Azure over AWS for South Africa’s largest fabric company
The move to the Azure cloud has helped immensely with the addition of new product lines to an already successful fabric business as Hertex outgrew their aging ERP system. Operating from multiple showrooms nationwide, logistics became a nightmare when stock levels couldn’t be monitored accurately in real-time. Because of this the Azure cloud was selected to take their new ERP system online and has resulted in significant CapEx savings. Training of end users to drive adoption has resulted in successful use of cloud technology.
Hertex is the largest fabric company in South Africa. Since it’s humble beginnings in 1987, the company has grown into a décor destination that includes a finely curated homeware collection. They have 16 showrooms nationwide and the move just made sense.
The need to make changes to their ERP system was very clear, Ludwig Hartmann, general manager explains: Previously, we hosted our server infrastructure on-premises at our head office with multiple branches connecting to it. Problematic internet connections, aging hardware and the threat of power outages, resulted in lost revenue.
The Solution to an old ERP system
In April 2017, Crimson Line migrated 260+ users from Novell GroupWise to Office 365. The project was a resounding success as it was coupled with user training to drive adoption. The next phase in updating the data infrastructure was to implement a new ERP system. The ERP implementation vendor had recommended AWS over other solutions. The vendor claimed that since their software had not been tested on Azure, they couldn’t guarantee that it would not cause problems.
Crimson Line has been Hertex’s IT partner since 2010 and motivated to Microsoft that a Proof of Concept be authorized to gain, not only a new client, but also initiate discussions around Azure with the vendor.
“Microsoft Azure held many benefits for us. Because we didn’t have to invest in generators and additional infrastructure. The scalability of Azure means that we only pay for what we need right now”, says Hartmann of the solution. Because in the end it was clear that Microsoft Azure was the right choice to host Hertex’s new financial system.
Therefore it was decided that the old and new ERP systems would run parallel for a period to allow for software development of the new system. Because this would be a new installation it wasn’t possible to use the Azure cost estimator tool to gauge specification perimeters. Thus Crimson Line met the financial system software vendor to determine:
- how many servers the system required;
- what the operating system requirements were; and
- what the licensing requirements were.
Crimson Line, being a Microsoft Network Partner holding various gold and silver competencies, discussed the vendor provided specifications with a local Microsoft technical expert in lieu of the Azure cost estimator. Because of this it was identified that the vendor over specified the system requirements. This meant the number of servers could be reduced from three to two.
Crimson Line set up the servers in a secure hybrid environment and began fine tuning the specifications in accordance with best practice methodologies for databases in Azure. Therefore Azure Backup and Azure Disaster Recovery was included in the installation. Because the new ERP system is running optimally on Microsoft Azure with full deployment planned for the beginning of the new financial year.
- Azure discovery and best practices
- Scope solution with customer and vendor
- Deploy PoC
- Reduce on-premises footprint
Key Customer Benefits over ERP system
- Increased reliability
- Reduced local server footprint
- Reduced IT cost through eliminating server maintenance
- Eliminated capital expenditure