Based in Struer, Denmark, Bang & Olufsen is a global manufacturer of high-end consumer audio and visual products. It needed to find a new IT infrastructure that would ensure high availability for its business applications and deliver better business intelligence (BI) tools. The company migrated to a new infrastructure based on Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition and Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition. As a result, the firm has increased availability, achieved application response times that are 40 percent faster, and gained much better analytical tools.Business Needs
Founded in Denmark in 1925, Bang & Olufsen makes and distributes upscale consumer electronics such as stereos, televisions, and telephones.
As a global organization, Bang & Olufsen receives thousands of product purchase orders every day from more than 200 suppliers and thousands of customers worldwide. Most of these orders are processed online through the company’s mission-critical global retail transaction system. This system supports multiple SAP business applications such as SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW), SAP Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), and SAP Supply Chain Management.
In 2008, to cut operating costs, Bang & Olufsen decided to replace its IBM-managed server environment. As it prepared to evaluate solutions from other companies, Bang & Olufsen knew that high performance and availability would have to be its primary concerns. "If our system goes down, we lose not only money but valuable suppliers and customers," says Dan Uhre, Senior Manager, IT ERP & BI, Bang & Olufsen. "We need around-the-clock availability for our SAP applications."
|With SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services and SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services, it is fast and simple for our employees to access updated sales information. |
Senior Manager, IT ERP & BI
Bang & Olufsen
An additional concern was that the company's IBM environment did not support SAP ERP 6.0. This application is critical for Bang & Olufsen because of its integration with Unicode, the international standard for assigning digital codes to characters and letters from every language. "We need Unicode because we're a global business,” says Uhre.
The company also had to address some major business intelligence (BI) needs. For example, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse did not provide integrated collaborative BI reporting and analytical tools, which the company needed for reporting on sales activities and purchasing data. Without those tools, employees could not easily get updated sales data to the executives in each region who need to discuss sales trends and make decisions based on those trends.
In 2008, Bang & Olufsen began the process of finding a new database and BI solution to address its business challenges.Solution
After evaluating solutions from IBM, HP, and others, Bang & Olufsen decided to implement a new database infrastructure and BI solution based on Microsoft technologies. The company chose to migrate its IBM mainframe system to Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition data management software and the Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition operating system.
The company was interested in SQL Server 2005 because it supports large SAP application installations such as the 23 SAP applications it had in place. Also, the combination of SQL Server 2005 and Windows Server 2003 offers high levels of availability. For example, the two technologies provide failover clustering, which facilitates increased system capacity without impairing availability. Additionally, the technologies offer higher performance and scalability than previous versions.
Bang & Olufsen chose NNIT, a Danish Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, to handle the implementation and outsourcing of the new solution. NNIT worked with Microsoft Services to migrate 1.1 terabytes of data to SQL Server 2005. The solution was implemented at two data centers, on 10 HP ProLiant blade server computers running Windows Server 2003. NNIT also deployed SAP ERP 6.0, which offers sales-tracking and procurement-tracking capabilities and full support for Unicode.
Bang & Olufsen also implemented a BI solution based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Office Excel 2007 spreadsheet software, SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services, and SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services. Benefits
With its new solution, Bang & Olufsen has higher availability, application response times that are twice as fast, and an integrated BI environment that helps the company analyze and deliver data faster.
Increases System Availability
With the increased capacity and failover clustering features in SQL Server 2005 and Windows Server 2003, Bang & Olufsen has seen solid improvements in system availability. Now, the company has the required availability of greater than 99.9 percent for the SAP applications on its new system. “Because we have higher availability for our mission-critical retail systems with SQL Server 2005, we are able to better meet our service level agreements,” says Uhre.
Achieves Response Times That Are 40 Percent Faster
Bang & Olufsen is also taking advantage of the built-in database compression features in SQL Server 2005, which help the company’s SAP applications respond 40 percent faster than before. With this increase, the organization can keep up with its growing database size and employee usage, and it can process and analyze important business data quickly. “Because of the faster response times, we can get sales data from our dealers faster and get the data to the executive team faster as well,” Uhre says.
Provides Better Analytical Tools
The new BI environment gives Bang & Olufsen employees stronger analysis tools. The solution automatically aggregates incoming sales data from the company’s SAP ERP 6.0, SAP SRM, and SAP SCM applications. “With SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services and SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services, it is fast and simple for our employees to access updated sales information,” says Uhre. “They can get data from the global supply chain and complete critical business processes faster.”
Also, with full Unicode support, Bang & Olufsen can more easily collect and interpret product sales data from all of its sales regions, regardless of language. Uhre says, “We now have an integrated infrastructure that will help us meet our business growth for the future.”This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
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Danish company Bang & Olufsen manufactures upscale consumer electronic products for customers throughout the world. Its 2,000 employees work in 25 global locations.
- HP ProLiant server computers
Software and Services
Microsoft Windows Server 2003
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition
Microsoft Office Excel 2003
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services
High Tech & Electronics