The transition of major petrol station and convenience retailer EG Group to RISE with SAP S/4HANA Private Cloud establishes a unified SAP digital core platform that will help scale its dynamic business operations and empower the company to stay agile and responsive to the needs of consumers today.
SAP’s third-quarter financial results revealed that an increasing number of organisations around the world recognise its technologies and capabilities as critical in their digital transformation journeys. RISE with SAP, the company’s Business Transformation as a Service (BTaaS) offering, has been attracting subscriptions from customers across various sectors, including those in the large segment, this year. Large enterprises that have already embraced the solution include UK-based global automotive distribution business Inchcape plc and more recently, EG Group — a world leader in fuel forecourt convenience retailing with more than 6,000 locations in countries including the UK, US, the Netherlands, France, Italy, and Australia.
Backed by private equity firm TDR Capital and billionaire brothers Zuber and Mohsin Issa, the company has grown steadily through partnerships with a diversified portfolio of international brand partners and a series of strategic acquisitions. In 2018, EG Group spent A$1.725 billion (USD 1.2 billion) to acquire Woolworths Group Ltd’s 540-site network of fuel and convenience stores in Australia, marking the company’s first expansion outside of Europe and the US.
Following a massive growth in recent years, the British retailer accumulated multiple disparate enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems across several countries, each with its own version and template. To help overcome the difficulties in obtaining real-time data and visibility that are crucial in the organisation’s decision-making, EG Group turned to SAP to improve its technical and operational management operations.
Pleased to collaborate with the SAP customer in its next stage of growth and transformation, Rohit Nagarajan, President EMEA North at SAP, noted that EG Group’s transition to the cloud with RISE with SAP and S/4HANA will lay the groundwork for the company’s rapid expansion. He further added:
“We believe that with SAP’s technology and experience and EG Group’s commitment to continuous innovation, together we are creating an organisation which fulfils the needs of customers and teams today, whilst setting the foundations for even greater success in the future.”
Leveraging RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, a new SAP digital core platform will help EG Group achieve valuable financial reporting insights into all its processes utilising SAP Group Reporting and SAP Analytics Cloud. The company’s founders and co-CEOs, Zuber and Mohsin Issa, said in a joint statement that they tapped SAP to create “a powerful, cloud-based platform” that will help accelerate transformation, automate business processes, enhance decision-making, and empower teams to succeed.
Meanwhile, according to EG Group CIO Graham Billsborough, the organisation has already reaped benefits from its SAP partnership in various areas including finance, IT, HR, and learning and development. The company uses SAP SuccessFactors to operate its core HR, Workforce Management, and Talent Management functions for around 27,000 staff across Europe, the UK, and Australia.
“By extending the strategic partnership and working even more closely with SAP, the intent is to design and build a more comprehensive technology solution that will be used as a unified global platform. Our ambition is to simplify the current SAP system landscape, through RISE, realising new business capabilities through digital innovation,” Billsborough explained.
Also commenting on the latest collaboration with EG Group, Scott Russell, Member of the Executive Board and Head of the global Customer Success organisation at SAP, shared in an interview with Computer Weekly:
“They are transforming with RISE, but also supported with SuccessFactors in supporting their forecourt sites around the world. It has been about transforming siloed finance and HR systems with a global platform that is then able to give them reach, efficiency, and agility. There is a lot of emphasis on the data that enables them to make fast decisions.”
Aside from implementing RISE with SAP, EG Group will also leverage other offerings such as SAP Retail, SAP Oil & Gas, SAP Best Practices, SAP Work Zone, and SAP Solution Extensions’ capabilities to further drive business transformation. Additionally, the two companies will also be teaming up for the establishment of a Center of Excellence that will look to recruit and train talents from local communities and certify them with SAP accreditation at the end of the training.
Google's SAP on GCP investments may pay off – TechTarget
Tomasz Zajda – Fotolia
Google doesn’t want its cloud platform to be considered the third-best public cloud hyperscaler for SAP S/4HANA workloads.
The multinational tech company in Mountain View, Calif., is making a clear push to market its Google Cloud Platform (GCP), a suite of cloud computing services, as the preferred destination for SAP systems. One of Google’s most significant moves is its considerable investment in data centers that are dedicated to running SAP ERP systems and other SAP applications on GCP, said Snehanshu Shah, managing director of SAP partnerships at Google.
The data centers are located in Frankfurt, Germany, not far from SAP headquarters in Walldorf, and provide three specific functions for SAP on GCP, according to Shah. They are as follows:
“These data centers are all built by Google, they’re all exactly the same, the entire stack is completely vertically integrated,” Shah said. “There’s an enormous amount of security that goes into this and we want to protect customer data, so everything is encrypted in flight. The SAP workloads are in our data centers because we built our own virtual machines to control all of this infrastructure.”
SAP customers want two basic but essential characteristics in their public cloud environment, Shah explained: They need to make sure that their mission-critical systems don’t go down, and they need their systems to be highly scalable.
One thing that has changed dramatically in the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic is the willingness of companies to put mission-critical systems in the public cloud, Shah said.
“For SAP customers, there’s a massive move to public cloud between all the hyperscalers, so you’re no longer the first, you’re the thousandth,” he said.
He believes interest is skyrocketing for a few reasons including resiliency and security.
“Cost and business continuity is one thing that we’re seeing with COVID, the other is security,” he said. “The amount of security resources that any public cloud has dwarfs anything that even a large Fortune 100 company can have, and that’s critical for a lot of SAP customers because at the end of the day its financial data and you do not want anybody tapping into that.”
Rodan + Fields, a skin care company in San Francisco, is one SAP customer that has taken advantage of GCP’s single instance public cloud capabilities.
Rodan + Fields sells its products directly to consumers via its website and through a network of 300,000 consultants. The company has an SAP-based environment that includes SAP ECC and SAP Hybris, according to Steve Dee, Global CIO and CTO at Rodan + Fields. The company initially hosted its SAP systems on a private cloud network but decided to move to GCP two years ago when the private cloud couldn’t handle increasing business demands.
The business has huge spikes at certain times of the year, such as at the end of each month when consultants tend to increase their sales activities, and Dee said they needed to have a public cloud environment that provided stability, security and scalability.
“We rarely go on sale, and when we do, it generates a huge amount of demand,” Dee said. “For example, on Memorial Day we did 10 to 15 times the amount that we’d do on a normal day. So, the ability for us to scale in those spikes is one of the top reasons for being on Google Cloud.”
Rodan + Fields is running its e-commerce sites on SAP Hybris and is using SAP ECC for its back-end business systems but is planning an S/4HANA migration in 2021, Dee said. It will also make the ERP migration easier, as it takes away the need to think about all the infrastructure and application management issues, he said.
“That’s one benefit of the cloud; it takes managing infrastructure from the buy, build out, wire, all your heating, cooling needs — you don’t have to worry about managing a data center, you just have to worry about the functionality,” he said. “As we think about next-generation technologies like S/4HANA, the faster you can get there the better, and it gives you options around machine learning and more automation.”
SAP on GCP may get a leg up on the other cloud hyperscalers because several ex-SAP executives work at Google, said Jon Reed, analyst and co-founder of Diginomica Ltd., an enterprise computing news and analysis site. That roster includes Shah, who spent 11 years at SAP, as well as Rob Enslin, president of Google Cloud sales, who was formerly the president of SAP cloud business group.
“Google Cloud is something of a dark horse [as a public cloud hyperscaler] because of all the SAP cross-pollination within Google Cloud,” Reed said. “There are pros and cons to each different cloud environment, and that’s part of what customers will look at going forward, so Google having so many SAP engineers under the hood, in theory, would provide them with some valuable capabilities.”
Google’s ex-SAP contingent can be a critical difference as SAP wants its customers to see the public cloud as a place to get the most out of S/4HANA’s modern ERP capabilities, he said.
“One thing that SAP has been hammering away about lately is this idea that the hyperscalers can provide the same level of experience and access to innovation, rather than just throwing up your ERP system into the cloud and just letting it sit there,” Reed said.
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Cyclone Computer wins $73.3M of deals as education ministry project costs grow – Reseller News
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Project costs are rising on major ICT initiatives at the Ministry of Education.
The Ministry of Education, in Wellington.
Cyclone Computer led the contracts list at the Ministry of Education in 2021, sealing a renewed $49.8 million device and services deal.
In addition, the reseller scored a $23.5 million finance deal through subsidiary Cyclone Finance.
The device and services deal on its own eclipsed contracts awarded to large construction companies building schools and other facilities nationwide. Extending the decades-long relationship will see Cyclone to continue to supply customised devices to the education sector and a host of associated services.
Cyclone is known to resell HP, Lenovo, Google and Microsoft devices and software among others as well as Aruba wi-fi systems.
The ministry told Reseller News the company was the service provider of the TELA (digital devices for principals and teachers) scheme and also provided end-to-end services including supplier and stock management, service desk, warranty, indemnity repairs and financing.
During the last twelve months Cyclone has changed the financing arrangement for the TELA scheme from TRL Leasing to Cyclone Finance reducing costs, the ministry said.
Cyclone also provided a large number of education-ready devices under the all of government IT hardware agreement to support learning from home as part of the ministry’s COVID-19 response.
Also at the ministry, the bills for a couple of large ICT projects have grown significantly.
One project, called the education resourcing system (ERS), began life with a budget of $17.4 million but has now cost or is estimated to cost $63.9 million.
The ERS will manage approximately $8.4 billion of funding for schools and early learning services each year, replacing a complex thirty-year-old system and around 50 associated systems and data sources.
The ministry said the original estimates for the cost of delivery in 2015 underestimated the scale and complexity of changes to associated systems.
“After establishing the core platform and taking into account policy changes since that estimate was prepared, the remainder of the work was re-estimated,” Scott Evans, Hautū (leader) infrastructure and digital said.
“Subsequently, additional funding was sought. The programme has now been allocated funding sufficient to complete the delivery of a fit-for-purpose solution.
“This programme has not overrun and is forecast to remain within budget.”
The ERS was being implemented through multiple releases aligned to ministry funding cycles and enabling new government policy initiatives.
“Initial elements have been operating successfully since October 2018, with the new system enabling rapid COVID-19 related funding to the sector in 2020 and 2021,” Evans said.
Adoption of the system is above 96 per cent for playgroups while the initial functionality for schools has an adoption rate of more than 99 per cent.
The ERS programme was on schedule for the next three major releases from June 2022 to support the 2023 school year, Evans said. The next release date, for early learning services, is October 2023.
The ministry itself is the systems integrator on the ERS project, which is is primarily based on Microsoft .NET and Azure as well as Oracle Intelligent Adviser. The work is being performed by a mix of permanent and contracted staff, plus a small selection of specialist vendors.
The ministry is also replacing its legacy payroll system, which was introduced in the early 1990s. Expected to go live in the third quarter of 2022, this was budgeted at $5.8 million but will now cost, or is estimated to cost, $7.4 million.
“The expected cost is higher than originally budgeted due to an increase in scope and slightly longer duration to ensure appropriate change readiness and an increase in post go live support,” Evans said.
The replacement payroll system is a module of the SAP Success Factors suite of people products used by the ministry. SAP is the primary vendor and is also providing implementation services supplemented with external contractors.
Another programme will implement Te Rito, a web-based national information repository which connects ākonga and learner information across kura, schools, ngā kohanga reo and early learning services. According to a Parliamentary disclosure, Te Rito was budgeted at $4.5 million but would now cost or was estimated to cost $18.5 million.
However, Evans told Reseller News the project was not over budget and the information filed to Parliament was being updated.
“We have been working closely with kura, schools and early learning services across Aotearoa to prepare them to connect to Te Rito,” he said. “Some have started getting ready, and some are now connected and using Te Rito.”
Te Rito is an online, cloud-based system supplied by Canada-based CoreFour and uses a platform from Massachusetts based education application specialist Edsby.
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