SUEZ modernizes and future-proofs SAPHIR, its financial system, for all its subsidiaries on S/4HANA and Azure
Having oXya join forces with the functional integrator as early as the planning phase resulted in a shared migration scenario and a joint project organization, which was a real source of efficiency. With this set-up, the oXya team was able to focus on its own area of expertise to put together, and propose to SUEZ, the technical responses to the challenges of this intense project.
Vincent Teillet, Head of SAP Group Competency Center, SUEZ
To simplify and modernize the aging SAPHIR Finance IS, based on ECC, to deploy it to all subsidiaries worldwide, and in particular to RV France (waste recovery).
To transform the Finance IS by undertaking a major project combining a Brownfield conversion of ECC6 to S/4HANA, the migration of the other SAP systems to HANA, in particular BW and the EP portal, and lastly a simultaneous switchover of the entire SAP scope and operating tools to Azure.
Increased agility and flexibility for the Finance IS, while laying out a roadmap for the 5 years ahead.
An ambitious project to modernize SAPHIR, the standard financial system for the entire group
In 2020, SUEZ made SAPHIR its standard Finance IS to be deployed to all group companies. SAPHIR’s landscape had been updated regularly over the past 10 years. In 2020, it was composed of SAP ECC6 EHP8, BW 7.5, EP, GRC and Content Server, hosted in oXya’s private cloud.
To radically modernize SAPHIR, SUEZ opted for an ambitious strategy and took advantage of its move to S/4 to migrate to the public cloud at the same time. ECC6 was converted to S/4HANA using the SAP DMO tool with a Brownfield conversion methodology and SAP GRC was integrated into S/4. All SAP systems, including BW and EP, were migrated to HANA. Simultaneously, all the solutions, including Content Server, were migrated to Microsoft Azure.
SUEZ had already been using the Azure cloud for a number of systems other than SAP. For this project, it was therefore natural for SUEZ to build on this existing partnership. Beyond the volume-related financial benefits, SUEZ was already aware of the benefits of Azure, particularly in terms of flexibility, agility and performance gains.
oXya, a long-standing partner with expertise in the SAPHIR environment
In 2011, SUEZ called on oXya to host and manage its SAP system on its private cloud. oXya’s staff were therefore familiar with the SUEZ environment and could bring their expertise, commitment and proactive approach to this migration project.
oXya’s teams worked hand in hand with those from SUEZ and the functional integrator, Codilog. All documents were prepared and validated by the three parties. Each party had its role to play and made itself available to the others in a trusting business partnership.
This close collaboration was key to the success of the project, which was conducted through 100% remote-working for its entire 8-month duration, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A project requiring extensive preparation and technical expertise
In the preparatory phase, oXya defined the design of the target cloud architecture, infrastructure and networks, with the SUEZ Network teams. By integrating into a pre-existing network infrastructure at SUEZ, oXya ensured that the entire project was secure.
Over the course of the project, oXya led the infrastructure changes, deploying PREPROD, DEV, ACCEPTANCE and PROD environments on Azure after their
successive technical validations.
Subsequently, oXya supported the technical part of the entire project, conducting tests, dry runs and technical migrations towards S/4 and Azure.
- Significant performance gains on business intelligence
- Improvement of all business processes
- Improved efficiency of user interfaces with Fiori
- Future upgrades will enjoy S/4HANA functionalities and its optimizations
The sandbox, essential for the project’s success
Even before the kick off in October 2020, a sandbox was put in place, based on a recent copy of the Production environment. It was on this sandbox, quickly converted to S/4, that oXya carried out all the regression tests and dry runs.
An initial dry run took place with a closing simulation. A second dry run, this time a fully-fledged “dress rehearsal”, took place 3 weeks before the go-live. It highlighted a major issue with the sequencing of transport requests, which was resolved by oXya, working in collaboration with SUEZ prior to the final migration. oXya took advantage of these two dry runs to carry out DRP tests on Azure, first on S/4 and then on BW and the entire scope.
Dry runs made it possible to have a more precise estimation of the actual time needed for the complete conversion during the go-live.
Everything that could be handled in advance of the go-live was done. A number of sensitive technical operations, such as exporting encryption keys from on-premise to Azure, could not be carried out in PROD and had to be done on DEV. All JAVA components were also migrated to BW in advance.
One week prior to the cut over, the infrastructure was ready, tested and validated, the production portal was migrated, and all portal upgrades were finalized.
A dual migration: S/4 and cloud in one weekend
In April 2021, the go-live for the migration to S/4 and Azure was validated, with a switchover scheduled over a weekend in May and an extension planned for user tests until the Monday morning.
In the preceding days, all operations that could be carried out in the background without interrupting users were run. The Friday evening, all systems were stopped and users no longer had access.
Migration of all the oXya data center databases to Azure required significant bandwidth. As network capacities were carefully estimated in advance and adjusted accordingly, everything ran smoothly. Infra teams from oXya and SUEZ took charge of the infrastructures. oXya carried out the conversion from ECC to HANA and S/4, as well as the migrations, BW on HANA and Content Server. By Sunday evening, everything was finished and the tests could begin.
On Monday morning, the go-ahead was given for the cutover of the production system. About a hundred key users in 15 countries were mobilized beforehand to conduct a series of tests. A number of bugs were identified and SAP worked hard for almost three weeks to resolve them.
The migration of SUEZ’s entire Finance IS to S/4 and Azure lays a sound foundation for the years to come
Feedback from key users helped finalize the development strategy for the years ahead. On Fiori, for example, only ten or so pilots had tested the tiles. Now the work can begin to adapt Fiori to realize its benefits for users.
In addition, the RVF branch of SUEZ, a major entity handling the recycling and recovery of waste in France will soon be integrated into the SAPHIR IS (go-live scheduled for early 2023).
About SUEZ, solutions in water and waste
Faced with growing environmental challenges, for more than 160 years, SUEZ has been acting to deliver essential services that protect and improve quality of life. SUEZ enables its customers to provide access to water and waste services, with resilient and innovative solutions.
With its 44,000 employees present in 40 countries, the Group also enables its customers to create value over the entire life cycle of their assets and services, and to drive their ecological transition, together with their end-users. In 2021, SUEZ produced drinking water for 66 million people worldwide and sanitation services for more than 33 million people. The Group generates 3.6 TWh of energy from waste and wastewater per year and avoided the emission of 3.8 million tons of CO2.