Superior Group, located in Buffalo, New York, offers staffing and consulting services to enterprises across the globe. Since 1957, Superior Group has provided access to qualified talent through staffing, recruitment, process outsourcing, and direct placement services. The company’s process solutions include managed service programs, vendor management systems, and independent contractor compliance program. Superior Group supports nearly 1,000 customers from offices in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.
Superior Group manages a growing SAP environment that contains four important systems: SAP ERP, SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (SAP PI), SAP NetWeaver Gateway, and SAP BusinessObjects. Superior Group relies on these systems to operate important business functions such as payroll processing. “We process thousands of payroll entries each week for our customers, and our SAP systems overall process more than 20,000 transactions a day,” says Sam Marrazzo, chief information officer, Superior Group. “These are critical systems, and they need to be reliable and highly available at all times.”
Because the SAP infrastructure was running on an aging on-premises hardware platform, Superior Group increasingly experienced performance challenges. “We had a lot of performance issues—including frequent SAP outages,” says Marrazzo. “We were concerned about not processing payroll in time for our customers.”
The company also had capacity constraints on its hardware. “We were definitely over capacity on storage, so we couldn’t grow the business as fast as we wanted to,” says Marrazzo. Superior Group also sought to improve its disaster recovery capabilities. “We wanted more efficiency from our DR process. Specifically, we wanted to speed up our failover processes."
Superior Group decided that moving its key SAP systems to the cloud would help solve the company’s performance, scalability, and disaster recovery needs. “We realized that migrating to the cloud was a big, potentially risky move, but we needed to do it,” says Marrazzo. The company engaged Monocle Systems, a member of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN), to assist with the migration. Monocle Systems, part of Techedge Group, is an SAP Partner that specializes in helping organizations move their SAP systems to the AWS Cloud.
During a seamless 13-week process, Monocle Systems helped Superior Group move its SAP ERP, PI, NetWeaver Gateway, and BusinessObjects systems into production on AWS. “Because of their experience with SAP on AWS, Monocle Systems made us feel very confident about the migration, and they ensured everything went smoothly,” says Marrazzo.
The systems run on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) M4 instances and use Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Glacier for storing system data. To enhance security, the environment’s interfaces to the Internet are insulated with Elastic Load Balancing. The system is split between two Availability Zones for redundancy and added reliability for the disaster recovery process. That process includes replicated snapshots, backups, and transaction logs.
Superior Group also uses Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) as a shared file system between the company’s host systems and customer systems. Amazon EFS streamlines the interfaces between each system and provides synchronous replication. Superior Group is also using Amazon EFS as an elastic backup solution, with database backups stored in Amazon EFS before they are sent to Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier.
By moving its key SAP systems to AWS, Superior Group gained significant performance improvements. Specifically, CPU utilization has been reduced from 56 percent to 14 percent, and database request times have been cut from 478 milliseconds to 94 milliseconds. “Our SAP dialog processes are three times faster on AWS,” says Marrazzo. “In addition to faster database request times, that gives our customers the ability to run their payroll processes much faster than before. As a result, they can run their businesses more efficiently and we can run our own reports more efficiently as well.”
It is also easier for Superior Group to scale its SAP environment to keep pace with growth. “We can put additional SAP systems on AWS without worrying about capacity constraints, and we can grow elastically—as large as we want to be. We’re in a cycle of adding new business right now, and we have recently expanded to India and Europe. We could not have done that without the scalability and elasticity we get on the AWS Cloud.”
Additionally, the company has improved its disaster recovery processes and increased backup retention times to six months. “We can do failovers in minutes instead of days because of the capabilities we get on AWS,” says Marrazzo. “Our disaster recovery process is much more efficient now.” The organization is also confident that its customers’ data is protected. “We can’t afford to have a security breach. We have confidence in our data protection because of the security capabilities in AWS.”
Finally, by working with Monocle Systems, Superior Group can ensure the reliability of its SAP environment. Marrazzo says, “We can focus on serving our customers—and not on system maintenance—because of the support we receive from Monocle Systems combined with the reliability of AWS.”
Learn more about SAP on AWS