The IT leadership team at Dunn-Edwards Corporation, which runs an IT shared services program for both Dunn-Edwards and Nippon Paint Automotive Americas (NPAA), needed to upgrade their hosting environment for SAP. At both Dunn-Edwards, and their sister company NPAA, the SAP ERP solutions were running on non-scalable solutions and on hardware that had reached (or was about to) end-of-life. The first company to migrate was Dunn-Edwards since this included a major upgrade that would shift them from an SAP ECC Oracle version to an SAP ECC Suite on HANA version. They had been hosting their SAP ERP on Oracle at their data center in Phoenix, Arizona since it was originally installed back in the 2000s.
The First Migration
Dunn-Edwards began their transformation journey by choosing between an ERP upgrade to SAP Suite on HANA or moving to SAP’s latest solution, S/4HANA. Because of the amount of customizations on the Oracle version, and to minimize the impact on the business, the team decided to first upgrade to Suite on HANA, and then explore a move to SAP S/4 HANA in subsequent years. Both of these upgrades would require hardware that contains significant amounts of memory (in the terabytes) and this led to discussions on how to best “host.” The team needed to decide on whether to use an on-premise or hosted/cloud solution. Complicating this decision process was having a “newish” data center in Phoenix, AZ that the company had built less than 10 years prior. After reviewing the incumbent hardware provider and several hardware leaders in this space (as well as several cloud offerings), CIO and GVP of Technology Rich Stefani decided to shift the company’s critical IT infrastructure to a public cloud platform. Several factors led to this choice, including: competitive pricing, scalability, disaster recovery, flexibility with partners, and a shifting infrastructure support model.
From there, Stefani and team selected AWS for Dunn-Edwards, with the intention to shift NPAA to AWS at a future date and benefit from both companies leveraging similar technology “stacks” as well as one strategic partner to help manage the solution. While NTT DATA Business Solutions did not perform the upgrade and migration to AWS for this first migration, the team was impressed by NTT DATA Business Solutions throughout their discussions and was strongly considering them as a long-term partner that could assist in overall management of SAP on AWS. Once Dunn-Edwards upgraded and migrated to AWS, and after reviewing several competitor bids, they selected NTT DATA Business Solutions.
One point that Stefani appreciated about NTT DATA Business Solutions was that they recognized that companies leveraging Amazon Web Services were eligible to receive incentives to help support their migration to the cloud. In particular, NTT DATA Business Solutions had indicated from the start that they would pass on all of the cost savings to Dunn-Edwards, not just a portion. Other competing bids that Stefani and team evaluated had either been unaware of those cost saving opportunities or intended to “hold back” significant portions of those funds (upwards to 30%) for themselves. NTT DATA Business Solutions’ transparency and willingness to deliver cost savings combined with their application management services capabilities is what swayed Stefani to select them as their partner.
The Second Migration
The following year, Stefani and team completed an upgrade and migration for NPAA to AWS. NPAA had been hosting their SAP instance with a third-party provider that leveraged a Miami, FL data center; this was despite the fact that NPAA had manufacturing facilities in the Midwest where weather-related events were unusual. This geographical distance caused latency issues and other challenges during weather events like hurricanes. As the multi-year contract term approached completion, the vendor was not willing to be flexible — for example, helping NPAA move to the cloud through a shorter contract renewal duration, especially since nothing was changing — same hardware, same data center and same managed services. Consequently, Stefani and team began looking at other options. Beyond the cost to host and support the solution — which was already high in the industry — the Dunn-Edwards IT management team was not in favor of leaving their system hosted at the data center in Florida. Plus, they were already experiencing success with NTT DATA Business Solutions running on AWS at Dunn-Edwards, so a similar approach made sense.
Like before, Stefani and team sought multiple bids for the project. While they did not require NPAA to select the same partner as Dunn-Edwards, they did require that the partner completing the migration would also provide application management services. NTT DATA Business Solutions called out the AWS incentives which helped them come in very strong in terms of pricing. Competitors again either reduced or “hid” those same incentives in their proposals.
NTT DATA Business Solutions was selected to perform the migration and to then provide application managed services. The project beat time estimates by several weeks and stayed within budget. This success helped avoid another year’s extension to the old contract from the previous vendor. As a result of this second migration, both Dunn-Edwards and NPAA are now running on AWS with NTT DATA Business Solutions providing application management services.
“When it comes to business stability, we made a great decision to partner with NTT DATA Business Solutions and moving to the cloud,” said Rich Stefani, CIO & GVP of Technology at Dunn-Edwards Corporation. “Both SAP instances have been running very well and our business colleagues have been thrilled by the performance and resiliency of our ERP solution.”
Since going live, Stefani received positive feedback from Dunn-Edwards business users, especially in the finance and accounting team after they saw significant improvement in their system performance with the “in memory” SAP HANA solution. As an example, one business report went from taking two minutes to generate down to only a few seconds. The business users love it so much that Stefani expects “the good kind” of trouble asking the business users to support their future move to SAP S/4HANA in the coming years.
On the other hand, NPAA was already using SAP’s Suite on HANA “in memory” version before the migration, so their situation was a little different. In their case, the process of moving to the cloud allowed them to save a significant amount of money in hosting and support, which was a key priority for the CEO. Plus, it has been a very stable solution running in one of the larger AWS regions on the east coast. That location has low latency and removes concerns over hurricane season in Florida.
There have been no major outages for either company since they both went live.