Founded in 1826, USL is the largest Indian spirits company and the world’s second-largest spirits company by volume. As a subsidiary of Diageo plc, a global leader in beverage alcohol, USL also imports, manufactures and produces iconic brands such as Smirnoff. Headquartered in Bengaluru, USL employs more than 6,000 people and is represented in 81,000 outlets across India. It has over 88 manufacturing facilities across 23 states and three union territories in India and exports its products to over 37 countries.
United Spirits Limited (USL) must generate compliance reports on time to meet strict regulations on the distribution of beer. With data volumes exploding, the drinks company accelerated reporting by deploying SAP BW on HANA running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SAP Applications. The solution cut the time taken to produce a report from six hours to one hour— enabling USL to meet compliance demands, thereby making more informed decisions.
Like all alcohol beverage companies in India, USL must generate compliance reports in order to meet strict regulations on the distribution of beer. However, as the company expanded and data volumes exploded, creating these reports within the required timeframes became increasingly challenging.
Vikrant Kumar Chawak, ITO service delivery at USL, said: “We were previously creating compliance reports using in-house software running on IBM i on IBM Power Systems, but lacked the flexibility and speed to successfully meet growing compliance demands. We knew we needed to accelerate reporting and improve the speed of our data warehouse, so we began looking for an alternative solution.”
“Using SAP BW with HANA running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server enables us to deliver more timely reports on all areas of the business, from sales to deliveries. This quick, easy access to up-to-date information helps us to make better, more informed business decisions.”
USL considered a range of possible solutions before opting for an SAP BW on SAP HANA appliance (the so-called “sidecar configuration”) to accelerate its reporting. At USL, the SAP BW component runs on IBM AIX while the in-memory SAP HANA database platform runs on SLES for SAP Applications.
Jijo Joseph, ITO service delivery at USL, takes up the story: “We were attracted to the speed of SAP BW on SAP HANA’s reporting capabilities, and were confident that it would enable us to meet regulatory requirements. Having opted for SAP BW on SAP HANA, it was an easy decision for us to select SLES for SAP Applications as our operating system for the database layer. SLES for SAP Applications offers the assurance of high availability, flexibility, security and performance for SAP HANA, and has a first-rate reputation as the leading Linux distribution for large-scale organizations. Furthermore, we were impressed by our previous experiences of working with SUSE solutions and wanted to build on that knowledge. Finally, this variant of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) is purpose-built to support SAP solutions.”
Thanks to the strong partnership between SUSE and SAP, SLES for SAP Applications is tuned and configured to provide optimal support for mission-critical systems and has its own dedicated update channel.
As the remainder of USL’s IT architecture is from IBM, IBM Lab Systems Services assisted with the deployment of SAP BW on SAP HANA and SLES. USL also migrated its main SAP ERP environment from IBM i to IBM AIX on a new IBM Power E870 server. This single physical server supports SAP BW running on AIX and SAP HANA running on SLES.
“The implementation was finished within six months, and IBM continues to provide excellent support to our IT team,” said Vikrant Kumar Chawak.
With SAP BW on SAP HANA running on SLES for SAP Applications on the IBM Power platform, USL has seen a host of benefits and solved its compliance report challenges.
Vikrant Kumar Chawak said, “The SAP and SUSE solution has hugely accelerated our reporting processes, enabling us to deliver timely compliance reports despite exploding data volumes. In particular, the solution cuts the time taken to process one key report from six hours to only one hour—a reduction of 83%.”
The solution further aids decision-making across the business, as Jijo Joseph said: “As well as helping us to meet regulatory demands, using SAP BW with SAP HANA running on SLES enables us to deliver more timely reports on all areas of the business, from sales to deliveries. This quick, easy access to up-to-date information helps us to make better, more informed business decisions.”
USL also benefits from the SUSE YaST® tool, which handles the operating system’s configuration and updates.
“YaST is extremely flexible and simple to use—thanks to its easy point-and-click interface, users don’t need to be command line experts in order to run installations and make changes to the system,” said Vikrant Kumar Chawak. “This is just one of the many benefits of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, along with high security, performance, availability and reliability. For example, we have now been live for six months without any unplanned downtime.
“Thanks to SAP BW on SAP HANA running on SLES for SAP Applications, we have dramatically accelerated our reporting processes—enabling us to easily meet growing compliance requirements.”