How does a high-service distributor of electronics, automation and maintenance products, that ships thousands of packages to its customers every day, manage a smooth data transition to the cloud? Preferably with minimal downtime over the course of a go-live weekend. We present the successful SAP migration project of RS Components which has been carried out in cooperation with the specialists at SNP.
To enable future growth and innovation, the long-established company RS Components (RS) decided to modernize its IT systems and upgrade its SAP environment to the latest generation. The global supplier of products for engineers and technicians intended to realize its plans by moving data to the cloud. After examining several options, the choice fell on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform for the global SAP landscape, which is supported by systems integrator Atos.
Challenge: Minimizing system downtime
In the course of the strategic planning, the individual requirements for the migration project were defined: RS operates as a retail brand of the Electrocomponents Group, which offers more than 500,000 products to around one million existing customers via the Internet . Every day, 50,000 packages are shipped around the clock to destinations all over the world. It was therefore crucial to keep the central systems largely available for ongoing operations despite the transformation.
It quickly became clear that by using the migration approaches initially considered , the downtimes of the systems would have lasted longer than desired, resulting in significant business interruptions and costs. The project managers needed to find a better solution to ensure that the upgrade and migration would be completed within the available business downtime time frame.
Strategic partner selection for project implementation
RS and its system integrator Atos appointed the experts from SNP to migrate the two largest SAP systems to the AWS cloud. After all, the software and IT consulting company headquartered in Heidelberg is known for successfully implementing even the most complex transformation projects as well as offering prompt support. " For us, minimizing downtime was one of the most important success factors. From the very first discussions, it became clear that SNP could help us with this strategic SAP project," says Michael Parkinson, Head of Engineering Core, RS Components. "Traditional approaches did not meet our requirements."
Cloud migration within a near-zero downtime scenario
The project was scheduled to start in January 2020: It was decided that, as the largest systems in the IT environment, SAP ECC and CRM would be migrated to the cloud with the help of SNP.
The migration experts used their in-house transformation platform CrystalBridge including near-zero downtime technology for the large-scale project. The remaining smaller SAP and non-SAP systems were to be updated and migrated by Atos.
Maintenance without impact on ongoing business
In a first step, SNP created an empty target system in the AWS cloud using its own software solution - without application data. In this way, the system was isolated from the data and SNP was able to perform the necessary maintenance on the target system without affecting the operational business. For RS, maintenance activities included an SAP enhancement package and a Unicode conversion.
The automated solution migrated the SAP ECC and CRM data to the target system while the system maintained availability. Triggers set in the source system recorded the changes made by the company during this period. Thus, only a small delta data migration had to be performed during the cut-over.
System downtime of just a few hours
The innovative process ensured a very short system downtime of only a few hours and eliminated risks associated with additional operations such as system upgrades that had already been completed before the cut-over.
The major project was completed within just eight months and with a total downtime of only 7.5 hours for CRM and 10 hours for ERP. The go-live took place over the course of a single weekend. In total, more than 6,000 users were successfully migrated to the cloud.
Advantages of the migration process at a glance
- Fast and low-risk migration to the cloud
- Minimal business disruption with virtually no downtime during cut-over
- Shortened overall project schedule without separate projects and downtime
- Simultaneous upgrade and migration of multiple SAP components
- No escalations or defects
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