By combining Microsoft and SAP’s expertise into an all-in-one solution, organisations throughout the region have been able to leverage the unique tech solutions of these two industry leaders in the face of an ever-changing world

“Simplicity is the prerequisite to reliability,” wrote computer scientist Edsger W. Dijkstra. It is this kind of thinking that our customers wanted from Microsoft as they embarked on their digital transformation journey.

So with our customers and their needs top of mind, Microsoft moved to collaborate with SAP on its project “Embrace”, an initiative that sought to combine its SAP S/4HANA with an organisation’s chosen cloud hyperscaler. This unique all-in-one solution means that customers that are looking to begin their cloud migration journey can do so with the support of a single strategy that uses both SAP and Microsoft solutions.

In the Middle East and Africa (MEA), we’ve been able to take this partnership one step further with the introduction of the M-series on Azure in the United Arab Emirates datacentres to better support SAP S/4HANA and our customers. “It brings the best of both worlds together – providing the latest innovations from SAP and the trusted, agile infrastructure, from Microsoft Azure,” says Samer Abu Ltaif, President of Microsoft Middle East and Africa. “As we continue empowering organisations in reimagining their way forward, this partnership is one of the many bricks that will contribute to our efforts towards building capabilities in the region.”

The foundations of this offering lie in the establishment of datacentres in the UAE and South Africa, providing our customers with the right ecosystem to digitally transform within the region. These facilities offer our customers localised enterprise-grade performance and guidance throughout their cloud journey.

The response to the Embrace partnership has already been positive, with a surge in demand seen from customers across a variety of industries. Early adopters include Landmark Group, Al-Futtaim Group, RAK Ceramics, Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Company (KIPIC) and National Agency of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels of Angola (ANPG).

Meeting the unique needs of our customers

RAK Ceramics is one of the largest ceramics brands in the world with a footprint that spans 150 countries. While it’s headquartered in the UAE, its datacentre network was spread across multiple locations and it was looking to consolidate. Other challenges included outdated hardware that was becoming costly to maintain and a need for highly scalable and easily manageable infrastructure.

Since migrating to SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure, RAK Ceramics has seen a 50 to 60 percent cost reduction. Microsoft’s local datacentres in the UAE helped to address latency issues and enabled compliance with UAE data sovereignty laws. The organisation’s Recovery Point Objective went from four hours to practically zero, while its Recovery Time Objective improved from eight hours to 45 minutes.

ANPG also wanted to migrate its current SAP systems and free up its workforce to focus on other tasks. Within four months, its payroll and procurement processes were automated on SAP S/4HANA on Azure. ANPG’s main financial system was also migrated to the cloud, which helped a lot with achieving tax compliance with Angola’s new tax regulations. Following its digital transformation journey, the organisation is not the only one pleased with the results, but its employees are too.

While the immediate tangible outcomes are important, so too are future objectives. Landmark Group, a prominent non-food retailer in the Middle East and India, was looking to gain more data insights to better inform business decisions. With over 2 200 stores in 24 countries, the need for dynamic and agile infrastructure was great.

The Group’s migration to the SAP S/4HANA on Azure enabled the group to pull the latest in store data to see current product demand, forecast trends, analyse price points and make more informed decisions around supply planning. The speedy access to these data insights has helped to improve the group’s response to customer needs and market changes making for a more agile business throughout its different locations.

To learn more about Microsoft and SAP’s partnership and how it can benefit your business, visit the Middle East and Africa Edition of the SAP Solutions on Microsoft Azure Virtual Event on demand, where you will also be able to hear from RAK Ceramics, Landmark Group and ANPG. Gain insight on how to strengthen your organisation’s resilience and thrive in an ever-changing world from tech leaders and customers in the region. To access the event, click here. Let us help you re-envision the future with the right solutions to take you forward.