itelligence AG helps customers to react in real-time

In-memory processing improves business management

Published on 05-Nov-2012

"Thanks to our IBM Systems solution for SAP HANA on IBM System x, we can offer our customers the high-performance and highly available service they need to meet their business goals." - Dr. Luke Winckelmann, Lead SAP HANA Expert and Customer Service Manager, itelligence AG

Customer:
itelligence AG

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Business Resiliency, Energy Efficiency, Enterprise Resource Planning, High Availability , Small & Medium Business, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server

IBM Business Partner:
SAP

Overview

itelligence is a full-service SAP solution provider, headquartered in Bielefeld, Germany. The company serves customers across all industries and offers a comprehensive service portfolio, including business process reengineering, SAP consulting, SAP application hosting, complete SAP solution outsourcing and IT security consulting. With offices in 21 countries, in North America, Asia, Western and Eastern Europe, and more than 2,500 highly qualified people, itelligence achieved revenues of €342.4 million in 2011.

Business need:
IBM and SAP Business Partner itelligence frequently receives requests to create solutions to analyze huge quantities of customer data, delivering actionable information at high speed.

Solution:
itelligence recommends and deploys the IBM® Systems solution for SAP HANA, which increases performance of common financial and business warehouse reports on average by more than 90 percent.

Benefits:
Super-fast availability of sales, inventory and financial data based on real-time analytics helps itelligence clients to maximize their margins, improve stock turns and enhance business performance. Complex planning was accelerated by 66 percent, reducing planning time from 35 to only 12 hours.

Case Study

To read a German version of this case study, click here.

itelligence is a full-service SAP solution provider, headquartered in Bielefeld, Germany. The company serves customers across all industries and offers a comprehensive service portfolio, including business process reengineering, SAP consulting, SAP application hosting, complete SAP solution outsourcing and IT security consulting. With offices in 21 countries, in North America, Asia, Western and Eastern Europe, and more than 2,500 highly qualified people, itelligence achieved revenues of €342.4 million in 2011.

The company operates ten datacenters in Europe, the US and Asia, with a 24/7 three-shift operation and the highest security and availability standards. SAP recognized itelligence as its number one global IT outsourcing and cloud services provider in 2012.

itelligence runs multiple IBM Systems solutions for SAP HANA in various sizes and configurations at its datacenters, with several solutions being used in production and many for customer “test drives.”

For the test drives, which enable customers to experience the benefits of the SAP HANA application, itelligence offers four principal scenarios: SAP HANA for SAP ERP reporting; SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse on SAP HANA database; SAP HANA technology platform for custom applications; and SAP HANA as the accelerator for profitability analysis, planning and consolidation, sales and operations planning, dynamic cash management, trade promotion management, strategic workforce planning and smart meter analytics.

“Looking at recent developments in IT and the increase in processing power, moving to in-memory technology is an efficient way to overcome the bottleneck caused by I/O operations in traditional architectures,” explains Dr. Luke Winckelmann, Lead SAP HANA Expert and Customer Service Manager at itelligence AG. “One of the big advantages of the IBM platform for SAP HANA is the very powerful and effective IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS™) software. This enables advanced scalability – exactly what we need for the customers with the most demanding business requirements.”

IBM Systems solutions for SAP HANA are built around IBM System x® 3950 X5 and IBM System x3690 X5 servers, featuring innovative IBM eX5 enterprise technology and top-of-the-line Intel Xeon E7 processors, delivering outstanding performance and scalability for mission-critical computing challenges. These servers are workload-optimized systems, providing high computing performance, enormous memory capacities and all the requisite storage resources. IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS) supports high data throughput and low latency – ensuring that all SAP HANA data is backed up and protected against system failures, even in advanced scale-out configurations with a large number of servers.

SAP HANA for retail customers

For example, itelligence recently implemented three IBM Systems solutions for SAP HANA in a scale-out configuration for Eldorado, a leading consumer electronics and household appliance retailer in Russia.

Employing approximately 16,000 people, Eldorado operates almost 650 stores. Following an outsourcing agreement, itelligence operates Eldorado’s SAP solutions in its data centers in Germany.

Rapid business growth prompted Eldorado to explore SAP HANA solutions. The most effective marketing campaigns may lead to higher demand than planned, presenting the business risk of out-of-stock positions and lost sales. To avoid over- or under-stocking, Eldorado wanted to get real-time insight into sales data, which would allow stock levels to be adjusted and goods distributed to meet sales demand more accurately.

With huge volumes of data to analyze, broad-brush analysis was not sufficient. However, the essential detailed data at the Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) level on some 9,000 items in 370 shops and four warehouses could not be analyzed in a timely fashion.

Eldorado engaged itelligence to solve the challenge of analyzing sales data fast enough to optimize its inventory and logistics processes. Working together with Eldorado, the itelligence team deployed SAP HANA to power Eldorado’s SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse and SAP Merchandise and Assortment Planning applications. The SAP HANA solution runs at an itelligence high-availability datacenter, and replaced an Oracle database.

The import of 2.33 TB of data from the existing Oracle database to SAP HANA was completed in just 16 hours. The migration was conducted using the standard approach of a heterogeneous system copy. Thanks to the advanced compression features integrated into SAP HANA, the new database size was just 535 GB, a saving of 77 percent.

The SAP Merchandise and Assortment Planning application supports all 370 shops and four warehouses on the IBM Systems solution for SAP HANA. This SAP application enables the retailer to take a holistic, shopper-focused approach to the merchandising lifecycle. The retail planning solution is designed around industry best practices and brings together comprehensive, real-time performance metrics with powerful planning and simulation functions. Tailoring local assortments based on regional shopper preferences enables the retailer to optimize its inventory levels efficiently.

The SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse and the SAP Merchandise and Assortment Planning application are connected to a comprehensive SAP for Retail application landscape, as well as SAP ERP, SAP ERP Human Capital Management, SAP Supplier Relationship Management and SAP Extended Warehouse Management, alongside the SAP Point-of-Sale Data Management mobile solution.

Based on the hugely successful results of the SAP HANA solution, itelligence also plans to move the remaining Eldorado SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse applications to SAP HANA.

Fabricio Granja, project leader of the SAP NetWeaver BW implementation at Eldorado, says: “With the IBM Systems solution for SAP HANA, Eldorado is able to tune its marketing campaigns and product pricing in real-time, enhancing profitability and maximizing sales revenue in ways that were simply not possible before. The service from itelligence combined with the performance and capabilities of the IBM Systems solution for SAP HANA make a direct contribution to Eldorado’s business success.”

Real-time insights into sales performance

The new SAP HANA solution with in-memory processing and database compression improves performance of the ten most requested reports on average by more than 90 percent. This result was achieved with a ten-dimensional 300 GB data cube migrated to SAP HANA from an Oracle database. The SAP HANA architecture is considerably easier to manage, because data warehouse administrators no longer need to spend time defining and managing data aggregates.

The complex assortment planning was accelerated by approximately 66 percent, reducing planning time from 35 to only 12 hours.

Most importantly, the IBM Systems solution for SAP HANA increases Eldorado’s ability to respond quickly to changing market conditions. Real-time access to sales data allows the company to adjust marketing campaigns, such as discount offers and promotional packs, by analyzing response, helping to avoiding both over-stock and out-of-stock situations, and maximize margins and revenues.

Supporting all kinds of SAP systems and solutions

Alongside the SAP HANA solutions, itelligence hosts SAP solutions for more than 350 customers with more than 80,000 users, and provides SAP application management services for some 700 customers with around 50,000 users.

For Eldorado, itelligence runs the core SAP solutions (SAP ERP, SAP NetWeaver BW, SAP NetWeaver PI, SAP CRM, SAP SRM, SAP ERP HCM, SAP EWM, SAP BusinessObjects) on IBM Power Systems servers with 64 POWER processors and 1.5 TB main memory. This offers Eldorado a total of more than 200,000 SAPS to support 60 SAP instances and more than 100 TB of databases on an an IBM Metro Mirror SAN solution. In addition to the Power Systems platform, itelligence runs Intel-based IBM System x servers for VMware-based virtualized systems with an overall computing power of more than 210,000 SAPS.

An SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse Accelerator – based on IBM BladeCenter® HS22 blade servers – improves important SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse processes. This integrated IBM infrastructure contributes significantly to itelligence’s Green IT strategy, which is designed to cut waste and increase IT efficiency by reducing floor space, energy consumption and cooling needs.

“We run the IBM Power platform with IBM AIX® and Intel-based servers with VMware as our platforms of choice for highest service level requirements,” explains Dr. Luke Winckelmann. “We are operating 280 virtualized SAP instances on IBM Power Systems compared to currently 770 virtualized SAP Systems on VMware in our data centers, which ensures we can offer our customers the optimal environment for their important business applications. To ensure high availability of business-critical workloads, we selected IBM PowerHA® for AIX and VMWare HA and Site Recovery manager for the Intel platform.

“These high availability and virtualization platforms provide all the flexibility we need to operate customer systems efficiently,” concludes Dr. Luke Winckelmann. “Sometimes customer requirements change quickly. By using our virtualization technologies we can provide additional systems with the required capacity within only a few days.

“Thanks to our IBM Systems solution for SAP HANA on IBM System x, we can offer our customers the high-performance and highly available service they need to meet their business goals.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
BladeCenter, BladeCenter HS22, System x, System x: System x running hypervisor - VMware, System x: System x3650 M3, System x: System x3690 X5, System x: System x3950 X5

Software:
DB2 for AIX, General Parallel File System for AIX, AIX, PowerHA for AIX

Operating system:
AIX

Service:
IBM-SAP Alliance

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