Fracarro uses Google Compute Engine to power its SAP production, testing, and development subsystems, reduce process times from hours to minutes, while improving workflows using G Suite.
Google Cloud Platform Results
- Reduces backup time for SAP subsystem infrastructure from 4 hours to 7 minutes with Google Compute Engine
- Enables cost-effective rapid experimentation and innovation with easily replicable test instances, supporting system rationalization
- Improves internal collaboration and communication across continents with G Suite
Costs reduced by 70% compared to on-premises solution
By manufacturing innovative telecommunications solutions, as well as video surveillance and security systems, Fracarro has become a market leader in Europe in the production of integrated communications systems for audio-visual data. With the group now comprising eight companies based in Italy, the UK, France, and Tunisia, Fracarro’s products are used in building projects around the world.
Founded in 1933 by brothers Bruno and Giovanni Fracarro, product innovation and a passion for communications have always been at the heart of the company. Fracarro stays ahead of its competitors by creating solutions for its clients using the newest technologies, seamlessly integrating their solutions to make ‘intelligent” buildings. “The market challenges today are mainly related to the reduction in product life due to technological evolution, and consequently much faster technological change,” says Claudio Umana, IT Director at Fracarro. “The fusion of technologies and the application of new communication standards requires us to redefine our medium-term marketing strategies constantly.”
“Our approach was not just to replicate an on-premises system in the cloud. The challenge was to rethink and redesign our SAP infrastructure by simplifying it to make the most of what Google Cloud Platform offers.”—Claudio Umana, IT Director, Fracarro
In order to keep innovating, Fracarro needs to make sure its internal systems are equally up-to-date. Having adopted G Suite in 2008, followed by a move to hosted cloud services at a time prior to when Google Cloud Platform supported SAP integrations, Fracarro was experiencing performance issues with its previous cloud provider. Once Google Cloud Platform announced its strategic partnership with SAP to better integrate with SAP’s enterprise applications, Fracarro decided to switch to Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
“Our strengths as a company are innovation and market knowledge. We work in a world where technology changes every day and we need to use the best of this technology in order to work efficiently,” says Claudio “Our approach was not just to replicate an on-premises system in the cloud. The challenge was to rethink and redesign our SAP infrastructure by simplifying it to make the most of what Google Cloud Platform offers.”
Powering SAP with GCP
For companies that manufacture products featuring innovative and evolving technologies, being agile and flexible is crucial to staying up-to-date and relevant for their clients. After it moved its SAP systems into the cloud in 2015 with an alternative cloud provider, Fracarro’s system experienced performance issues that were impacting productivity. “We had two incidences of unexpected downtime with SAP running on another cloud provider, and it took a lot of time to repair the landscape,” says Claudio. Fracarro needed a provider that combined stability with flexibility and excellent performance and offered a cost-effective way to optimize its system.
To achieve that, Fracarro moved its SAP Production, Quality, and Development subsystem services onto Google Cloud Platform. “As soon as Google offered the opportunity to move SAP into the Cloud, we started to make the transition. It only took us one month to move everything over.” says Claudio. Now, Fracarro uses Google Compute Engine to run its SAP subsystem, without needing extra machines to act as a backup. “On Google Cloud Platform, we don’t need to run parallel machines as we had to with both our on-premises servers and previous provider. Because of the platform’s high availability, we know that it will work every day, every hour. The central instance and the database instance can run simultaneously because we have a very elastic capacity in the machine, up to 96 CPUs. I use only what I need in this moment and if tomorrow I need more capacity, then it’s not a problem.”
“If I want to try out any changes, I can make a copy within minutes and experiment with up-to-date data. We need to be agile and be able to develop the production system very rapidly and, with Google Compute Engine, testing innovative ideas is quick and low-cost.”—Claudio Umana, IT Director, Fracarro
Moreover, thanks to Compute Engine, modifications are easy to implement and Fracarro can create test instances to experiment with improvements to its system. “Google Cloud Platform has an easy, flexible, and very sophisticated management environment. In a few minutes we can recreate the entire infrastructure or certain elements that constitute it. This is very reassuring in terms of recovery from any unforeseen system failures,” says Claudio.
“If I want to try out any changes, I can make a copy within minutes and experiment with up-to-date data. We need to be agile and be able to develop the production system very rapidly and, with Google Compute Engine, testing innovative ideas is quick and low-cost.”
A decade of G Suite
Fracarro’s decision to move to GCP was influenced by its previous experience with Google products. The company moved to G Suite in 2008 and it is now used by all of its employees, across all its sites. “Thanks to Gmail and Google Hangouts, it’s easy to work across the company’s geographies,” says Claudio. “Using Hangouts, I can speak to anyone at anytime, on any device: mobile, tablet, or computer.”
As a result, the company’s internal processes have become much more efficient. “Being able to work on a single document on Google Docs, increases the speed at which the company functions,” explains Claudio. “Before G Suite, we emailed copies back and forth, which wasted a lot of time and led to many errors. The way we work now is much more intuitive and natural.” The company has also automated many internal processes using Google Apps Script and Google Forms. For example, information from customer service calls is filled in by a technician and automatically made available to the service department for statistical analysis.
“Google Cloud Platform has brought great efficiencies, but it’s not a surprise. I have been working with the Google system for 10 years now and know how well the products function. They offer the most innovative solutions available on the market, supporting us to create the business of the future.”—Claudio Umana, IT Director, Fracarro
“G Suite has changed our way of working. Before, we were struggling to collaborate effectively, but by using the whole G Suite ecosystem, we now work very closely with one another. We have increased our quality of service and eliminated management and upgrade costs.”
From hours to minutes
After moving its subsystem to Google Cloud Platform, many of its SAP processes have become much more efficient. “With Google Cloud platform, a backup that required 4 hours to complete with our previous provider today takes 7 minutes, as we use snapshots. It’s fantastic,” says Claudio. “But the real saving is in terms of the time people spend working—today, our IT department works for our customers, not on server maintenance. That is incredibly useful.” Fracarro has subsequently also moved its EDI platform for receiving electronic orders from clients and its BI platform to GCP. Thanks to GCP, according to Fracarro, the time it takes transfer to data from SAP has been reduced by 50% and, compared to the company’s previous physical infrastructure, costs have been reduced by 70% (with a 30% saving compared to the company’s previous cloud provider).
Now, Fracarro plans to move its manufacturing execution system (MES) in its factories to Google Cloud Platform. “Yes, even our production will be powered by GCP!” says Claudio. It also plans to use GCP to develop new marketing services and support market expansion. “We work all over the world, but we want to become bigger. There are global opportunities that we want to explore,” says Claudio.
“Google Cloud Platform has brought great efficiencies, but it’s not a surprise. I have been working with the Google system for 10 years now and know how well the products function. They offer the most innovative solutions available on the market supporting us to create the business of the future.”
Founded in 1933, Fracarro is a global leader in telecom signal reception and distribution, with offices in Italy, the UK, France, and Tunisia.