Software-as-a-Service is becoming more familiar, but what differentiates this approach from Platform-as-a-Service solutions? Instead of switching out its core IT environment for a full-package SaaS solution, Joris Ide benefits from the best of both cloud innovations and on-premise apps with SAP PaaS.
Employing 1,000 personnel at 13 plants in Western Europe, Joris Ide specializes in steel building and insulative elements such as walls, panels, rails and accessories. The Belgian multinational has relied on an SAP ERP system for 10 years. However, internationalization and the rise of new automation technologies presented new IT needs and opportunities.
“We made the choice to go to the SAP cloud because some of our apps needed to be used on a pan-European level,” explains Bernard Bossuyt, ICT Manager at Joris Ide. “Even more, we weren’t eager to invest in new hardware, as we were facing a gateway server issue on the one hand and wanted to take advantage of cloud-enabled features on the other hand.”
Having worked with delaware for 10 years, Joris Ide turned to delaware experts for assistance. “There was a period of intense work at the beginning of the project, during which we collaborated closely with delaware’s highly skilled professionals,” says Bernard. “Even though there was plenty of up-front effort, it was much less compared to on-premise implementations.”
Joris Ide continues to rely on its classic SAP ECC core ERP (running on the SAP HANA database), which is used by all personnel in every location, while new customized applications are developed and deployed in the cloud. “With this hybrid setup, we get to keep our familiar environments, while adding new, mobile functionalities to the system goes very quickly and smoothly.”
Currently, all cloud apps on the new platform automate logistics execution business functions. “One example is load registration and documentation by truck drivers and forklift operators. Personnel can now scan codes, take pictures and register information in an intuitive way using their smartphones or tablets,” Bernard continues. “We also have an app for making quotations, and a self-service portal that users can access from anywhere to input information about customers, vendors and materials into the ERP system.”
“It’s clear that processes are drastically more efficient,” Bernard explains. “We went from manual to automated, integrated online data processing. We’ve stepped away from the old-fashioned approach to computing into a more intuitive, responsive environment – and reap the benefits of higher security and automatic backups, upgrades and maintenance.”
When it comes to developing apps for other business processes, the sky is the limit for Joris Ide.
“We have many projects running in parallel in different functional or business areas. We have already identified pilot apps for each project or business area and are gradually implementing them. For example, we have a big project running to develop HR apps for leave request and travel and expense reporting.”
“Core functionality stays on-premise, while more flexible and advanced functionalities are implemented on the cloud platform. We didn’t ‘move’ to the cloud; we expanded into the cloud. That’s what the flexibility of PaaS is all about,” concludes Bernard.