Headquartered in Regensdorf, Switzerland, msg global solutions is a leading global provider of IT services for the insurance and banking industries. Founded in 2008, the company has more than 750 consultants working in 19 subsidiaries across 15 countries. Through its Nexontis Consulting subsidiary, it develops profitability, risk capital and insurance accounting solutions using the latest technology from SAP. These solutions help insurers gain greater access to data and meet regulatory compliance requirements, including IFRS 17 and Solvency II.
During the sales process, msg global must demonstrate its SAP offerings to customers. It also needs the ability to provide hands-on training to remote users with robust authentication and high performance. These tasks require fully functional, resource-intensive SAP environments, often long before a sale takes place.
Previously, the company used its own on-premises infrastructure to deliver demos, proofs of concept, and training, but this approach was too cumbersome to support its growth trajectory. "Our IT wasn’t fulfilling the needs of either internal users or external customers," says Borivoje Jankovic, chief information officer of msg global. "SAP demos were taking too long to deploy, as were change requests."
To support its sales team in delivering high-impact SAP demos to customers, the company decided to adopt Amazon Web Services (AWS). “We chose AWS because it is fully certified by SAP as a public cloud environment for SAP S/4HANA deployments, and it delivers the reliable performance and availability we need worldwide to effectively demonstrate our solutions to potential customers,” says Jankovic.
From just a few Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, msg global has expanded its usage to 92 instances. It uses a range of instance types, including m4 general purpose instances for standard SAP application servers and r4 memory-optimized instances for SAP HANA servers. It has recently begun using Amazon EC2 X1 instances, which are powered by Intel® Xeon® E7-8880 v3 processors that deliver the processing speed and memory scalability—up to 2 TB—required to fully exploit the power of the SAP HANA in-memory database. “It is very beneficial for us to be able not only to scale out, but to also scale up in place with just a few clicks,” Jankovic reports. “We can get a larger instance in no time to meet the requirements of a demo or proof of concept.”
The company uses Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) to connect to the msg global data center, giving the firm’s employees direct access to SAP systems. It relies on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for data backups, including backup of the HANA database, and uses Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) Provisioned SSD IOPS (P-IOPS) volumes for storage. For high availability, msg global takes advantage of multiple AWS Availability Zones, avoiding the additional cost of maintaining separate data centers. The company also runs its own custom development environment on AWS using an infrastructure-as-a-service approach.
This infrastructure is invaluable to helping msg global achieve its growth targets. "In many cases, we wouldn’t be able to expand or win new business if we were relying on traditional, on-premises data centers," says Jankovic. "We can scale from 250 GB to 2 TB of RAM in minutes, and then scale back down as needed. We are always ready to show our customers the best of what we offer." What’s more, since moving to AWS, the company has experienced no downtime outside of planned maintenance intervals.
Although it does not host production SAP systems on AWS, the security features of the platform enable msg global to work more effectively with insurance and banking customers for whom compliance is a critical concern. Using AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) makes it easy for msg global to manage authentication when onboarding external users, greatly simplifying regulatory compliance requirements.
Adopting AWS has enabled msg global to greatly increase the effectiveness of cost reporting and controls. "We have connected AWS reports to our internal systems,"says Jankovic. "We take advantage of native AWS tagging functionality to connect usage to specific projects, cost centers, owners, and hostnames. We can aggregate costs in ways that matter to the business or drill all the way down to individual instances with per-second accuracy."
The company has achieved major cost savings by adopting the AWS Cloud. "It would cost us as much as $120,000 a month to run our infrastructure on premises," estimates Jankovic. "Using AWS, we spend only half that much, and we use only what we need."
Speed of system deployment is one of the most significant advantages for the firm. Jankovic says, "With AWS, deploying new systems and implementing change requests are now much easier. For example, it used to take us between two and three weeks to deploy a new SAP system. Now we can do it in just a few days."
AWS has become a cornerstone of msg global’s SAP business. Jankovic concludes, "Using AWS, we can demonstrate our solutions seamlessly, whenever the need arises. The value to our business is immeasurable." By enabling its customers to experience and interact with enterprise SAP solutions before they buy, msg global gives them the peace of mind that they know exactly what they’re getting. In the high-stakes world of financial services, that makes all the difference.
Learn more about SAP on AWS.