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Ophthalmology is a highly specialized area of healthcare and a challenging sector. Creating pharmaceuticals and medical devices requires significant investment, especially for organizations that want to manufacture and sell innovative products internationally. Different countries each have their own rigorous quality standards and certifications, so expanding into new markets increases complexity.
SIFI’s strategy is to grow by establishing or acquiring commercial operations in major European markets and to expand its network of international distributors. We need to meet the challenges of internationalization head-on. For our plans to succeed, every aspect of our business processes must be as sharply focused as possible.
Updating business processes
Up until two years ago, many of our business processes were essentially manual. Staff were often busy performing low-value administrative tasks, with a total of 17 different systems to manage.
In addition, the performance of some of our systems was declining, and the aging hardware was costly to maintain. Our existing applications were also relatively inflexible. For example, they were not able to support multiple languages or currencies. These were significant barriers to international growth.
We wanted to improve our speed and quality of insight to support more meaningful decision making. SIFI leadership also wanted to manage new issues, such as compliance with international industry standards. It was time to look for the best technology and the most experienced partners to assist us in this journey.
Transforming the business
To start the journey, we worked with IBM and IBM Business Partner H.T. High Technology to develop a hybrid cloud environment. This would enable us to retain our on-premises IBM Power Systems servers for specific manufacturing applications and use IBM Cloud bare metal servers for a suite of new SAP S/4HANA solutions. The whole solution was designed to eliminate technical complexity wherever possible.
The SAP S/4HANA applications support multiple languages and currencies, provide enhanced mobile capabilities and deliver very high analytics performance. With the addition of SAP Fiori solutions, we will also be able to provide full mobile application access from phones, tablets and laptops. This will streamline and simplify the user experience and optimize business efficiency.
Thanks to the skills and dedication of the whole project team, we completed the implementation in just eight months. SIFI was one of the first companies in Italy to deploy SAP S/4HANA, which made us even prouder of all our efforts.
Looking to a scalable future
With the hybrid cloud environment, we have established a consolidated, low-administration IT landscape. SIFI has optimized business processes with the latest SAP S/4HANA applications and replaced manual workflows with integrated digital processes.
The integrated information flows help us to optimize planning processes, from raw materials inventory to manufacturing efficiency and product delivery. It gives us greater insight into future orders, current stock and production capacity. As a result, SIFI provides customers with more reliable delivery schedules and ensures that pharmacies and hospitals are always fully served with vital medical supplies.
Choosing SAP S/4HANA has helped us to eliminate 17 traditional systems. Further, by selecting IBM Cloud bare metal servers we’ve avoided significant capital expenditure. Our monthly operational costs have been reduced by thousands of euros.
Our teams across all departments have provided enthusiastic feedback on the new deployment. They can now focus on what’s important to them: international business growth and serving new customers.
Freed from worrying about on-premises administration and maintenance, the SIFI IT staff can now devote precious time and resources to performing strategic development activities. Meanwhile, our business managers gain access to near-instant enterprise reporting.
The SAP solution’s rapid reporting capabilities enable executives and managers to access data any time and from anywhere. They can extract valuable insight from our enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and monitor business performance against budget. If any problems are identified, they can act quickly and decisively.
The SAP and IBM solutions have truly paved the way for SIFI’s international expansion. The SAP S/4HANA solutions provide a flexible foundation for meeting the needs of different markets, while the IBM Cloud bare metal servers give us the scalability and capacity to enable new services. Together, they are helping us build a business that will enable physicians and patients across Europe to benefit from our innovative eye health products.
Read the case study for more details.