By running SAP on AWS, Shyam Steel has sped up report generation, enabled more granular data access, and automated backups. It benefits from ongoing technical support from AWS and AWS Advanced Consulting Partner PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt Ltd. (PwC), who’s also a managed service provider for SAP and Shyam Steel’s long-term business consultant.
“Because SAP is the heart of our business, it needs to be supported by a highly trusted and reliable cloud provider. We selected AWS based on recommendations from SAP and PwC and the customer references we had received,” Tripathi says. Since migrating, Shyam Steel has reduced its cost of operating SAP on AWS by 25 percent. The monthly savings are due to increased automation, alongside lower cooling and hardware maintenance fees. The on-demand computing model on AWS also enables the business to only pay for servers that are in use.
Because SAP is the heart of our business, it needs to be supported by a highly trusted and reliable cloud provider. We selected AWS based on recommendations from SAP and PwC and the customer references we had received.”
Prakash Mani Tripathi
General Manager of Information Technology,
Reduced Time for Generating Key Reports
Performance was the key driver of Shyam Steel’s migration to SAP S/4HANA on AWS. The business is also using two key SAP modules on AWS: SAP Solution Manager and SAP Process Orchestrate (SAP PO). Management is also able to access a wide range of dynamic reports and dashboards using the SAP Fiori user-friendly interface. And they can retrieve data much faster, too. Previously, for cross-division reports or reports spanning multiple years, managers had to start running reports in the evening before leaving the office. The data would only become available 12 hours later when they arrived to work the following day. Now, they can run long and complex reports in under 3 hours. Plus, data from straightforward short reports are available instantaneously.
The improvement in reporting capabilities extends to other SAP users at Shyam Steel as well. Members of the finance team often had to pull accounting reports from SAP and combine them with data in Microsoft Excel to extract key month-end profit and loss figures. Now, the need to use Excel is eliminated. SAP S/4HANA on AWS offers more granular data access and the potential to combine data in new ways. It’s also well-integrated with third-party applications, such as those used for business intelligence.
“Running reports was a big challenge in our previous system, but now our teams get the data they need in just a few minutes. Everyone’s happy to work with new, high-functioning technology that gives them more options for downloads, dashboards, and even analytics,” says Tripathi.
Optimized Architecture with 25% Cost Savings
After implementing SAP S/4HANA, PwC performed an AWS Well-Architected review to optimize Shyam Steel’s cloud architecture. They were able to incrementally reduce the monthly operating cost of running SAP S/4HANA on AWS, with Shyam Steel now saving 25 percent compared to the cost at launch. Switching from on-demand to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Reserved Instances yielded significant savings, as did right-sizing instance types to closely match target workloads.
Furthermore, the business is also saving time from a reduction in labor required to perform daily backups. These were previously a highly manual practice, with several employees managing dedicated servers and the transfer process to tape. AWS Backing Agent and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) now automate these. Backups are performed according to custom intervals set by Shyam Steel and recommendations in Amazon S3 lifecycle policies.
Altogether, these practices reduce the time spent on backups by 50 percent. For Shyam Steel, the ability to change backup policies and duration at the click of a button is particularly useful, as auditors in the manufacturing industry frequently alter their backup recommendations for compliance.
Robust Security Monitoring and New Analytics Potential
Shyam Steel is also using Amazon CloudWatch and AWS CloudTrail for security and availability monitoring, with engineers receiving alerts if data or security thresholds have been breached. It leverages AWS Lambda to automate the execution of backup policies and AWS Direct Connect to establish a secure network connection to AWS. “The services and features offered within AWS enable us to maintain the security of our SAP system. In the three years since we started using AWS, we haven’t had a single data breach, and this demonstrates how secure our infrastructure is,” says Tripathi.
The suite of AWS services in use has increased automation for Shyam Steel in many ways, including automatic hardware recovery, and starting and stopping servers using AWS Lambda functions. As a result, the IT team is focused on developing analytics capabilities that leverage all the data the company now has at its fingertips. They also continue to deepen their knowledge of AWS and the range of functionality available on the AWS Cloud through online tutorials. “There are many new capabilities to explore all the time, and we look forward to working with AWS further to help us build an infrastructure to support our next phase of data and analytics,” Tripathi concludes.