Industry: Manufacturing & Engineering
Location: Switzerland
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FISBA AG dramatically boosts performance, enabling faster and more agile customer service


  • Delivers all-in-one solution, with optimal combination of hardware, operating system and software
  • Provides solid foundation for critical SAP HANA platform with high levels of performance, availability and reliability
  • Supports real-time data analytics, enabling FISBA to react fast and flexibly to changing business requirements
  • Ensures business continuity in the event of disaster thanks to high-availability setup


Specialist photonics manufacturer FISBA is one of the world’s leading suppliers of customized optical components and systems. Its high-quality, high-precision products, including glass lenses and laser modules, are used in life sciences, aerospace and other industries. Headquartered in St. Gallen, Switzerland, FISBA also operates locations in Germany and the United States, employing more than 400 people worldwide.


The pace of business is accelerating all the time — and so are customers’ expectations. To keep up with the need for speed, FISBA replaced its aging ERP environment with a converged system for SAP HANA, based on HPE hardware and SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SAP Applications. FISBA has dramatically boosted performance, enabling it to serve customers in a faster, more agile way and gained real-time data analytics capabilities that deliver up-to-the-second insight into operations.

The Challenge

Photonics, the science of generating, controlling and detecting particles of light, has advanced considerably in recent years, with innovations transforming everything from health care to communications.

FISBA is a global leader that refuses to be complacent. The company invests continuously in research and development, and in expanding its product line to keep up with the latest technologies — as well as the growing demand for photonics solutions. As a result, FISBA has expanded significantly, entering new markets and running into fresh challenges.

Tom Roorda, head of IT at FISBA, begins: “We recently ramped up operations in the U.S. market, opening a new manufacturing facility there. What struck us was the rapid pace of business in the U.S. Speed is crucial to success — if we don’t get products out to customers fast, then they’ll take their business to a company that will. Although it’s felt most keenly in the U.S., we’ve noticed that speed is becoming increasingly important to our customers in Europe and Asia, too.”

To ensure it could meet evolving customer demands and expectations, FISBA looked to modernize its IT landscape.

“Our existing ERP environment no longer met all of our business requirements,” says Roorda. “We wanted to be able to react fast and flexibly to changing needs, while ensuring round-the-clock availability for core systems and applications.”

“We've been very impressed with the performance, availability and reliability of our converged system for SAP S/4HANA, which we see as the result of the tight synergy between HPE hardware, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications and SAP HANA.”

SUSE Solution

After making the decision to deploy SAP S/4HANA, built on the SAP HANA in-memory data platform, FISBA turned to its trusted technology partner Bechtle Steffen for support. After evaluating FISBA’s IT landscape, Bechtle Steffen recommended replacing its existing ERP infrastructure with a converged system designed specifically for SAP HANA.

Roorda recalls: “We looked at other ERP solutions, but SAP S/4HANA was the most attractive — it met all our requirements and offered standardized processes. We’ve been working with Bechtle Steffen for many years, so we trusted their advice to go with SLES for SAP Applications even though we have no in-house Linux skills. The renowned quality and performance of SUSE Linux convinced us it was the right choice.”

Working with FISBA, a dedicated team from Bechtle Steffen implemented two HPE ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA Scale-up Configurations — pre-integrated systems featuring SLES for SAP Applications as the operating system. Thanks to the high-availability setup across two data centers and built-in high-availability clustering in SLES for SAP Applications, FISBA ensures that its mission-critical SAP HANA environment keeps running even in the event of disaster at one site.

“We like that everything came bundled in one convenient package and that Bechtle Steffen is our single point of contact for support services,” notes Roorda. “The unique combination of hardware, operating system and software provides the ideal foundation for our business operations. Crucially, both the HPE hardware and SLES for SAP Applications are certified for SAP HANA workloads, which gave us confidence in the complete solution.”

The Results

With the converged system for SAP S/4HANA in place, FISBA has given business operations a real boost. Roorda confirms, “Performance has improved significantly, increasing the speed and agility with which we can serve customers.” Supported by SLES for SAP Applications, FISBA is also taking full advantage of SAP HANA’s real-time analytics capabilities. Roorda elaborates: “We can now access business data in real time, giving us unprecedented insight into operations. Previously, we were only able to run reports once a day. Now, we can run reports on the fly, using up-to-the-second data. Delivering this level of insight to the business means that we can react much more rapidly to changing requirements, so we can keep up to speed with the latest industry developments and stay ahead of competitors.”

He concludes: “We’ve been very impressed with the performance, availability and reliability of our converged system for SAP S/4HANA, which we see as the result of the tight synergy between HPE hardware, SLES for SAP Applications and SAP HANA.”