Smart planning and SAP on Azure keep manufacturing operations going through big changes
St Louis based plastics innovator and manufacturer, Spartech, faced a six-month window to carve out SAP ECC, BW and non-SAP applications into a separate business from a larger chemical company due to a divestiture.
With the help of Microsoft Gold partner, Protera Technologies, the company completed a successful separation project while maintaining business continuity, improving their operations, and preparing for scale, all while significantly cutting costs with SAP on Azure.
Our goal is to be able to quickly react, flex, and be nimble in how we deliver solutions to our customers and our business-now and in the future.
– John Vandeven
Plastics company Spartech delivers innovation with SAP on Azure
St. Louis-based Spartech is innovating alongside its customers to deliver high-quality plastic products that help solve unique problems. At Spartech, all management is involved in customer innovation. Cross-functional employees collaborate and contribute their expertise to help refine products and solutions. Their business model of continuous innovation has made them a leader in sheet and thermoplastics and consumer packaging across the medical, aerospace, and automotive industries.
Spartech’s commitment to being an industry leader became even more prominent after an organizational change in 2017. After being divested from a corporate entity and purchased by a private equity firm, Spartech had over two terabytes of SAP and non-SAP application data that needed to be strategically architected for maximum performance. The company’s small IT team also had to be able to stand up its SAP solutions in a new cloud environment.
Spartech CIO, John Vandeven, realized the need to leverage a third party to augment his IT team and manage the SAP application from the separation through ongoing support. He selected Microsoft Gold partner Protera Technologies to support his efforts to build and execute an Azure strategy.
Executing a successful separation with Azure
“I did not want just a third-party vendor – it was critical that we had a good business partner,” said Vandeven. Experts in SAP on Azure, Protera architected a solution that maintained business continuity while cutting costs, and offered the speed, availability, and flexibility to support Spartech’s 15 24/7 manufacturing facilities. The company required a strategy that removed the complexity of their current model, enabling the organization to be nimble in how they delivered solutions to customers and the business, while allowing them to maintain that flexibility into the future.
With a six-month deadline to complete the project, Vandeven focused on aligning the organization and held teams to the go-live date. Included in the timeline was extensive user testing, which Vandeven says was key to delivering quality scripts and preparing effectively for the migration.
By the time “cutover weekend” began, the team was ready. “We executed a significant carve-out project in 72 hours, stayed on budget, and had very few startup issues to go live,” Vandeven says. The company migrated a massive amount of data into the Azure cloud without a single blip in business continuity. “I think if we were to build that on a more traditional platform, it would have been an extremely painful process,” explains Vandeven. In fact, what surprised him and his colleagues the most was, due to the flexibility of the Azure platform and the SAP strategy developed by Protera, the migration event was fairly un-eventful.
The benefits of having a trustedSAP transformation partner
“Protera delivered a seamless transition from the separation project straight into ongoing support, and continues to provide us opportunities to improve performance,” says Vandeven. “Protera has a team of solid and creative solution architects, and that was critical to the success of our project. If you don’t have forward-looking and forward-thinking individuals who can architect, you can get in trouble really quickly.”
The enhanced performance on Azure allows Spartech to provide more efficient, flexible service to customers, which is important to the company’s strategy of continued organic growth in a specialty market scenario. Says Vandeven, “Our goal is to be able to quickly react, flex, and be nimble in how we deliver solutions to our customers and our business—now and in the future.”