At Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan, business expansion fueled data growth, slowing reporting and eating up time for operations teams. To stay ahead in the market, the company needed faster insights.
Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan revitalized its SAP ERP applications by migrating to SAP HANA, powered by IBM Power Systems servers, bringing speed and enhanced analytics to its business reports.
Up to 85%time saving on reporting
50%cut in storage capacity requirements
25%reduction of physical server footprint
Business challenge story
Systems in need of spring cleaning
Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan Ltd is a market leader in oral and fabric care products, helping to keep smiles bright and clothes clean. Pakistan’s economy is growing fast, up from around $170 billion in 2015 to $275 billion in 2018, creating a vibrant, expanding fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market.
To manage its business processes – particularly sales, finance and distribution – Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan runs SAP ERP applications. As the company grew and transaction volumes increased, the time for producing standard reports started to grow, particularly when extracting and analyzing data. The finance team would regularly have to work late to complete the monthly closing, spending around 12-14 hours generating the required reports.
Added to the challenges, many senior managers travel a great deal, and are out of the office visiting key customers and suppliers personally. Remote system logins were often slow and unreliable, restricting the ability to access key data and issue essential approvals.
Ahmed Rehmani, IT Director at Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan, explains: “At a fundamental level we realized we needed to expand our system throughput and capability. We looked for a strategic solution that would fully support our development, with a partner with the knowledge and experience to make that happen.”
Choosing IBM Power Systems
To enhance transaction and reporting performance, Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan decided to upgrade its SAP ERP application with SAP Enhancement package 8 (SAP EHP) to take advantage of the SAP HANA database. The combination would provide the capacity to manage current and future workload, and provide an enabling platform for enhancements, such as advanced analytics, mobile working and more.
Due to its long experience of running SAP solutions on the IBM Power Systems platform, using IBM POWER7® processors, Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan naturally reviewed IBM POWER8® processor-based servers, which are certified to work with SAP HANA. The key objective was to deploy a platform that could support significant workload growth with the least possible disruption, handling end-of-month peaks as well as business-as-usual.
Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan’s procedures demanded a thorough procurement process to guide the choice of infrastructure platform. With the help of its procurement partner Selling Business Systems (SBS), the company chose IBM Power Systems servers as the right strategic platform for its business-critical SAP ERP applications, deploying one IBM Power Systems E850 server, one IBM Power Systems S824L server and an IBM Power Systems S822L server. SAP ERP, SAP HANA and SAP Business Warehouse software run on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications on the IBM Power Systems E850 server. Backup, test, development and quality assurance instances run on the IBM Power Systems S824L and S822L servers, which also handle business intelligence and analytics tasks that were previously on independent systems.
Ahmed Rehmani explains, “Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan selected IBM Power Systems based on a combination of competitive price, superior value, system performance, reliability and support. As a business operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, we cannot afford even a brief moment of downtime, otherwise our factories could grind to a halt. We need close, expert support at all hours of the day. While many international companies rely on business partners to support customers in Pakistan, IBM provides its own 24/7 support, which is an amazing true differentiator.
“Similarly, we have been powering our systems with IBM servers for 12 years and never had downtime in this period. For example, we have always been able to use IBM products through their full lifespan without signs of failure. These factors mean that the total cost of ownership for such systems is very reasonable.
“Thanks to the IBM Pakistan team, the migration was all on time, and there was very little downtime. We had arranged a 15-20-hour window to install the new hardware, but it only took 10 hours for IBM to set up; and we were able to complete the application and database migrations ahead of schedule.”
Finding first-class storage
To cope with the sharp growth in data volumes, Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan also upgraded its storage with two IBM Storwize® V7000 systems (predecessor to IBM FlashSystem 7200), which enable virtualized hybrid cloud technology without replacing current storage. Certified for SAP HANA Tailored Datacenter Integration (TDI) deployments and an ideal match with IBM Power Systems, IBM Storwize delivers cost-effective all-flash and hybrid storage to help optimize capital and operational expenses, while maximizing efficiency and flexibility for heterogeneous storage systems.
“We chose IBM Storwize V7000 partly because it comes with the user-friendly IBM Spectrum Control dashboard, which assists in centralized management, rapid performance analysis and accurate capacity forecasting,” recalls Ahmed Rehmani. “Furthermore, the in-built IBM Easy Tier function automatically optimizes price-performance for our storage by moving frequently accessed data to faster storage, and infrequently used data to economical storage.
“IBM Storwize V7000 offers compression, which reduces our capacity requirements by 50 percent – helping us cut costs without compromising on performance. And for robust disaster recovery with low bandwidth requirements, we rely on the Global Mirror with Change Volume service from IBM Spectrum Virtualize.”
A fresh start
With the new SAP ERP applications powered by SAP HANA in place, Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan started to exploit the IBM Power System platform’s capabilities.
Monthly reports that previously took up to 14 hours are now completed in 6 hours, a 60 percent improvement, enabling improved business agility with timely information. Performance improvements mean that reports for five-yearly data that took 20 minutes to produce are now delivered in just 3 minutes. In addition, consolidating the company’s additional business intelligence functions to the IBM Power Systems servers has reduced total data-center physical footprint by 25 percent, helping to cut energy consumption and cost, too.
Ahmed Rehmani and the team are busy rolling out the new capabilities within SAP ERP to managers and sales executives, including new SAP Fiori® applications for remote working. The first application includes the ability to authorize purchase orders securely using a mobile phone – an apparently small change that delivers a major productivity enhancement. Similarly, sales managers can now run reports over longer timespans or in greater detail, analyzing histories and patterns in greater depth to help them identify new opportunities.
Ahmed Rehmani elaborates, “The SAP Fiori apps enables managers to conduct business from their phones and tablets while travelling, bringing convenience and saving valuable time. Before, to approve a new purchase order while travelling, executives had to power up their laptop, log into the VPN client and then sign onto the internal system. Now, they receive email notifications about new purchase orders and they can complete the approval on their phone. This has had a trickle-down effect on the business, streamlining the approvals process so everyone can work more productively. The managing director and senior executives been thrilled with the SAP Fiori functionality, and we plan to roll out Fiori apps to employees in other areas of the company.
“We are already considering adding more modules within SAP, and even moving onto SAP S/4HANA further down the line. IBM Power Systems gives us the ability to add this new workload, and deliver the speed and service that our business requires.”
The last word, though, belongs to personal wellbeing – an area close to Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan’s corporate heart: “Our accountants used to have to stay late after work every month to finish the reports. But with IBM Power Systems and SAP ERP powered by SAP HANA, they can finish up at six and go home to their families.”
Colgate-Palmolive (Pakistan) Limited (the Company) is a public listed company operating since 1977, which has its registered office at Lakson Square, Building No. 2, Sarwar Shaheed Road, Karachi, Pakistan. The Company is mainly engaged in the manufacture and sale of detergents, personal care and other related products. It is a market leader in oral care and fabric care
Take the Next Step
To learn more about IBM Power Systems for SAP HANA, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit: ibm.com/power/saphana. Learn more about IBM Storage by visiting: ibm.com/storage.
Selling Business Systems is an IBM Business Partner providing infrastructure services in in Pakistan. To learn more about Selling Business Systems, please visit: www.sbsits.com