Enterprise application on the fast track
Wherever enterprise applications may reside — either on premise or in the cloud — what matters most is how quickly organizations can unlock their business value. Unfortunately, long deployment timelines and complex change management processes have given large-scale application rollouts a reputation for being complicated undertakings that require major investments in time, money and resources.
All too often, these frustrations prevent organizations from realizing the full intended value of their enterprise applications. And in some cases, perceived roadblocks deter IT leaders entirely from taking on such projects — causing them to miss out on novel opportunities to meet demand in fast-paced, rapidly changing business environments.
Dell accelerators are designed to break the unwieldy cycle of traditional application deployment. Taking advantage of pre-built software tools, services and industry best practices, they help simplify the scoping, configuration and implementation of enterprise technology for both software-as-a-service (SaaS) and on-premise applications. In this way, Dell accelerators — which include solution accelerators, process accelerators and technology accelerators — help enterprises expedite time to market, enhance the customer experience and optimize enterprise efficiency.
Extending application value
Dell solution accelerators leverage the company’s deep domain expertise to enhance both general business processes and industry-specific applications, including manufacturing, supply chain management and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. These accelerators offer added functionality ranging from dynamic shop floor routing to reverse logistics to enterprise content management. They help organizations extend the value of standard enterprise applications while compressing rollout timelines to speed return on investment (ROI).
Case in point: Linking the shop floor with business operations
A fast-growing food products manufacturer, TreeHouse Foods needed to improve operational efficiency when bringing plants from new acquisitions online. The company worked closely with Dell on the implementation of a shop floor solution from SAP. Dell consultants used pre-built tools and templates to connect the back-end systems of each facility, enabling them to aggregate and display critical data.
Now, when the company takes control of acquired plants, it takes only two months to integrate the back-end systems and provide operational reporting, compared to the four to six months previously required. The solution also delivers added functionality, providing shop floor workers and enterprise decision makers access to real-time data that can be used to improve key metrics. Through enhancements in manufacturing efficiencies and decision making, TreeHouse Foods achieved significant cost-savings.
Streamlining implementation and testing
Whether in the cloud or on premise, complex, lengthy processes for enterprise application deployment cause frustration and delay rollouts. Dell process accelerators are designed to simplify and accelerate critical deployment stages, such as implementation and testing, to speed business results.
Traditional implementation methods typically include a long, comprehensive requirements-gathering phase. Consultants interview stakeholders, identify current processes and requirements, map them to applications, conduct gap analyses and more.
Dell takes a different approach — one that is aligned to agile methodology and driven by key performance indicators (KPIs). Instead of starting with a detailed requirements-gathering phase, Dell Services consultants identify and define performance metrics for critical areas such as manufacturing, sales and financials. Then they design a process around these KPIs in a way that enables enterprises to measure business results. When prototyping the application, the consultants go through an iterative feedback loop that helps reduce the deployment timeline dramatically (see figure).
Dell implementation methodology for accelerating processes
Testing also plays an important role in compressing deployment timelines. Often, IT teams begin the process by building test cases and scripts based on an individual organization’s requirements. To accelerate testing, Dell takes advantage of industry best practices to build a repository of reusable test scripts, many of which are automated. As a result, Dell has significantly reduced test cycle time, as well as costs related to test design, development and maintenance.
Case in point: Supporting rapid growth
An automotive manufacturer had signed a major contract that would triple the volume from one facility in the upcoming five to six months. To cope with this growth, the manufacturer was looking to replace its legacy system with a scalable platform, as well as implement new business processes. Essentially, the organization needed to deploy an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system across the entire facility in just five months.
Dell rapidly identified automotive industry best practices and KPIs and utilized these to establish critical business processes that were reviewed with stakeholders. Within 20 weeks, by adopting an agile methodology and a pre-configured solution — and by focusing on the key 20 percent of processes associated with essential KPIs — the manufacturer deployed a comprehensive ERP system to support rapid growth in business volume.
Easing integration, migration and change
Leveraging proprietary Dell software and tools, Dell technology accelerators also can speed application implementation. Because these tools are part of a Dell bundled implementation solution, enterprises do not need to invest in costly middleware and time-consuming coding. For example, STAT version control and change management software gives organizations exceptional visibility into and control over the change process. To minimize the downtime involved in data migration, the SharePlex replication and data integration solution provides near–real-time copying of production data. Boomi AtomSphere software is designed to streamline integration to connect any combination of cloud, SaaS or on-premise applications — without appliances, software or coding. And the Foglight application performance management solution delivers proactive post-implementation monitoring.
Case in point: Minimizing migration downtime
A global technology company needed to migrate its SAP® solution from a proprietary UNIX® platform to x86-based Linux® servers. To minimize disruption of the company’s 24x7 worldwide operations, the migration needed to be completed within a downtime window of only four hours. The migration would have taken approximately 40 hours using standard tools and processes because of the large size of the organization’s database. However, by integrating SharePlex technology in the migration process, the company was able to fit the migration into the four-hour window for successful go-live of production systems.
Dell accelerators are designed to get applications up and running simply and quickly — one of the biggest success factors in any deployment. By speeding time to market, these accelerators help organizations maximize ROI on enterprise application investments, boosting operational efficiency and enhancing customer experience. For IT leaders, that means maximum business results with minimum headaches.
Ramki Ramamurthy is vice president of business application and technology services at Dell. In this role, he leads the enterprise applications, custom applications development, maintenance and support, and testing service lines globally. He has over 25 years of industry experience across finance, IT and consulting, with an extensive background in application services.
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A move from a proprietary UNIX platform to x86-based Linux servers can optimize performance and drive down TCO. Find out how Dell ZeroIMPACT migration services help reduce potential risks and downtime associated with a transition to Linux in an SAP Business Suite application environment.
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