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Crimson Cloud implements Industry’s first S4/HANA on cloud for the Brigade group - Best Cloud Services providers

Crimson Cloud designed and implemented the first S/4 HANA on cloud for the Brigade Group. This was a project that called for skills in sizing, designing high availability solutions, security and cost optimization on the Cloud. Post implementation our Managed Services team monitors and manages the S/4 HANA installation. After Brigade, we have to our credit several other S/4 HANA implementations on Cloud

How Brigade Group became the first real estate company in India to host S/4 HANA on cloud

The deployment marks yet another industry first from Brigade Group that has been at the vanguard of a new technology frontier.

If there’s one word to describe the IT strategy of Brigade Group, ‘bold’ would be it. The real estate developer, known for being avant- garde in its industry, maintains that reputation by being at the forefront of innovation.

It was the first real estate company in the country to implement SAP and Salesforce. Not complacent with merely resting on its laurels, the Rs 1,500 crore real estate company has now hosted S/4 HANA on the cloud. The deployment marks yet another industry first from Brigade Group that has been at the vanguard of a new technology frontier.

Headquartered in Bangalore, Brigade Group is one of India’s leading property developers. The realty developer has a diverse multi-domain portfolio that covers property development, property management services, hospitality and education and their projects extend across several major cities in South India. It holds licenses to build World Trade Centers in five southern cities. It will build its third WTC after Bengaluru and Kochi in Chennai. Since it started operations in 1986, the Group has completed over 150 buildings amounting to over 25 million sq. ft. in residential, including in retail/ commercial/ offices and hospitality sectors.

Getting up to speed

Brigade Group first implemented SAP ECC in 2008 on IBM AIX servers running in their in-house data center. In due course, the company realized the need to obtain real business value by embracing latest generation technology from SAP. In early 2016, Brigade Group decided to migrate to S/4 HANA in order to empower business users with real-time insights.

Back then, they wanted to continue running their existing datacenter. However, the always- scarce IT resources couldn’t support the applications and the datacenter. “Being in a traditional brick and mortar space, training and retention of IT team have been a major challenge, admits Nilesh Patel, Head IT, Brigade Enterprises. He wanted to reduce complexity in his IT environment and leverage new technologies. Patel identified the need for a long- term- solution that would set Brigade Group on a firm footing for the times ahead.

The organization’s IT infrastructure had multiple technologies. “We wanted to consolidate and standardize the technology infrastructure and infuse agility to facilitate business growth. Primarily, we have three software across the organization- SAP which is the technology backbone of our operations, Salesforce which helps us track the customers, sales patterns, customer feedback and analytics about customer behaviour and the third is Sharepoint which connects all the employees across the organization and creates a paperless environment,” he shares.

“SAP S/4 HANA is a new product built entirely on the new in-memory platform, which means that we were looking at a technically different task from traditional upgrade or patch. We performed readiness due diligence, which consumed significant time to arrive at SAP S/4 HANA roadmap,” he says.

The readiness assessment helped them zero in on the conversion approach. The next obstacle was to determine whether on premise or cloud was the best approach. There were pros and cons for either approach.

First mover

Patel wanted to get off the Hamster wheel of hardware refresh every 3-5 years, CapEx, resource and skill dependencies etc. Instead, he wanted to channelize his efforts on the digital world of real-time, faster, smarter, leaner, connected, anytime-anywhere availability. “Brigade has been at the forefront of technology adoption and IT wanted to maintain that competitive edge,” he says.

This is when he turned his sight to AWS. The AWS team worked with the internal IT team to build the TCO for hosting SAP S/4HANA on AWS. They also helped Brigade Group with the roadmap to migrate their entire datacenter to AWS over the period of next 1 to 2 years.

The team also worked closely with the SAP implementation partner to showcase how AWS can compliment SAP implementation and help them be more efficient. With the help of the AWS team, Brigade Group has now migrated SAP ECC on IBM DB2 AIX to SAP S/4HANA on AWS.

“We first migrated the current SAP ERP system to AWS cloud. The migration was done using Sandbox to overcome the technical execution challenges. Next, the migration activities were performed in Development and Quality. Based on the business user acceptance in the Quality system, then next huddle was cut-over to Production, Patel elaborates.

In doing so Patel wanted to obviate the risk of business disruption. “It was critical to reduce the downtime and ensure system availability to the users. In parallel to the migration activity, we scheduled user training on the changes and ways to operate and maintain the new system. We used a lot of VIVID tools to ensure everyone is in sync with progress, issues, challenges and risk,” he states.

Built to last

With this initiative Brigade Group has been able to exploit a well-conceived cloud strategy. The report turnaround time has been slashed by 25 percent. The organization has benefitted from the ease of deployment and management with round the clock support. There is no downtime because cloud delivers an always-available environment that operates at peak efficiency. From the governance perspective, backup and failover policy is seamlessly in place.

The management is enthused that IT has found a long terms solution on a proactive footing. “We are not anxious about the impending GST implementation. Now we won’t have to buy hardware. We just need to take a decision to see what configuration we require for implementation of GST. Going forward, we foresee that there could be a lot of rules and regulations being mandated for the industry the move towards cloud will prepare us on that front,” states Pavitra Shankar – VP, Brigade Group.

Cloud continues to be a game-changer for Brigade Group as it increases business agility, boosts flexibility and improves performance. With the deployment of AWS, the Group will be able to improve high availability of SAP environment by combining Amazon EC2 Auto Recovery and multiple Availability Zones. In the VUCA ( volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) environment, the cloud has provided Brigade Group an advantage that helps them focus on their core business.