Typically, applications cannot take into account all of today’s complicated, heterogeneous computing environments; instead, each type of application is designed for a specific computing scenario. Client/server applications like SAP GUI for Windows are created for “fat” PCs connected by local area networks, while Web applications such as the SAP Enterprise Portal often require a compatible browser and access over the Internet. And the latest wireless applications, such as the SAP solutions for mobile business, require wireless access devices and networks with specific capabilities.
Most organizations run variety of applications – mainframe, client/server, Web and even wireless applications – which add complexity to a computing system that already includes a mix of devices and network connections, as well as mobile and remote users. As a result, IT is often forced to deploy, maintain and support applications on a case-by-case basis, using a series of “if…then” tactics. For instance: If you are working in the office, then SAP R/3 is deployed to you using method “A”. If you are working from home, then applications are deployed and supported using method “B”. If you’re connecting over the Web on a browser, then a client/server application is adapted and deployed using still another method, and so on. As these tactics multiply with new applications, devices, connections and employee work scenarios, the burden on IT grows and day-to-day administrative costs rise, detracting from more strategic projects.
SAP customers face decisions about “if … then” access tactics. For instance, does the customer need to support PDAs, wireless access, or synchronization? What is the impact on data compliance? If everyone is supposed to access SAP through the Enterprise Portal, does the Enterprise Portal provide all the functionality that power users need? What are the ramifications on bandwidth?
Driving down TCO – speeding up ROI
Citrix Systems, Inc., provides access infrastructure solutions that can help eliminate the “if…then” approach while reducing the costs of deploying and maintaining applications. The Citrix model centralizes installation, processing, deployment and administration of applications on servers, and makes them accessible to users anywhere, over any network connection, on any device – including older hardware, wireless devices and thin clients. The access infrastructure software also provides instant Web-enablement of legacy applications without recoding, and secures application data travelling across the Internet and other networks. Training and support can be provided remotely from the data center. With this solution, only the servers in the data-center require to have the SAP user interface to be installed.
This centralized application architecture, coupled with security, application conferencing, and password management Citrix solutions, allows the customers to significantly decrease their TCO as it relates to network management, application deployment, desktop hardware requirements and management, helpdesk support, and several other areas. The solution is proven to reduce cost, speed up ROI and increase efficiency when deploying and maintaining the SAP front end (user interface) and other applications. As a result of the rapid application deployment, a customer’s time-to-value is drastically reduced.
Citrix developed an ROI calculator based on Gartner methodology that measures the return on a Citrix access infrastructure investment. The potential TCO savings can be calculated by using the Application Computing Architecture (ACE) Cost Analyzer tool.
Organizations that gain the largest ROI are those with complex IT environments – including manual software deployment across large numbers of users and applications that require frequent upgrades or changes – as well as resource constraints such as limited IT staff.
In addition, Doculabs, an independent technology consulting firm, found that access infrastructure solutions from Citrix reduce the costs associated with deploying and maintaining applications. A large organization can save more than 25 percent in hard costs – that are measurable as a direct result of a decrease in TCO – in the first year following deployment. Organizations such as Delta Airlines, Kindred Healthcare, SAP and Engen realized significant TCO and ROI benefits from deploying SAP applications with Citrix.
Deploying in tight deadline
“Deploying our ERP application on our tight deadline would have been impossible. With Citrix, we not only made our deadline, we also drastically reduced our deployment costs”, said Curtis Robb, CIO, Delta Airlines, Inc. Deployment of SAP GUI was the impetus for Delta Air Lines to implement Citrix software. There were so many users and such a tight timeframe that Citrix was the only viable option. Using Citrix, Delta currently deploys SAP GUI to 12,400 users – faster and more consistently than ever before possible. Because of this reliable and repeatable implementation performance, Delta has made the decision to renew all desktops using Citrix and will maintain SAP GUI on central servers using Citrix as the established standard.
This long-term healthcare provider wanted to streamline application management and give users anywhere, anytime access to information from existing computing devices. With Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server, Kindred has enabled doctors and nurses to access a range of business-critical applications, including SAP, without rewriting code. Since the access infrastructure enables high-end applications to be run on low-end devices, Kindred Healthcare has been able to extend the life of existing IT hardware. In addition, by centralizing applications on a server, Kindred Healthcare can now cost-effectively manage its remote sites and provide these locations with access to all the same key applications and resources.
SAP AG uses Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server software to centrally manage SAP GUI, SAP BW, Microsoft Office, and other applications, and rapidly deploy them to over 30,000 employees around the world. SAP chose Citrix as an improvement over its previous client/server architecture, which required PCs to run applications locally. Bill McDermott, SAP president and CEO, America, confirmed: “Using Citrix, SAP reduced costs by 40 percent. SAP has over 15,000 users in over 120 countries and increased productivity by 35 percent. Citrix has earned trusted advisor status.”
Engen, a major South African automotive fuels and lubricants company, uses Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server to deploy SAP upgrades to users at 100 depots. According to Andries van der Vyver, E-Business Manager at Engen, “The upgrade to SAP R/3 from SAP R/2 could not have been done as quickly without Citrix. It would have taken weeks to roll out the new SAP GUI to all our depots. However, with Citrix it literally took us hours.” The software has reduced Engen’s administrative costs as well. “The support cost for our remote sites is approximately one-third using the Citrix solution, when compared to what it would have cost to maintain and support a user in a normal PC environment.”
Cost, speed and efficiency
Citrix can positively impact both TCO/ROI and the speed and efficiency of application deployment, administration and support through:
- Fast, simple application deployment: Citrix allows server-centric application deployment to be accomplished in a fraction of the time needed to install applications on local desktops for a large as or geographically dispersed user base.
- Predictable deployment: Access to applications, including SAP, that are delivered via Citrix is optimized at between 10-25 kilobits per second, allowing IT to better manage and budget for their network needs, providing users with predicable performance.
- Centralized administration: Centralization substantially reduces the costs associated with application maintenance, training and support.
- Application stability and availability: Custom-developed applications typically have intermittent problems due to varying desktop configurations. Centralized deployment makes applications more stable – and available to users – since there is only one environment to test.
- Reduced staffing requirements: Even when applications and users increase, staffing costs can remain low because a Citrix solution enables current staff to support the growing enterprise from the data center.
- Desktop management: Management of high-end workstations and the applications that run on them was difficult and costly. With Citrix, application processing takes place on the server, and the desktop simply is used to view and interact with the application interface. This model allows “fat” clients to be replaced with inexpensive thin devices or delay expensive desktop upgrades.