FISBA goes into digitalisation overdrive with a real-time ERP system.
World-class precision optics requires the best IT support. That’s why St. Gallen-based FISBA is changing its ERP environment to the ERP Business Suite SAP S4/HANA and two fully redundant HPE ConvergedSystems 500 for SAP HANA. With the high-performance integrated in-memory platform, analyses and simulations will be available faster than before, thus allowing FISBA to protect its leading position in the market in a more effective way.
FISBA is one of the world’s leading suppliers of optical systems and components. In close cooperation with customers, the high-tech company from St. Gallen develops and manufactures technologically sophisticated, high-precision and customer-specific assemblies and microsystems, laser modules, micro-optics and optical components for industrial applications.
The company employees some 300 staff in Switzerland, Germany and the USA. Its powerful in-house IT infrastructure is managed by a team of seven people.
FISBA researches, develops and produces in house and also works with several external partners. This makes for a demanding project-related business and a complex value creation chain, placing high demands on IT. The outdated ERP environment could not meet the requirements of the business any more. Tom Roorda, Head of IT at FISBA, explains: “Analyses and simulations based on huge amounts of data are becoming more and more important for development and in operative business. Key business data now needs to be available in real-time. Our organically grown, heterogeneous system landscape with numerous peripheral systems and additional tools could no longer keep up and also caused high maintenance costs. In order to achieve the required performance boost in the areas of ERP and data analysis, we would have had to carry out a release upgrade with the current system. We decided against that and used the situation as a reason for a fundamental realignment.”
FISBA IT specialists cooperated closely with users to lay out the most important points for the specifications. They requested:
A high performance integrated platform for supporting enterprise-critical analyses and ERP processes
On-premises operation in internal server rooms
The highest level of standardisation possible for hardware and software
A single point of contact and first-class support
Future-proofing and expandability in the mobility, enterprise content management, IoT (Internet of Things) and Big Data sectors
An optimum cost/use ratio
In-memory pushes IT performance.
After a detailed evaluation, FISBA decided on an overall solution for their IT based on two HPE ConvergedSystems 500 for SAP HANA. These appliances are specially designed to operate the latest ERP Business Suite SAP S4/HANA and, thanks to the latest in-memory technology, there is no need for time-consuming hard drive access for reading and writing data. All data is kept consistently in the RAM and no distinction is made between analysis and transaction data. This means that huge amounts of data can be processed, analysed and evaluated in real-time.
Both appliances were installed by Bechtle Steffen Schweiz AG in two FISBA server rooms in different locations and configured completely redundantly. “Because they are dual purpose appliances, both HPE ConvergedSystems 500 are configured in such a way that if one of them crashes, the other will be started up via the SAP HANA system replication and will take over—up and running within around a quarter of an hour without losing any data. This means that the highest level of data security and business continuity is ensured at all times,” says Reto Gennoni, Head of the SAP HANA Competence Centre at Bechtle Steffen.
Both appliances were installed by Bechtle Steffen Schweiz AG in two FISBA server rooms in different locations and configured completely redundantly. “This means that the highest level of data security and business continuity is ensured at all times,” says Reto Gennoni, Head of the SAP HANA Competence Centre at Bechtle Steffen (left). Pictured on the right: Tom Roorda, Head of IT at FISBA.
Digitalisation is streamlined.
FISBA sees the interim project results as very positive. Tom Roorda: “Right from the test phase, before it went live, we were impressed by the performance of the integrated HPE-SAP platform. Analyses and simulations that our systems previously had to run overnight can now be taken care of in minutes. With the HPE ConvergedSystem and SAP S4/HANA, we’re ready for the future. The platform will allow us to implement user-friendly mobility and bring-your-own-device concepts. The internationally recognised and distributed SAP ERP standard makes direct electronic customer and supplier data acquisition easy, allowing us to automate and digitalise processes from batch management to invoicing, and in doing so avoid costly conversions and manual data inputting which is prone to error. This platform brings us one step closer to our vision of becoming a fully digitalised company.”
The Head of IT also emphasises the significance of the role that the support and the reduction of interfaces in this area played in the system decision: “Along with the appliance solution, with the HPE SAP HANA CoE solution level support, we benefit from priority support by HPE with super quick response times. Because our machines are configured individually in production, all data is available to the HPE support specialists right away and so doesn’t need to be requested first, which is very time-consuming. With our partner Bechtle Steffen, we have a single point of contact for all hardware and operating system issues.”
FISBA made a concious decision to pick a system configuration with sufficient reserves to easily meet future requirements. Tom Roorda: “In the coming months and years, we want to eliminate as many peripheral systems as possible and cover the corresponding functionalities with our new SAP S4/HANA Suite.”
FISBA in Space
Examples of where FISBA’s products and components are used include medicine and analysis technology, industrial image processing, the semiconductor industry and in space technology. For example, micro lenses from FIBA were on board when the European Space Agency (ESA)’s lander Philae successfully touched down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as part of the Rosetta mission in 2014.