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DSM helps Dunelm realign SAP landscape

Dunelm realigns its SAP Non-Production system landscape with Data Sync Manager and moves to AWS

About Dunelm

Dunelm is the UK’s largest homewares retailer with a wide range of products for every room in the home. The Dunelm story started 40 years ago, when founder Bill Adderley decided to take on a stall with his wife at the Leicester Market. Since then, the company has grown to what is today a multi-channel retailer with 169 superstores, three high-street stores and a web-store, featuring extended ranges and delivery convenience.

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DUNELM'S SAP LANDSCAPE CHALLENGES

As part of a newly deployed SAP Hybrid Cloud landscape, a key requirement for Dunelm was to realign and rationalise its SAP non-production systems. The current systems were not being used for their intended purpose, and the lack of a formal data refresh strategy exacerbated the problem of out-of-date data. Ageing data in test environments had a negative impact on the quality of testing, ultimately increased the risk of issues in the productive environment.

The high demand of everyday Basis tasks consumed all resources and made refresh activities even more challenging to prioritise internally. Consequently, over time the rapidly ageing data in test environments was impacting the quality of all BAU activities and project testing, increasing project timelines and increasing the risk of major incidents in the productive environment. In addition, Dunelm wanted to move their Development, Quality Assurance and Sandbox SAP systems to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Dunelm runs multiple projects in parallel. The demand on the IT infrastructure was high with the need for multiple systems for all the projects, and no opportunity for downtime to provide traditional SAP system copies or refreshes. Dunelm’s landscape didn’t support an agile development approach; inadequate testing at an early stage resulted in disruptive changes in the production system.

SCOPE

The scope of the realignment project included SAP ECC (Enterprise Central Component), SAP EWM (Extended Warehouse Management), SAP PI (Process Integration) and SAP BW (Business Warehouse) systems.

The EPI-USE Labs team held a workshop with the Dunelm team to define the project scope, and suggested the process for the landscape realignment. Once agreed, this formed the project plan for creating the new landscape. The new systems would be built on new infrastructure in the AWS public cloud environment.

The project was mapped to three simple steps: Build, Refresh, Transform.

Build, Refresh, Transform

One of the key elements for us was the flexibility that the EPI-USE Labs team provided, both with landscape alignment and on a project management level. Dunelm did not have the resources to do that. We needed a partner that could come in with a technical mindset as well as a project management mindset.

Steve Ross, SAP Technical Services Manager, Dunelm

SOLUTION: REALIGNED SAP LANDSCAPE

New realigned, fit-for-purpose landscape, with a reduced dataset

EPI-USE Labs used the Data Sync Manager product suite to create new copies from production to build QAS and DEV environments. This enabled the team to align all systems in the SAP estate from both a configuration and data perspective, and provide a stable platform to support testing requirements.

Many of the issues that Dunelm experienced in Production were because they couldn't do any performance testing in their old landscape. The nature of the retail sector, with thousands of orders created every day, made it necessary for them to implement a pre-production environment to avoid surprises in the production environment.

Security and Risk management

EPI-USE Labs supported Dunelm to implement development and governance policies that would help the business be more agile and use the new environment to its full potential, while creating the appropriate developer roles and authorisations for security and risk management.

With GDPR compliance and security risks high in Dunelm’s strategy, Data Secure was used to scramble Customer, Vendor and Address data in all the non-production systems built using Data Sync Manager.

Leveraging the AWS Cloud for non-production SAP systems

The project enabled Dunelm to migrate their non-production SAP systems to the cloud. This has been a long-term strategy, and they can now leverage key benefits of the cloud like infrastructure-as-a-service and cost savings. It was a great benefit for Dunelm that Data Sync Manager could be used to refresh systems on-premise and in the cloud.

Project timeline and flexibility of EPI-USE Labs team

One of the biggest challenges was that Dunelm couldn’t have a landscape freeze for an extended period, as projects needed to continue. Specifically, a project where they were closing a warehouse and consolidating it into another warehouse needed to be completed within a specific time frame. EPI-USE Labs was able to support Dunelm by working this requirement into the project timelines. The completed project was delivered within 12 weeks and supported ongoing developments in the scope.

Strategies to ensure best practices

To assist with the DevOps process, Dunelm implemented Transport Expresso from Basis Technologies to automate and align the SAP Transport Management process. EPI-USE Labs helped the business to formulate a transport release strategy, thus eliminating the future issues with transports and would help Dunelm maintain the landscape. They also needed to formalise a data refresh strategy and schedule, and EPI-USE Labs helped to ensure the landscape would stay updated in the future. 

The integrated nature of the ERP landscape with non-SAP systems was also important for the overall success of aligning the SAP environment. Due to the nature of the business processes and the inter-dependencies between the non-SAP systems, data consistency across the entire enterprise was key for testing core inbound and outbound processes. Also, the process integration landscape which acts a gateway between the non-SAP and SAP systems increased complexity as the SAP environments were now hosted in the AWS cloud. Through strong project collaboration with the infrastructure and technical teams, the non-SAP systems were re-integrated to enable both comprehensive system integrated and performance testing.

Data Sync Manager is very good at taking selective pieces of data that we need, and slicing that into different sizes. So for each environment, you wouldn’t necessarily take the same amount of data, because you don’t need as much data in a sandbox system as in a test system. So DSM is good at slicing and dicing the data as you need it, to reduce size.

Steve Ross, SAP Technical Services Manager, Dunelm

DUNELM BENEFITS FROM DSM

The benefits of the project are that Dunelm now has a fully refreshed 5-tier landscape that has a Sandbox environment as well as a Pre-production. All the systems have been configured and there is data alignment across the landscape. Dunelm has implemented Governance around development and change processes, a transport management tool and a refresh strategy while migrating all the systems to the cloud. The ultimate benefit is that the Dunelm team now has the setup to perform regression, integration and performance testing before changes go into production, and this gives them confidence in the testing outcomes.

The simplicity of Data Sync Manager for rapid landscape transformation was a key factor that ensured a successful project. This, combined with the expertise from the EPI-USE Labs team across the fields of Project Management, Basis, and GDPR and Data Security, gave Dunelm the broad spectrum of skills that they did not have internally. Steve Ross notes, “One of the key elements for us was the flexibility that the EPI-USE Labs team provided, both technically and on a project management level.”

The EPI-USE Labs team showed that they had the ability to become part of the Dunelm team; they had an excellent depth of knowledge, and the ability to engage with multiple internal teams with a “can-do” attitude. The combination of using software with the right team guaranteed that Dunelm has a landscape that can support their business into the future.

The EPI-USE Labs team was very good at communicating the need, requirements and benefits of the projects and to get buy-in from the project teams so that everyone knew what we needed to do.

Steve Ross, SAP Technical Services Manager, Dunelm

WHO WE'VE HELPED

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DATA SYNC MANAGER BENEFITS

Ensures accurate, consistent data in non-production systems
Creates clients quickly and with no post-processing effort (BDLS)
Provides data when you need it, where you need it
Reduces system interruptions and downtime
Complies with data protection standards, such as Sarbanes Oxley, the BDSG, or GDPR
Offers unparalleled data quality and completeness
Cuts disk space and data storage costs significantly
Supports over 1600 business objects – more than any other data copy product