As one of Belgium’s biggest pharmaceutical retail chain players—with over 270 retail outlets, 1,700 employees, a retail distribution warehouse, and three product packaging and preparation centres—Multipharma needed to equip its organisation for the rapidly changing retail pharmaceutical market impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure that the company remains competitive despite the increased pressures and uncertainties, the company decided to shift from a legacy back-end SAP system and its own private cloud to SAP S/4HANA Retail and move to the public cloud. After the organisation’s executives and IT teams bperformed a detailed benchmarking process where they evaluated the top three public cloud providers (Amazon, Azure, and Google Cloud), the company ultimately elected to deploy SAP on Google Cloud. The company chose Google Cloud Premier partner Fourcast for the SAP workload migration.
Dirk Dussart, Multipharma’s IT Architect Manager said,
“We are convinced that in terms of flexibility, for example in virtual machine sizes, Google is superior over the two other solutions.”
Kevin Moens, Lead Enterprise Architect at Multipharma also explains the features that convinced them to choose Google Cloud for its SAP deployment:
“Setting up SAP Test and Deployment environments on Google Cloud is really easy. In terms of business impact, that means we can be more flexible and move fast when we need to, delivering new initiatives efficiently. Using Google Cloud supports us in meeting our European data storage regulatory requirements. Its encryption of data in transit and at rest was a decisive factor in our choice of cloud provider.”
Business Benefits Enabled By SAP On Google Cloud
One of the key challenges that prompted Multipharma to change from a legacy SAP system to SAP S/4HANA Retail was that they didn’t have an integrated view of their companies. According to Dussart, they had a point of sales system, in which they had stock but they didn’t have the stock figures in their back end system. After discussing their plan to migrate to SAP S/4HANA with their private cloud provider, they quickly realised that their current provider didn’t have the capabilities to implement the kind of systems they needed.
To find a better alternative that offered the right agility, security, and availability, the company’s IT team conducted an extensive evaluation of the three public cloud companies that are certified to run SAP on. In the end, the team established that running SAP on Google Cloud was the best option for Multipharma’s needs. With Google Cloud’s strong partnership with SAP, the company believes that they are equipped with many strategic advantages including:
- superior VM solutions that allow Multipharms to quickly adapt to changing business conditions such as a global health crisis as well as pivot to services like in-home medication delivery
- significantly reduced costs with Google Cloud’s pay-per-use model offering
- complete visibility into its stock positions with real-time inventory management
- increased security
- zero-downtime infrastructure maintenance
Multipharma phased the migration of SAP on Google Cloud with Fourcast. The first phase involved the completion of the development environment at Google. The next step is to finish the testing environment for agile testing, and lastly to finish the production environment.
According to a report by Google, within the first phase, Multipharma is already reaping benefits, including greater flexibility and increased resources that allow it to concentrate on further business innovations, such as optimizing e-commerce and customer-facing applications.