Herfy: The perfect recipe with SAP S/4HANA on Google Cloud for a fast food chain

About Herfy

Founded in 1981, Herfy is one of Saudi Arabia’s largest and most successful fully integrated food service companies. Its fast food chain comprises 390 outlets, with franchises in Kuwait and Bangladesh. The company also runs top-of-the-line bakeries, and a state-of-the-art meat processing plant.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: Saudi Arabia

Herfy moves its SAP S/4HANA systems to Google Cloud to improve reliability and security, as well as accelerate data insights and reporting, all while lowering costs.

Google Cloud results

  • Improves system reliability by migrating SAP S/4HANA landscape and call center environments to Compute Engine
  • Enables 50% reduction in time needed to run material ledger for month-end financial closing
  • Reduces IT helpdesk queries by 48% and improves maintenance helpdesk efficiency with solutions custom-built on App Engine

Ready for growth with compromise-free move to the cloud

Fast food is a favorite choice for many consumers around the world, and with 390 outlets across Saudi Arabia, fast food restaurant chain Herfy is one of the country’s most recognizable brands. Founded in 1981, the company has built consumer trust by managing its supply chain to offer consumers its own fresh ingredients within Saudi Arabia, selling more than 51 million burgers in 2018.

“Reliability is key for us, as we want to avoid any kind of business disruption, especially during peaks. We need all our technology provisioning to be scalable and secure, as well as flexible enough to respond to our changing needs.”

Saleh Al Fadhel, CFO, Herfy

“The quick-service-restaurant food industry is changing very rapidly, and things move very fast,” explains Sajan Nair, IT Director at Herfy. “We need to be able to respond quickly to new online promotion opportunities, for example, and to integrate with multiple platforms. If a new partnership with an online portal is proposed, we need to be able to develop a solution rapidly.”

With SAP enterprise software in place for its back-office requirements, Herfy required additional collaborative and productivity tools in order to reduce communication silos within the company, increase productivity, and build bespoke IT solutions. It also wanted to implement a disaster recovery system for its SAP S/4HANA software hosted in the cloud. Integrating Google Cloud tools with G Suite and hosting SAP S/4HANA on Google Cloud provided the answer.

“Reliability is key for us, as we want to avoid any kind of business disruption, especially during peaks,” says Saleh Al Fadhel, CFO at Herfy. “We need all our technology provisioning to be scalable and secure, as well as flexible enough to respond to our changing needs.”

Safeguarding infrastructure for SAP S/4HANA on Google Cloud

Herfy’s SAP S/4HANA architecture was hosted on-premises, but the company wanted to move its architecture into the cloud to safeguard its infrastructure, gain better performance, reduce downtime, and implement a disaster-recovery plan, all while lowering costs. Now, with S/4HANA on Google Cloud, Herfy runs its three-system landscape, consisting of product development, quality control, and production operations, in the cloud. “All our restaurants, van sales, and materials orders run on SAP, as well as our entire supply chain,” explains Sajan.

“The integration between BigQuery and SAP on Google Cloud is fantastic. We can load our POS data into BigQuery and access it via SAP’s Analytics Cloud. The integration works on multiple levels, making it easier for us to turn our data into insights.”

Sajan Nair, IT Director, Herfy

Following a month-long proof of concept to test performance and pricing with Google Cloud and a leading competitor, Herfy chose Compute Engine to host its SAP S/4HANA system. “Based on our POCs, the alternative would have been 200% more expensive,” says Sajan. Herfy also wanted to integrate not only its SAP environment to Google Cloud but a number of new Google Cloud services, such as Mobile Management for its 200 van drivers who use SAP Direct Store Delivery for van sales and G Suite for greater team collaboration.

The company not only needed a high-performing cloud platform at a lower cost, it also needed access to in-depth analysis of its data from various sources. “The integration between BigQuery and SAP on Google Cloud is fantastic. We can load our POS data into BigQuery and access it via SAP’s Analytics Cloud. The integration works on multiple levels, making it easier for us to turn our data into insights.” The huge amount of data that Herfy receives every day from its POS and call center can now be uploaded into BigQuery, and Herfy’s team can use Google Data Studio and SAP’s Analytics Cloud to make dashboards and reports for the business.

Herfy uses BigQuery to gain data insights from two billion records from its back-office system. “Before, we weren’t able to produce two- or three-year reports, because the system couldn’t handle the data volumes,” says Sajan. “Now that the records have been migrated to BigQuery, it’s incredibly easy to create a year-on-year report using BigQuery and Data Studio, even on a Chromebook.”

As well as hosting its SAP S/4HANA system on Google Cloud, Herfy uses Google Cloud tools to host its call centers and answer a number of other important business needs, including a biometric attendance solution for accurately logging employee working hours and requesting absences that are hosted on Compute Engine. Herfy uses these Google Cloud tools to run its own API which connects employees’ working hours and absences information to its human resources system.

“Any issue with our data center used to stop business completely, affecting not only the call center, but also orders from online aggregators,” says Sajan. “That kind of disruption was costing us a lot of money. Moving to Google Cloud has improved our performance in those areas significantly. Communication time is around three times faster than before.”

“I would say there has been a complete cultural shift at Herfy after adopting G Suite and deploying SAP S/4HANA on Google Cloud. We’re now a modern IT department, and as an added bonus, we’re also finding it easier to attract new talent.”

Sajan Nair, IT Director, Herfy

Greater flexibility and productivity with SAP on Google Cloud

Moving S/4HANA to Google Cloud, and integrating it with Google Cloud tools such as BigQuery and G Suite, has given Herfy greater flexibility and agility to react to evolving business needs. Herfy is also shifting its work culture to one that’s more collaborative and data driven. Information is shared across teams, providing better management reporting, and decisions are made with confidence. “I would say there has been a complete cultural shift at Herfy after adopting G Suite and deploying SAP S/4HANA on Google Cloud,” says Sajan. “We’re now a modern IT department, and as an added bonus, we’re also finding it easier to attract new talent.”

Moving to Google Cloud has also allowed Herfy to use its existing communication infrastructure to build its own private cloud network using Cloud VPC and Cloud VPN to connect more than 800 SAP users across the company, from 52 cities throughout Saudia Arabia. This helped it to remove unwanted MPLS connections and thereby reduce IT communication spending.

Herfy’s systems are more robust and secure, and by creating custom business solutions, it is also saving money. “Without a doubt, our system is more reliable since moving to Google Cloud,” says Sajan. “We no longer depend on the availability of an IT technician to solve our problems, and by moving from CapEx to OpEx, we no longer have to invest in upgrading hardware and licenses every few years. Our customer care and maintenance help desk solutions alone would cost more than a quarter of a million dollars each if we had purchased standalone solutions.”

“Herfy has been a market leader in Saudi Arabia for almost three decades now, and we are continuing our expansion to other countries in the coming months,” explains Sajan. “Mr. Ahmed Alsaid, our founder and CEO, says that in order to succeed, you must invest in the right technology. Google Cloud aligns perfectly with our business requirements and enables us to achieve our business results.”

About Herfy

Founded in 1981, Herfy is one of Saudi Arabia’s largest and most successful fully integrated food service companies. Its fast food chain comprises 390 outlets, with franchises in Kuwait and Bangladesh. The company also runs top-of-the-line bakeries, and a state-of-the-art meat processing plant.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: Saudi Arabia
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