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Business challenge: Mastering increasingly time intensive SAP operations
As a leading Swiss IT service provider, UMB AG supports its customers in the areas of consulting, cloud, digital transformation, modernization, security and infrastructure. True to the company motto "creating time", UMB has dedicated itself to providing its customers with more time for their core business. For five years now, UMB has been creating more time for its own work with the Avantra AIOps platform for SAP operations. What originally started as a small service with a small team in Zurich, since the merger with NewVision Consulting, has grown into a comprehensive SAP base operation with two operations teams in St. Gallen and Zurich as well as an engineering team. UMB customers can choose between on premise models with SAP Managed Services, and “SAP as a Service” in the data centers of the UMB Private Cloud.
"One of the main arguments for us to move globally to the Avantra Monitoring solution was the huge time savings."
Gain time, create time
Time is the dominant topic at UMB AG and with Avantra they have found a platform that creates a lot of freedom in SAP operations. For example, through the automatic evaluation of SAP HotNews, which enables customer and system specific selection with customer oriented reporting, and service improvements.
By automating kernel upgrades, UMB's SAP experts save two to three hours per system landscape. Because time consuming manual work during preparation and implementation is eliminated, intervals can be completed much faster. In addition to the time saved, Avantra helps with the guarantee of consistent high quality.
"The biggest chunk we see is definitely in the HotNews selection, mining the information and making it bite-sized for the customer. For that alone, we had a good 30 hours of a smaller team assigned in the past. We've saved that time now."
Monitoring, automation and reporting beyond the standard scope
With Avantra, UMB has also automated the monitoring of its security baselines. Even the onboarding of new systems can be accelerated because the globally defined parameters are rolled out at the push of a button. Compared to the previous solution, the basic monitoring can be set up with a time saving of a good four hours per system and, if required, extended with additional optional checks on a customer specific basis.
Avantra supports service delivery management at UMB by automatically generating reports and making them available to customers, providing greater transparency. Plus, custom Avantra dashboards provide insight into potential problems, integrating them directly into monitoring.
Avantra is also used to monitor critical business jobs. Customers and UMB are notified immediately of any delays, enabling rapid root cause analysis and a timely response to fix problems. Because UMB can integrate Avantra directly with its customers' ITOM solutions - ServiceNow in particular - a fast flow of information and maximum transparency are achieved through the automatic creation of a corresponding ticket.
"For this alone, we have much better data quality for SAP and can then discuss, debate and schedule various topics with the customer in a very targeted way ahead of time."
Maintenance and system copies made easy
Avantra also reduces the effort required for maintenance tasks in larger customer environments, such as OS upgrades. For example, stopping all affected systems can be scheduled and verified before UNIX or Windows teams get to work. Once maintenance is complete, Avantra also automatically restarts the systems and checks that they are functioning properly.
Since the pilot phase at the beginning of 2022, UMB has been particularly enthusiastic about the possibility of automated system copies, which will gradually be rolled out to other customers. Here, too, the main benefit is time savings and ensuring quality by replacing manual activities.
"Avantra started as a monitoring solution many years ago, now the product provides automations that you would otherwise have to buy dedicated software for, that's really good"
- Master an increasingly time intensive SAP operation
- Ensure security baselines for a growing customer base
- Automate recurring tasks such as kernel upgrades
- Create transparency for customers
- Time savings, e.g. through automations such as HotNews analysis
- Automatic onboarding of new systems with rapid setup of basic monitoring
- Consistently high quality of service delivery
- Direct connection to the customer's ITOM solution
A bright future with Avantra
UMB wants to continue to grow in the future and is relying on Avantra to increasingly relieve employees of routine tasks in SAP operations, to free up resources for onboarding new customers, and provide services of the highest quality.
From the positive experience of the last few years, the company knows that Avantra is constantly developing and expanding its range of functions and automation options. Head of SAP Mathias Lang is already looking forward to upcoming innovations - such as the possibility to plan HR Support Packages in system landscapes with Avantra - and is also always happy to test new automations within the scope of pilot projects.