Published on 10-Sep-2009
Validated on 01 Oct 2012
"We have had a lot of experience of working with IBM Global Business Services, so we were completely confident in the competence and SAP know-how of its consultants." - Thomas Frimmersdorf, Project Manager, Kyocera Mita Europe
Database Management, IT/infrastructure, Enterprise Resource Planning, Optimizing IT, Optimizing IT
IBM Business Partner:
Kyocera Mita is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kyocera Corporation. Ranked 491st among the Business Week most valuable Global 1200 companies, Kyocera Corporation is a leading manufacturer of high-tech ceramics, electronic components, solar cells, and electronic office equipment. Kyocera Mita specializes in the distribution of document imaging devices and its European division employs 1,050 people.
With plans to roll out a standardized ERP environment to all its European subsidiaries, document solution company Kyocera Mita Europe wanted to ensure that its SAP application landscape was up to date, and capable of multi-language support.
IBM Global Business Services helped Kyocera Mita Europe plan and execute an upgrade to SAP ERP 6.0 and IBM DB2 9.1, using the Combined Upgrade and Unicode Conversion (CU&UC) methodology. To avoid business disruption, IBM helped the company run both the new and the old environments in parallel.
Excellent IBM project management helped to unite stakeholders and complete project on schedule and within budget. Unicode conversion enables multi-language support for the pan-European rollout. DB2 Deep Compression reduces storage needs and cuts hosting costs.
Kyocera Mita is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kyocera Corporation. Ranked 491st among the Business Week most valuable Global 1200 companies, Kyocera Corporation is a leading manufacturer of high-tech ceramics, electronic components, solar cells, and electronic office equipment. Kyocera Mita specializes in the distribution of document imaging devices – including network-ready digital multifunction copiers, laser printers, color copiers/printers, digital laser facsimiles, wide format imaging devices and network management and print solutions – and its European division employs 1,050 people at offices in 15 European countries.
Several years ago, Kyocera Mita Europe (KME) implemented SAP R/3® 4.7 as its ERP platform, working with IBM Global Business Services to create a template that would provide functionalities for financial accounting, controlling, sales and distribution, materials management, logistics execution and customer service. The solution was piloted in Germany, and then rolled out to head office in the Netherlands and sales offices in the UK, France and Italy.
Working with infrastructure specialists
“We are a document solution company, not a computer services company, so we decided to find a hosting provider to manage the infrastructure for the SAP environment,” says Thomas Frimmersdorf, Project Manager at KME. “We chose a third-party hosting company – leaving us free to concentrate on higher-level IT tasks.”
The hosting provider runs KME’s SAP applications and IBM DB2 databases on a pair of IBM Power Systems servers (model p5-550), running the IBM AIX operating system. Each machine contains four 64-bit IBM POWER5 processors and 64 GB of memory – providing a stable, reliable platform that guarantees high levels of uptime and excellent performance.
The company uses IBM Tivoli Monitoring software to manage the operating system and applications centrally, helping to identify and resolve bottlenecks and work proactively to ensure high availability for KME’s SAP landscape.
Preparing for pan-European ERP
With the SAP environment successfully deployed in five of the company’s European offices, the next stage was to prepare for the pan-European rollout.
“Before continuing the rollout, we realized that it would be wise to perform a technical upgrade of our SAP applications and DB2 database,” comments Thomas Frimmersdorf. “This would bring us into line with the IBM and SAP upgrade cycles, and would enable us to introduce the Unicode standard – which would put us in a good position for future international development.”
Performing the upgrade would be a complex project. In addition to the usual constraints on budget and scheduling, a very large number of stakeholders were involved: the fifteen European offices, Kyocera Mita’s global headquarters in Japan, and a number of key partners. In fact, to avoid disruption to one of these partners, KME needed to keep running its existing SAP R/3 system in parallel with the new SAP ERP 6.0 implementation for several months.
An expert partnership
“It was crucial for the project to run smoothly and be completed on time, and we wanted support from an expert partner,” says Thomas Frimmersdorf. “We have had a lot of experience of working with IBM Global Business Services, and we were completely confident in the competence and SAP know-how of its consultants.”
IBM Global Business Services worked closely with the KME internal team to plan, manage and execute the project. The first four months were spent developing the technical approach, creating a schedule and allocating resources. To avoid complications, the team decided to limit the project to a technical upgrade, rather than trying to integrate new functions or business processes.
The second phase of the project was the implementation itself, which lasted five months. IBM Global Business Services undertook the necessary development and customization work, and performed comprehensive testing to ensure the stability of the new environment.
DB2 and Deep Compression
The team decided to use the SAP Combined Upgrade and Unicode Conversion (CU&UC) methodology, using DB2 9.1 as a target database for the migration. By restructuring and de-duplicating the existing data, and activating the new DB2 Deep Compression feature, the company was able to reduce the size of the database by 40 percent – despite the increased size of the Unicode codepage.
“Since we pay our hosting partner for the amount of storage that we use, the DB2 Deep Compression feature makes a direct contribution to reducing our operational expenditure,” explains Thomas Frimmersdorf. “Moreover, we have experienced a considerable improvement in performance, which has resolved some issues we were having with response times.”
Average response times, which had previously ranged between 1,000 and 2,000 milliseconds, have been reduced to around 750 milliseconds – an improvement of up to 67.5 per cent.
After the new system was put into production, IBM helped KME perform a ‘dress rehearsal’ of the cut-over from the old system to the new, and finally executed the cut-over, leaving the SAP ERP 6.0 environment as the main production system.
“IBM Global Business Services’ technical know-how has helped us to manage the parallel use of two systems without any problems, and the consulting services that IBM provided were a key part of the project’s success,” comments Thomas Frimmersdorf. “The IBM consultants did an excellent job of helping to manage the project and unite the many stakeholders to focus on a common goal – enabling us to complete the project on time and on budget.”
With the new SAP ERP and DB2 environment in place, KME is ready to continue the pan-European rollout, which promises to deliver considerable benefits in terms of business process standardization and increased transparency. With a single ERP template in each country, the company will gain a more detailed insight into the operations of its individual business units, and will be better able to coordinate its sales effort across Europe.
Products and services used
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