TCI Brings Out the Beauty of an SAP HR System with AWS
Beauty from the Inside Out
For beauty-conscious customers, functional food and health drinks such as liquid collagen are becoming increasingly popular as readily available alternatives to traditional beauty treatments. As a result, the biotechnology industry has become a prime target for capital investment in countries such as Taiwan. In particular, the Taiwan government has identified biotechnology as a key economic lifeline for the next 20 years.
TCI Co., Ltd. (TCI) is a private-label and original design manufacturer based in Taiwan that believes in promoting beauty from the inside out with biotechnology. It specializes in nutraceuticals, which are fortified food products that supplement one’s diet, and cosmeceuticals, which are cosmetic products with bioactive ingredients purported to have medical benefits. The company has provided clients in 54 countries with manufactured products such as capsules, facial masks, and single-use health drinks for 1,112 brands since its inception in 1980.
“By choosing AWS, we can expand our server capacity while controlling IT costs.”
About TCI Co., Ltd
AWS Services Used
About TCI Co., Ltd
TCI Co., Ltd (TCI) manufactures private-label cosmetics and nutraceutical products such as dietary supplements, beverages, and facial masks. Based in Taiwan, TCI is a biotech firm that uses natural and premium ingredients to create products that improve customers’ well-being.
- Saves up to 50% in monthly costs by running SAP HANA on the AWS Cloud
- Backs up SAP HANA server data in 2 minutes instead of 2 days
- Improves ability to manage a global workforce
- Increases availability for SAP HANA data
- Launches new servers in less than 1 hour
AWS Services Used
Stability That Scales
TCI uses SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to ensure its operation runs smoothly. Teams employ the SAP Manufacturing Execution System (MES) to improve production output, SAP HANA as a relational database management system, and, most recently, SAP Core HR and Payroll to manage a global workforce of more than 1,000 employees. The business was previously running SAP HANA on premises with a local data center. However, it decided to migrate SAP HANA to run on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud in March 2019, the same month it launched the SAP HR system on AWS.
Cost control is a top concern for TCI to ensure its products—many of which contain premium natural ingredients—stay competitive in the global market. To manage its IT costs, TCI chose the AWS Cloud for its transparent pricing model, in addition to its reputation for platform stability. For its SAP Core HR and Payroll, the ability to scale reliably is critical due to a growing employee base. “In HR, it’s especially difficult to ascertain the scalability and hardware needed for the next three to five years,” says TCI. “By choosing AWS, we can expand our server capacity while controlling IT costs.” TCI also consulted with other AWS customers in the cosmetics industry that are running SAP HANA on the AWS Cloud and found that AWS has a reputation of being highly compatible with SAP.
Highly Secure Data Center Migration
To assist with its transition to the AWS Cloud, TCI enlisted CKmates, an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Consulting Partner specializing in data center migration with an emphasis on promoting secure data transfers. To ensure TCI’s local and cloud environments were consistent, CKmates split TCI’s SAP system into four parts for a staggered transfer: the operating system, applications, data at rest, and data stores. It helped TCI migrate its operating system and applications using VM Import/Export, an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) feature that facilitates the import of SAP HANA servers from virtual machines to Amazon EC2 instances.
To help ensure the security of data in transit, teams used AWS Virtual Private Network (AWS VPN) to connect the company’s corporate data center with its Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC), thereby leveraging the AWS Cloud as an extension of its on-premises environment. TCI stores resources and backup from SAP, including vast amounts of personal data from the HR system, on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and it uses Amazon Route 53 to serve Domain Name System requests.
Higher Availability for SAP HANA
TCI expected that the SAP migration and HR module implementation would finish within four months. In fact, the teams completed the project two weeks ahead of schedule.
According to Camel Lo, sales manager at CKmates, customers installing the memory-intensive SAP HANA database on local machines often face challenges with data retention, transit, and storage. Latency is also a concern, particularly when running multiple servers located offsite. “The AWS Cloud provides more efficient data protection and higher availability, even with customers running hybrid cloud environments,” Lo says.
TCI is using AWS CloudTrail to log activity on the AWS Cloud, instead of the tapes it previously used. “With AWS CloudTrail and Amazon S3 replacing our traditional data retention model, we have greatly increased availability and reduced the cost of data auditing and storage,” TCI says. “Plus, with parallel downloads in Amazon S3, we can back up key data in a couple of minutes. Before, it would take us two days to back up the same amount of data to our data center.”
New Servers Launched in Less Than 1 Hour
The time savings TCI has notched on AWS extend to other areas beyond data and backup. Engineers used to spend hours procuring and managing servers to avoid any system downtime. “Instead of thinking about the network and hardware, now we can just hit one button and be up and running with new servers in less than an hour,” TCI explains.
The company also has peace of mind knowing that AWS maintains professional security teams to supervise AWS physical facilities across the globe, as well as experts who constantly monitor the AWS network and virtualization infrastructure. This is particularly important because TCI stores such a vast amount personal HR data on the AWS Cloud. For each security group assigned in Amazon VPC, TCI has added a separate set of rules to control inbound versus outbound traffic to and from its Amazon EC2 instances.
Global HR Management
The company will continue to monitor costs and look for ways to improve efficiency, but TCI estimates that it is saving about 50 percent in monthly costs by running SAP HANA on the AWS Cloud instead of on premises. In addition, although TCI’s HR system is still in its early days, the organization is already benefiting from improved global workforce coordination. “In the past, we had different management solutions for the US, China, and Indonesia. Now, everything is on one system with one control panel on the AWS Cloud,” says TCI. “Employee evaluations, leave reports, and any other activity can be viewed simultaneously by global teams through a system that’s uniform across the world.”
The company plans to start integrating more analysis and potentially AI functions for its newly synchronized HR data, as well as adding new services and features that are simplified on the AWS Cloud. TCI concludes, “We are already seeing sizable improvements in IT performance for SAP HANA on Amazon EC2, which is helping TCI deliver better services while encouraging the organization to build new solutions and develop new markets.