BD’s Move to Azure Cloud Reduces Costs More Than 50%
Moving SAP Software Solutions training environments to the Azure cloud dramatically cut both the refresh times and the costs for BD Medical Supplies.
BD, a medical supplies, devices, and technology company, needed a more agile way to provide SAP training environments for its organization. With long refresh times, it was taking too long to create updated environments ready for training.
With the base cost of $9 million and 12 months to launch, the SAP landscapes were negatively impacting BD’s training programs, according to Andre Elder, Director of IT Security Operations for BD.
Once in Azure, BD saw their refresh times drop dramatically, going from weeks to days.
“We could refresh systems within a weekend and have them stood up in time for Monday morning,” Mr. Elder said.
Where it once took 12 weeks to turn around two platforms, BD was now able to do that in six days, cutting that time by 83%.
But most significantly, BD saw their costs go from $9 million for their on-premises environment, licensing, hardware, infrastructure, and resources to $4 million for the complete Azure project, reducing costs by more than 50%.
“The Brunswick Group gave us access to the right person with the right skill set,” Mr. Elder said. “Their expertise made this project a success.”
After conducting a proof of concept to determine the viability of moving their SAP training environments to Azure, BD saw that they could improve access, control, and scalability with this move. The cloud enabled them to shut down one environment while quickly launching another one without impacting users or training schedules.
Before BD could move forward with the project, they needed to bring in IT resources with both SAP and Azure experience.
The Brunswick Group worked with both the internal BD team and their implementation partner to launch the project. During the project, SAP Azure Solution Engineer Charles Frank lead the team in facilitating their move to Azure, working on a range of tasks to launch and optimize the new Azure environments.
“This was a very ambitious project, not just from a technology standpoint, but also from a process and integration standpoint,” said Hector Saavedra, Manager of Application Services at BD.
“It involved people from finance, distribution, materials, and production planning. We had to get engagement from all of them. Building the environment was just the first step; then we needed to engage all the different groups using the solution,” he added.
Mr. Elder further pointed out that the Brunswick Group team’s level of technical expertise and understanding allowed them to bridge gaps in the initial design and add value throughout the two-year project.
Based on their understanding of Azure, the team was able to decode the encryption on the documentation and rewrite the PowerShell script to make it more efficient.
Mr. Frank also consulted with the implementation partner on the solution architecture, advised the team on risk mitigation strategies, developed new security controls to meet BD’s internal standards, and made recommendations for future optimizations.
As part of his cost savings recommendations, he reallocated storage and backups so that BD could scale down their resources, saving them thousands of dollars a month.
“Charlie is truly a cloud expert,” Mr. Saavedra said. “He put together the different moving parts. It’s what allowed us to be where we are today.”
The Brunswick Group’s Process
In addition to the technical expertise The Brunswick Group brought to the project, they also provided training and documentation support. As this was one of the first SAP projects in Azure, there wasn’t a substantial amount of information available.
As the team’s project manager, Janet Astwood created documentation for each phase of the project, documenting the knowledge from the implementation partner and using it to facilitate training with the internal BD team as well as the end users.
Capturing all the changes during each phase of the project made it easier to track progress and capture all the improvements the team made to scripts, processes, and architecture.
Both Mr. Frank and Ms. Astwood met weekly with the BD team to update them on the progress, share information from the implementation partner, identify issues, and share recommendations for optimizations and improvements.