RS Components is first to use ‘near zero downtime’ to upgrade SAP in the UK

Process reduced operational impact and risk to the business

RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc (LSE:ECM), a high service distributor of electronics and maintenance products, has successfully utilised SAP’s ‘near zero downtime’ service (NZDT) to upgrade SAP in its UK and EMEA operations. This is the first use of this process to upgrade SAP in the UK. The process minimised system downtime when the transition was made, reducing both the operational impact and the risk of the upgrade to the business and its customers.

When upgrading SAP with conventional methods, system downtime can be greater than two days. For RS, this would have had an unacceptable effect on its operations. NZDT minimises downtime by recording live transactions to an upgraded ‘offline’ copy of the system that is kept in synch with the current ‘online’ system. This allows for a quick transition from the old to the new system at cutover.

Working in conjunction with SAP and Atos, NZDT enabled RS to upgrade its systems over just one weekend. This significantly reduced the operational impact on its business, and therefore to its customers. Additionally, because both the old and the new systems were available up until the cutover, this reduced the risk of the upgrade to the business.

Phil Cook, Global IT Director, Electrocomponents, commented: “The upgrade was a significant undertaking achieved with minimal impact to our service and ultimately our customers. It was made possible due to great team work across the Group and with our partners SAP and Atos. We now have an operational platform that will support the global growth of our business and prepares us for a rollout of SAP into Asia.”

“SAP remains committed to ensuring its customers are best run businesses and we are delighted that by working closely with RS Components and our partner Atos, we have been able to ensure a smooth transition to the latest release of SAP ERP. This allows RS Components to leverage new innovations within the solution right away,” commented Guy Armstrong, Director of Services, SAP UK & Ireland.

In parallel with the SAP upgrade in UK and EMEA, RS also transitioned all of its key applications from legacy data centres in London to a new ‘utility’ based infrastructure service, operated by Atos, in Scotland. This involved transitioning 125 applications (including its global websites and supporting middleware), creating hundreds of servers and copying terabytes of data. This highly complex objective was achieved over a number of weekends, with minimal impact to internal IT services and the external service offered to customers.

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