Force Motors Chooses HPE Infrastructure to Forge Ahead on Its Digital Transformation Journey

By : |July 17, 2019 0

One of India’s leading Fortune 500 companies, Force Motors has witnessed remarkable success since its inception in 1958. Since the last few years the group is on an expansion spree with path-breaking new products, JVs, and being the sole supplier for Engines/Axles for big names like Mercedes and BMW. The expansion outpaced the existing IT infrastructure necessitating significant enhancements. The group realized that a total Infrastructure and Applications revamp was essential to support its aggressive plans. The company needed an IT infrastructure that could become the foundation for all current and future group applications, thereby allowing the company’s business to continue steadily on its development path.

Following a detailed evaluation, Force chose HPE Infrastructure platform to host the new and enhanced business-critical applications in perfect alignment with Force Motors’ ambitions and digital journey.

Business Growth Drives the Need for Change

Force Motors Limited, flagship company of the Dr. Abhay Firodia Group, has achieved new milestones reflecting growth in both organic and in-organic mode. These upgrades concurrently demanded reengineering of the business processes, necessitating infrastructure and application scalability to boost the organization’s analytical capabilities which are extremely crucial in today’s data-driven economy. To understand how Jaya Hind Industries and Force Motors overcame this scenario with the help of HPE and Unique Systems, let’s take a closer look at its business.

Jaya Hind Industries (part of Dr. Abhay Firodia Group) is among India’s largest and most trusted, end-to-end solution provider for critical aluminum castings to the global OEMs. The company has a wide portfolio of manufacturing critical components ranging from 5gm upto 30kg, serving a variety of industries in automotive as well as non-automotive OEMs. Jaya Hind Industries has India’s one of the largest in-house tool design and manufacturing capability and largest die-casting capacity.

Force Motors is a leading supplier of utilitarian, low cost, mass transport vehicles like vans, trucks and buses for over 60 years. As a part of its ongoing growth plan, Force Motors has also become a leading supplier of powertrains to BMW and Mercedes. The group has also recently acquired Volkswagen’s MAN Trucks manufacturing plant in Madhya Pradesh, India, and signed a joint venture agreement with Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG to manufacture high-powered diesel engines. The company has achieved new milestones with several launches of new vehicles, designed and developed indigenously as well as with support of Global Design Houses.

The expansions had stretched the group’s IT infrastructure to its limits, hindering its ambitious business initiatives. Multiple SAP landscapes, Dispersed Infra, Necessity of faster Dashboarding and Analytics with drill downs to Nth KPI/Document, Administrative complications, Technology advancements were some of the complexities & key technical challenges on-hand.

Strong business growth at Force Motors made their existing solutions inadequate in coping with the latest technological and business needs. The need for a robust, dependable and agile system thus became imperative for the planned large scale IT transformations in the group. The program in the first year included an IT infrastructure upgrade, S/4 HANA migration for 3 SAP Landscapes, Upgrade of the Dealer Management System and implementation of HR solutions suite, Business Intelligence etc. for the group.

HPE Chosen to Lead the IT Transformation

With a clear vision to upgrade & consolidate the group’s IT infrastructure for the applications to support the diverse business portfolio of the group, the IT leadership took charge of the situation and created a project roadmap with well-defined milestones. An SAP sizing report was created and used to study, analyze and deliberate on the requirements. Every miniscule technical detail was considered like CPU architecture (Intel Skylake or Broadwell) and Memory DIMM combinations, considering the size of HANA database, as SAP HANA was part of the roadmap.

The key business requirements were taken into consideration while putting together a comprehensive RFP document. Scalability was one key driver. The solution had to be scalable enough to meet the growing business demands of the group. SAP certification was another key parameter to ensure predictable and reliable performance of the solution. A few other crucial parameters like supported software, OS, middleware, TCO, support services and leveraging of existing investments were also critical for Force Motors.

“Many factors contributed to our decision to go with HPE, primary being scalability, SAP certified appliances, futuristic infra, cost, relevant credentials and the fact that HPE allowed us maximum reutilization of our existing investments in products that were still under support.”-Abhijit Bhalerao, Head IT, Force Motors Group Companies

The team evaluated different solutions from leading OEMs on the basis of an elaborate RFP. For several months, the IT team carried out a detailed analysis of vendors and their products and key differentiators respectively. At the end of this period, the group awarded the project to HPE and Unique Solutions. According to Mr. Abhijit Bhalerao, who heads the group IT and an expert having led many HANA consulting projects in the past, “Many factors contributed to our decision to go with HPE, primary being scalability, SAP certified appliances, futuristic infra, cost, relevant credentials and the fact that HPE allowed us maximum reutilization of our existing investments in products that were still under support.”

Evolution towards a Transformative Thinking

A complete revamp of the IT infrastructure and business applications is a long journey, which is best taken in stages. While part deployment of HPE Infrastructure has taken place at Force Motors, the rest is in the pipeline and moving as planned. The group has deployed SAP S/4 HANA for both Force Motors and its parent company, Jaya Hind Industries. Earlier, each business was running separate production clients on the same instance of SAP. Now, they decided to host two different SAP S/4 HANA landscapes in a multi-tenant deployment on HPE’s ConvergedSystem CS500 appliance. The recent JV in Power systems too has a separate green-field S/4 HANA landscape.

“The HPE solution supports large data volumes on SAP HANA database and is optimized to run SAP business application workloads guaranteeing predictable application performance. Managing HPE solutions was also easy as the CS500 HANA Appliances come with dedicated HPE CoE (Centers of Excellence) support, which ensures unified problem resolution, 24×7”- Joybrata Mukherjee, Director – Channel, SI, Alliances and Service Providers, HPE India

System downtime and data loss can be a nightmare for any organization, which is why Force Motors needed a water-tight high availability solution. For this, the company took HPE Serviceguard kit. “HPE Serviceguard kit ensures 24×7 application availability by continuously monitoring the health of the infrastructure and other resources impacting availability of the workload or service within a cluster. This has also ensured better RPO/RTO due to its automated failover of the operating system and database.” said Joybrata Mukherjee, Director – Channel, SI, Alliances and Service Providers, HPE India

The company further plans to use SAP Fiori and CDS platform to generate insights from HANA’s embedded analytics, augmented with SAP’s data warehousing with BW on HANA and Business Objects solutions.

“Our digital strategy is an evolving journey woven with numerous such threads (initiatives) to achieve process improvements, automations, enhanced customer experience bearing in mind the technology disruptions, changing product roadmaps, and Industry 4.0 expectations. New solutions like S/4 HANA, Business Intelligence, new HR solution suite, upgraded Dealer Management system and several others to be hosted on HPE Infrastructure are an essential part of this digital expedition we have embarked upon,” said Mr. Bhalerao.

Force Dealer Management System (FDMS), the other major business-critical application would be upgraded on latest technology platforms (Hardware + OS + Database) to give dealers a superior experience while eliminating performance bottlenecks like complex reports, browser incompatibility, etc. The new dealer management system would be hosted on HPE’s Synergy Composable Infrastructure and HPE 3PAR Storage providing single pane management and templatized provisioning of resources.

“We’ve been an HPE Gold partner for over two decades. The new infrastructure for Force Motors was completely designed and deployed by us. We have all the required skillsets and experience of deploying solutions on SUSE, RHEL, VMware, and backup solutions on complex infrastructure landscapes with HPE’s CS500, Synergy, 3PAR, and StoreOnce”, said Mr. Arif Poonawala, Director of Unique Solutions.

Key Reasons for Choosing HPE and Unique

Quality is a way of life at Force Motors. It’s ingrained in everything – culture, products and people. Technology could not be an exception to this mantra and hence to have the best quality Infrastructure as a platform, HPE was chosen for this Digital Transformation journey.

HPE’s Infrastructure was the right fit in terms of solution requirements and compatibility with existing and newer versions (planned) of SAP deployments at Force Motors. There had also been a 15-year long partnership between Unique Solutions/HPE and Force Motors. Thus, factors such as collaborative support provided by HPE, its Serviceguard business continuity solution, audit-compliant backup solution, and the capability to leverage existing investments played an important role in tilting the balance in favor of HPE and its channel partner Unique Solutions.

Mr. Praveen Karnavat (President, Corporate Materials, Force Motors) said, “In Unique Solutions and HPE, we have found a reliable partner. Their solution understanding, expertise and excellent service support are proven through almost a decade long strong association with them.”

Future Roadmap

Force Motors will soon have a future-proof IT infrastructure to boast of. The new scalable architecture would lay the necessary foundation to ensure that Force Motors can sprint ahead on its ambitious plans especially with large transformations like MES & Groupwide PLM already under discussion. IT will no longer be an obstacle to growth but would be an enabler during this journey.

In words of Mr. Pradeep Dhadiwal (Sr. VP – Corp. & Controlling, Force Motors), “Digital transformation is no longer a matter of choice that an organization can make. It is inevitable.”

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