The University of Concepción migrated its SAP solutions to AWS cloud as part of the ambitious digital transformation project currently underway. As a result, not only has it managed to reduce costs, but now has also has a contingency site and is leveraging all the benefits of the public cloud.
The University of Concepción, founded in 1919, is the third oldest university in Chile and one of the most important nationally. It offers more than 90 degrees to almost 25,000 students and has more than 1,600 professors and 2,000 administrative staff. Its headquarters are in the city of Concepción, and it has two other campuses in Chillán and Los Ángeles, and a branch in Santiago.
It is a higher education institute that has the maximum accreditation, is part of the Chilean Universities Rectors Council (CRUCH, Consejo de Rectores de Universidades Chilenas), and is organized as a Private Law Corporation that includes 26 companies of diverse activities (*). It has always been an institution with a high level of development and commitment to its community and the country, through its educational, research, and technology transfer labor, that has characterized it for over 100 years of its existence.
Like any university that obtains accreditations, it must be in permanent review and enhancement of its processes. In addition, it must be prepared to handle changes in external conditions, so being able to improve its adaptation abilities and relying on tools that ensure sustainability is essential.
Its Strategic Plan contemplates four functional pillars: bachelor education, postgraduate education, R&D&I, and cultural extension and dissemination, in addition to a fifth transversal pillar, the institutional management, which encompasses the Financial Management Modernization project.
The Financial Management Modernization project (MGF, Modernización de la Gestión Financiera), currently under development, is part of a process that began in 2014, whose challenge is to streamline the way in which the Corporation operates, so that process management is based on continuous improvement and value addition.
Within the scope of this project, the Corporation chose to implement SAP S/4 HANA as its ERP system. The SAP solutions are already operating in seven of its companies, five more are in the process of being implemented during this year, and the rest will do so over the next two years.
Álvaro Muñoz López, MGF project manager, points out: “One of the main goals of this corporate project is to achieve operational traceability and obtain answers in real time. Even though it is not a technology project, it can be said that it is a management transformation project, based on technological change”.
Álvaro Muñoz tells us that “for several years, before starting this project, we had an in-house datacenter with more than 200 virtual servers which, to operate with SAP, required technical updates, including the electrical panels, air conditioning, emergency power-supply generators, etc. A committee made an evaluation and decided to outsource the service to an external provider, so for a few years now we have been operating a private cloud with an important local partner.
When the time came to renew that contract, by the end of 2020, we evaluated the market’s available alternatives and Novis presented us with an excellent proposal – both in technical and economic terms – offering a migration to the AWS public cloud, which turned out to be a better service in terms of:
And all with significantly lower costs than before”.
The project to migrate their SAP solutions to a public cloud included the S/4HANA systems platform, a SAP PO system, and a SAP SolMan system – all hosted by a local provider – so it was necessary to consider:
The project began in December 2020 and was done in three months, in accordance with the original plan. UdeC’s SAP systems have been operating on AWS since February 2021.
Álvaro Muñoz comments on his initial doubts: “We had the typical concerns about working at a distance, from regions, but Novis’ team service seems excellent to me. The project was carried out during the pandemic, so it was done completely in remote mode, and yet it has been a close and professional service, very much appreciated. We have always had effective answers within the SLA terms to the diverse service or incident requests where we needed technical assistance”.
“Our biggest challenge was connectivity, so I would recommend considering more time for the testing phase between SAP systems and legacy systems. We had to set up a site-to-site VPN, which we expected would take a couple of days, but it took two weeks, for reasons beyond to Novis.
This required to shorten the functional testing period, but we managed to go live meeting the deadlines we had set initially.
We migrated our SAP productive systems platform during a weekend and then experienced some latency in communications which initially affected the legacy systems. With further examination of those systems and, with an efficient support from Novis, we modified programs to optimize connectivity in the new cloud scenario. It worked out well and now users do not perceive any change, which is relevant in critical IT improvements such as this one. The Networking team had a tough job, for we moved from a direct MPLS network to an Internet connection”.
“Moving from a private cloud to a public one has been a quantum leap for us, we feel very comfortable with its flexibility. We have been in production for two months already with the SAP AMS TI service and have been assigned a KAM who oversees the service quality and SLA compliance.
On the other hand, the platform is straightforward. We have already requested transport orders that have the advantage of being automated and do not need a ticket which have been in production in less than 10 minutes. Additionally, it is a 24×7 service.”, concludes Álvaro Muñoz.
Víctor Madariaga Landeros, Business Manager at Novis, adds: “We have proven methodologies and extensive experience in migrations to public clouds. We are aware that clients prefer to talk face-to-face, but our remote-mode service model is sound and what we save in trips our clients gain in cost reduction and better response times.”
Feel free to contact us for more information about Novis services.
Article by Gilda Valderrama, Novis Bulletin editor.
(*) Some of UdeC’s companies are: