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RONNY GILISEN, EUROPESE ITS MANAGER SBHPP
For decades, Sumitomo Bakelite High Performance Plastics (SBHPP) has been producing chemical compounds like resins and glass fibre. To ensure its ERP system is just as performant as its chemicals – without major hardware investments – SBHPP migrated its on-premise AS400 hardware to a shared power hosting platform at the Cegeka data center in Hasselt.
“Our current ERP system was running on decades-old IBM AS400 technology,” says Ronny Gilisen, European ITS manager at SBHPP. “It had done a great job for many, many years, but it could no longer guarantee the 24/7 availability that we required. Moreover, there were fewer and fewer people who knew the system’s ins and outs. Replacing the servers with a new on-premise alternative was economically unviable, as we had solid plans to migrate to the SAP HANA platform – with related hardware.”
As SBHPP had to keep the existing ERP platform up and running for several more years and it could no longer stretch the limits of the servers, they decided to look for an alternative. The choice was an easy one, as Cegeka runs SBHPP’s Windows and Citrix servers at its data center in Hasselt. Moreover, Ronny is an ex-Cegeka employee himself, who had successfully led IBM AS400 upgrade projects in the past. He knew exactly what he wanted: to run the ERP system on Cegeka’s shared power hosting platform in order to ensure absolute peace of mind.
As all three SBHPP sites run different instances of the ERP system, the migration was handled on a site-by-site basis, kicking off in Genk. Each time it was a four-step project, which implied quite a bit of analysis and planning to identify potential conversion difficulties and estimate the time needed. After the preparations, Cegeka first upgraded the outdated IBM hardware to four versions higher. The project team then analyzed all the objects to decide which would need conversion and which could be kept. Only then could Cegeka migrate the ERP system from the AS400 server to its own power platform. Extensive testing helped make sure that everything would run smoothly.
“In the end everything did indeed run smoothly, even though our project management went astray here and there,” Ronny admits. “Cegeka, for their part, were incredibly flexible and always ready to help. That really was one of the keys to the project’s success.”
With the ERP system now running on Cegeka’s power servers, the system performance has improved impressively, as the servers are much more powerful. Moreover, as Cegeka also houses both the iSeries and Citrix servers, data and files such as Excel documents are exchanged at lighting speed. Ronny adds that the model now ensures complete peace of mind while reducing costs: “Although we still have an active role in the management process, we don’t have to worry about server reliability, security, maintenance or updates. Proactive notifications help us prevent issues. And cost-wise, we keep expenditures and operational costs to a minimum, thanks to the predictable monthly pay-as-you-use model. I truly believe that this model is the way forward!”
“We don’t have to worry about server reliability, security, maintenance or updates, and we can keep operational costs low at the same time.”