To help enterprises prepare for the age of digital business, CIC enables them to build standardized, integrated workflows on SAP solutions. How could CIC cut time-to-value for SAP deployments?
The company launched new SAP S/4HANA offerings, using IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications to increase agility, cut provision time for new environments, and cut administration effort and costs.
25% fasterprovisioning for new SAP S/4HANA environments
Up to 20%reduction in helpdesk workloads thanks to AI capabilities from IBM
Elasticscalability enables CIC to drive rapid, cost-effective business growth
Business challenge story
Targeting a shorter time to market
Across the Middle East and Africa (MEA), disruptive start-ups and multinational enterprises are harnessing digital channels to offer responsive, high-quality customer services. To compete effectively, an increasing number of established enterprises in the region are aiming to transform their operations and prepare for digital business.
Since 2002, Certified IT Consultants (CIC) has helped enterprises in the MEA region build integrated, streamlined digital workflows using SAP business solutions. By replacing multiple separate information systems with centralized, best-practice SAP ERP implementations, CIC empowers businesses to improve operational efficiency, gain deeper analytics insights and offer data-driven services to their customers.
Hesham ElGanainy, Co-Chairman and CEO, Certified IT Consultants – CIC, explains: “Our clients span a broad range of industries, including manufacturing, construction, automotive and oil and gas. When we engage with a new client, our goal is to offer them a fast route to transformation with minimal business disruption. For that reason, we are always looking for innovative ways to accelerate our SAP ERP deployments.”
In the past, CIC primarily used to offer on-premises infrastructure to provision and manage SAP environments for its clients. As well as lengthening the deployment process, this approach introduced the significant cost and complexity of procuring, configuring and maintaining the underlying compute, storage and networking infrastructure for the SAP applications.
“Many of our clients are targeting fast-paced business growth, but scaling out our on-premises environment required long lead times and complex planning,” ElGanainy continues.
“As the cloud model reached maturity, we saw an opportunity to solve these challenges by migrating to a new, enterprise-class platform. We looked for a partner that could offer us the performance, availability and scalability we needed to enhance our offering, grow our business and reinforce our market-leading position.”
Embracing the IBM Cloud
To make its vision for cloud services a reality, CIC selected IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications. Based on the IBM Cloud, the new solution enables businesses to replace the cost and complexity of on-premises environments with predictable, managed costs and resources for SAP workloads. Additionally, CIC now offers clients SAP S/4HANA® and SAP BW/4HANA solutions hosted on IBM Cloud.
ElGanainy recalls: “Because we were already using IBM solutions in other parts of our organization, we knew that we could count on IBM to deliver high-quality services and responsive support. Crucially, we see IBM as a clear leader in the enterprise cloud space, and we felt confident that the service level agreements the platform could offer would meet the standards of security, availability, reliability and scalability that our clients require.”
He adds: “In fact, many of our clients who were initially reluctant to migrate their mission-critical SAP applications to the cloud were immediately reassured when they learned that the IBM Cloud would form the basis of our new offering, because of its excellent global reputation as an enterprise class cloud services provider. IBM’s strong regional presence was also a positive for clients.
“A cloud provider with local offices and support staff was vastly preferable. And because it is a fully managed service, backed by one of the world’s leading cloud technology companies, IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications also gives us peace of mind that our clients’ data is in safe hands.”
Today, CIC can provision and scale out SAP ERP, SAP S/4HANA and SAP BW/4HANA environments faster than ever, and with high availability capabilities that extend from the level of virtual machines right up to the application level, CIC can now spend less time on repetitive management tasks and more time delivering value-added services.
“When we need to provision an SAP S/4HANA or SAP BW/4HANA environment for a new client, we simply select the required service level, and IBM Cloud handles the rest,” says ElGanainy. “Our service level agreements with IBM mean that we can focus on our work with clients, and let the infrastructure fade into the background. The IBM offering ranges from 99.5 to 99.9 percent availability, which is a far higher level than we could previously achieve on-premises or via co‑location platforms.”
It was more than the excellent hosting SLAs of the IBM Cloud that attracted CIC to Managed SAP Applications. By selecting the IBM Cloud, CIC can provide its clients with cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies based on IBM AI solutions.
“Whenever we propose that one of our clients migrates to the IBM Cloud, we tell them about more than just the greater scalability, reliability, availability and security it can offer them,” ElGanainy continues. “For example, in the real estate, construction and facilities management industries, there is a strong trend towards using virtual assistants to interact with current and potential clients. These assistants can represent a major time-saving, as they enable companies to operate a lean customer support team while maintaining excellent service. IBM AI technologies hosted in the IBM Cloud provide an excellent platform for clients to develop their own virtual assistants.”
He continues: “IBM’s reputation as a leading cloud provider and strong presence in the MEA region made it straightforward to convince our first clients to migrate their SAP environments from on-premises data center to the cloud. As more of our clients learn about the benefits of the cloud, we’re building up substantial momentum behind the migration effort. Even one of our clients that is partly owned by a government organization has made the move, which is a testament to how confident our clients feel with a global brand like IBM behind our business.”
Continuous innovation to drive efficiency
By enabling its clients to deploy SAP solutions in the IBM Cloud, CIC is achieving its goal of offering a shorter time to market—helping enterprises across the region gain the benefit of their investments faster.
“Thanks to IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications, we can provision new SAP S/4HANA environments up to 25 percent faster,” explains ElGanainy. “Once one of our clients is up and running in the cloud, scaling out their SAP environments is also extremely straightforward. Rather than going through weeks of procurement processes, we simply request the resources we need, and IBM makes them available within hours. Without a doubt, IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications makes it far easier for us to offer responsive services to our clients.”
CIC is empowering its clients to innovate with the broad range of solutions that the IBM Cloud offers, and is exploring the benefits that machine learning and blockchain initiatives could provide. ElGanainy says: “One of the enterprises we work with has used IBM AI technology to create a virtual assistant to deliver first-line helpdesk support. By answering frequently-asked questions without human involvement, the client avoids the need for a large helpdesk team to support its users—avoiding a 20 percent increase in support team headcount.”
Building on its success with IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications, CIC continues to explore the capabilities of the IBM Cloud. To research solutions that could unlock additional benefits for its clients, CIC has created CIC Garage, based on the principles of the IBM Garage. CIC Garage focuses on developing machine learning products hosted on the IBM Cloud that will complement its clients’ existing SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA solutions and provide deeper insight into their business data.
Hesham ElGanainy concludes: “We have always been proud to be an innovator, and the IBM Cloud is enabling us to continue that tradition by enhancing our offering with new services. With IBM Services for Managed SAP Applications at the heart of our business, we can help clients across the MEA region achieve digital transformation faster and more cost-effectively than ever.”
About Certified IT Consultants
Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, Certified IT Consultants is the first local SAP Implementation Partner in the middle east, with offices in UAE, Egypt and KSA. Founded in 2002, CIC has grown rapidly, building its reputation on business and technical expertise to quickly become many clients’ chosen partner for SAP implementation and related consulting.
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