When the proof of concept for SAP BW powered by SAP HANA on a test system was successful at Sanitas Troesch, it represented the first important step toward running SAP HANA at the Swiss wholesaler and retailer.

If branch managers at Sanitas Troesch want to find out how business with a certain customer is growing and check out some important details, they need to be patient. At the Swiss wholesaler and retailer of kitchen and bathroom fixtures, it takes the system around 20 minutes to determine the total revenue generated by the customer, as well as which field employee is responsible for the account, the sales figures for that employee over the past few months, and how many orders are open. In the SAP HANA-based SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) test system that runs parallel to production operation, however, this information appears on the screen within 34 seconds.

Finding out how much revenue a high-quality faucet, am Alterna bathtub, or a Svizra kitchen generated last fiscal year compared with the year before takes a product manager several minutes. In contrast, the SAP HANA test system churns out the results in just four seconds. It can filter out all the quotations worth more than 50,000 Swiss francs just as fast — 75 times faster than before.

Trial Run for More SAP HANA Projects

“Employees won’t have to wait as long for their results,” says Mirko Wagenhäuser from SAP partner FIS. In his capacity as SAP BW project lead, Wagenhäuser oversaw the test transition to SAP HANA. No one has yet to quantify the efficiency gains that SAP HANA will bring, but one thing is clear: the first important step has been taken toward running SAP HANA at Sanitas Troesch. Even before the start of the proof of concept (POC), Sanitas Troesch CFO Markus Riess described the project as “a trial run for more SAP HANA projects.”

In Wagenhäuser’s opinion, “SAP ERP on SAP HANA would make sense particularly in conjunction with our industry solution FIS/wws.” This would also entail some changes to the company’s business processes.

But first, the Zurich-based midmarket company with 970 employees and annual sales of 576 million Swiss francs (€554 million) wants to jettison 100 or so aggregates in SAP BW, which are currently responsible for the long overnight load time. Aggregates can help improve performance and are a good technical tool for creating reports reasonably fast on a conventional database. “However,” Wagenhäuser explains, “The many and diverse reporting needs cause problems, because the data has to be rolled up into aggregates at night.”

Daniel Schubert, controller at Sanitas Troesch, adds, “The night is hardly long enough to transfer all the daytime transactions to the operational systems.”

This is because new data records are continually being added to the more than 300 million already in existence. New orders and quotations, open orders and quotations, rejected quotations — every change produces a new data record. And the system must be up-to-date every morning. Based on load tests in the test system, FIS reckons that processing will be complete in four hours in the future.

“The flatter structure and fewer data updates help reduce the load time,” says Wagenhäuser. “In addition, improved compression saves space, and read performance is optimized thanks to column storage.”

SAP BW on SAP HANA at Sanitas Troesch: POC and Migration in a Few Months

According to FIS, the POC for SAP BW on SAP HANA at Sanitas Troesch took it just a few weeks, from the detailed planning to the delivery of an SAP BW system on SAP HANA, operated in parallel using production data. To execute the POC, the FIS service subsidiary FIS-ASP provided a suitable SAP HANA server. The Sanitas Troesch business departments were then given five weeks to test the software on the system copy.

The next step is set to commence soon: the migration of SAP BW to SAP HANA.

“In terms of effort, it’s comparable to an SAP BW system upgrade with a bit of housekeeping and some preliminary and follow-up tasks,” explains Wagenhäuser. The go-live for the production system should be completed within a two-week period.

Then, what power user Schubert already experienced in the test phase will become reality — faster reports and better performance. The switch to SAP BW on SAP HANA will undoubtedly mean that Schubert will have to deal with a good number of requests, because he is responsible for the ongoing development of reporting. The new opportunities will prompt a desire in the business departments for more, and more detailed, analyses and also, for example, dashboards that could be built using SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio.

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