Distribev Orbico is currently a leading distributor of beverages in Poland. The company was established in 2015 through the acquisition of a distribution business carved out from the Żywiec Group. In 2017, the company carried out the implementation of SAP ERP on SAP HANA and the SAP PI integration platform with the support SNP (then BCC).
During the implementation project, the Orbico Group decided to move the SAP environments of its companies to a private cloud – SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. This decision was the beginning of a new stage of cooperation with SNP in the field of support for SAP transformation to the cloud, as well as support for the maintenance of SAP systems in SAP HEC.
Transformation to the cloud
The scope of migration covered the entire landscape of SAP systems in Distribev Orbico – SAP ERP, SAP PI, along with test and development systems. We started the migration process by establishing a connection between the previously used hardware and software platform and SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, via SAP HANA Cloud Connector.
Then, having the communication channel configured, we proceeded to generate the export of the system as a flat file. The duration of the operation depended, of course, on the size of each system. However, we managed to reduce it by placing the source systems on very fast media. The system prepared in this way was then sent to SAP HEC, using the aforementioned software.
After the successful migration of the systems to SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, the process of parametrizing the systems and adjusting the environment to the customer’s business processes and needs began. Additionally, Distribev Orbico had already decided to implement SAP Process Integration (SAP PI), which significantly increased the scope of work to be done.
As a result of trilateral cooperation between Distribev Orbico, SNP and SAP, in August 2017, SAP systems were transferred to SAP HEC. Together with SNP, the company continued implementation work, which ended with a successful go-live in January 2018. At the same time, Distribev Orbico started using SNP services of system maintenance support.
Infrastructure is not everything
Public clouds offer one of the varieties of cloud solutions, the so-called Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). They offer a technical infrastructure prepared in terms of efficiency and compliance with the SAP manufacturer’s requirements. Leading public clouds, such as AWS (Amazon Web Services) or Azure, have also prepared and certified their infrastructure in SAP.
That’s a lot. But at the same time – not everything. After all, in business, it is not the availability of a virtual machine (which is most often guaranteed by public clouds) that matters, but users’ access to a working, efficient SAP system compliant with expected parameters. This means that if the virtual machine is visible to the customer, but the system itself is unavailable to users in the company, then there is no problem for the public cloud provider and it should be solved by the customer and their administrators.
And this is where – between the cloud provider and its customer – there is a place for SNP as an administrator of SAP systems in the cloud, who takes over the effort and responsibility for maintaining appropriate system availability parameters.
Key division of responsibilities
As part of the system migration project to HEC, Distribev Orbico specified in detail the rules of cooperation with SAP as an HEC provider – and SNP specialists acted as comprehensive advisers in this area. SAP precisely defines the scope of its responsibilities in the Production Cloud – Roles & Responsibilities document. Detailed understanding of the division of responsibilities was a key element in agreeing trilateral cooperation between the customer with HEC and SNP Poland with HEC on behalf of the customer. It is worth noting that SAP offers several different support options, from providing only cloud services to full administration of cloud-based environments.
In the case of Distribev Orbico, the scope of services rendered by SAP as an SAP HEC provider includes the following elements:
- Managing the physical layer of a computing infrastructure
- Network infrastructure management
- Guaranteeing VM resource adequacy
- Management of operating systems
- Management of backup & recovery systems
- Management of shared resources
- Database management
- Installation of SAP systems
- OS and DB updating
- Generating EWA reports
- Transport system management
- SAP system management at the 000 client level
- Handling of customer requests
The responsibilities defined in this way do not fully cover the scope of work required to maintain the SAP environment efficiently and with no failures. Therefore, Distribev Orbico decided to supplement the services offered by SAP with services provided by SNP Poland. The scope of SNP services includes:
- Monitoring of SAP systems
- Configuration of SAP systems
- Analysis of EWA reports sent
- Analysis of SAP system performance
- Management of OS, DB and SAP updates
- Performance of any administrative tasks for HEC
The last two points in particular were crucial for Distribev Orbico, as each change to be made in the systems by SAP must be initiated by the customer, and in this case by SNP Poland on behalf of Distribev Orbico. SNP experts, who have many years of experience in SAP system administration, are able to accurately diagnose problems, make necessary corrections, and in a situation where tasks from the scope of responsibilities of SAP are needed to be done, report to the cloud provider the necessary steps to be performed, not the problem itself. As a result, this model of cooperation greatly reduces the time needed to handle problems in their entirety.
Trilateral cooperation in practice
Providing assistance in managing systems located in SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, we were put in a slightly different role than before. As a team of BASIS specialists, we usually fully administer SAP environments or provide support services for the customer’s administrators.
In cooperation with Distribev Orbico, we often take on the role of our customer – entrusting tasks to SAP teams responsible for HEC cloud services. In order to accelerate work on solving problems, we do not just forward them from the customer to SAP, but we perform an initial problem identification, precisely define tasks to be performed and, if necessary, pass them to the cloud team. This approach to cooperation between Distribev Orbico, SAP and SNP Poland resulted in the customer’s satisfaction with the quality of services provided by SAP and SNP Poland.
Unfortunately, the communication between the customer, SAP and SNP Poland cannot be carried out in one channel, since it is not dual. That is why we decided on a scenario that is the most convenient from the customer’s point of view. Distribev Orbico reports all problems and changes to the SNP service system – SNP Service Desk. There, the defined problems are assigned to appropriate SNP Poland teams. If there is a need to request SAP to perform some work, we are obliged to create a service request in the HEC Service Request, an SAP portal dedicated to HEC. Ultimately, the customer receives only information on the status of work on the problem and does not have to review full, often technical communication between SAP and SNP Poland.
SAP application management in the package
The scope of permanent cooperation between Distribev Orbico and SNP is complemented with a contract for application management, i.e. support for SAP users. This service has been provided since April 2018. SNP service specialists support Distribev Orbico employees remotely in their daily work with SAP in the areas of finance and controlling, materials management, sales and distribution.
Since SAP user support and SAP administration services are rendered by a single provider, there is a single point of contact for all SAP system requests. In this way, Distribev Orbico avoids problems related to various scopes of responsibilities of many different providers.
SAP in the cloud plus quality from SNP
The benefits of maintaining systems in the cloud are undeniable. However, we must take into account the fact that we may not receive what many of us expect from large cloud service providers – a customized, tailor-made package of administration and support services. Therefore, during the implementation on the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud platform, we decided to use comprehensive SNP support. This proved to be a very good solution, both during the implementation of the system and on a permanent basis – in its daily maintenance. The scope of SNP support is wide – from technical system administration to SAP user support, i.e. application management. As a result, we do not have to wonder who to report what issues to. We have a single point of contact – Service Desk in SNP, where consultants assign service requests to appropriate specialists, and if necessary, contact SAP. We have optimized the costs of maintaining SAP systems while preserving the appropriate quality of support and administration services.
Distribev Orbico is a nationwide distributor of beer, spirits, wine, beverages and other food products. It is a member of the Orbico Group, the largest distributor in Europe based in Croatia, currently operating on 20 markets. It cooperates with domestic and world leaders of the beverage market, such as: the Żywiec Group (a strategic partner), Kompania Piwowarska, Brown Forman, CEDC, Diageo, Stock Polska and Wyborowa Pernod Ricard Polska. It has the largest beverage distribution network in Poland, consisting of 35 logistic warehouses and 13 cross docks located throughout Poland.