Force Motors Chooses HPE Infrastructure to Forge Ahead on Its Digital Transformation Journey
India’s leading fortune 500 company choses HPE’s scalable, future-ready platform for a total IT infrastructure revamp to host its new and existing business-critical applications in alignment with its ambitions and digital journey Force Motors Ltd, one of India’s leading Fortune 500 companies, and flagship company of Dr. Abhay Firodia Group, has witnessed remarkable success since its inception in 1958. The group has been on an expansion spree over the past few years with path-breaking new products, joint ventures, and signing agreements to be the sole supplier for engines/axles for big names such as Mercedes and BMW. The aggressive growth plans outpaced what the existing IT infrastructure could support, so a total infrastructure and applications revamp was the only recourse. There was a dire need for an IT infrastructure that could become the foundation for all current and future applications, thereby allowing the company’s business to continue steadily on its development path.
“Our digital strategy is an evolving journey woven with numerous initiatives to achieve process improvements, automations, enhanced customer experience bearing in mind the technology disruptions, changing product road maps, and industry 4.0 expectations. New solutions like S/4 HANA, Business Intelligence, new HR solution suite, an 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. 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, Group IT Head and expert in HANA consulting projects, Force Motors
Business Growth Drives the Need for Change
There has been constant organic and inorganic growth at Force Motors and Jaya Hind Industries—part of Dr. Abhay Firodia group and one of India’s largest provider of aluminum casting to global OEMs. To understand the need for the infrastructure revamp, it’s important to get a quick overview of the aggressive growth that the group has been embarking upon. Jaya Hind Industries manufactures a wide portfolio of critical components for automotive and non-automotive OEMs. The company has one of India’s largest in-house tool design and manufacturing capability and largest die casting capacity. Force Motors, on the other hand, is a leading supplier of utilitarian, low-cost, mass transport vehicles such as vans, trucks, and buses for over 60 years. The automotive giant has now become a leading supplier of powertrains to BMW and Mercedes. It 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 launches of several new vehicles, designed and developed indigenously, along with the support of global design houses.
All this expansion stretched the group’s IT infrastructure to its limits, potentially impairing IT services, thereby, preventing the group from surging ahead on its ambitious business goals. Multiple SAP® landscapes, dispersed infrastructure, need for faster dash boarding, and analytics with drill downs to Nth KPI/document, administrative complications, and technology advancements were just a few of the complexities that had become needlessly complicated to manage.
This growth also demanded constant business process re-engineering, necessitating infrastructure and application scalability to boost the organization’s analytical capabilities—extremely crucial in today’s data-driven economy. 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 three SAP landscapes, upgrade of the dealer management system, and implementation of HR solutions, as well as business intelligence suite for the group, among other things.
“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.”
– Arif Poonawala, Director, Unique Solutions
HPE Chosen to Lead the IT Transformation
With a clear vision to upgrade and consolidate the group’s IT infrastructure for the applications to support the diverse business portfolio of the group, the IT leadership created a project road map with well-defined milestones. An SAP sizing report was created and used to minutely study, analyze, and deliberate on the requirements. Scalability was a key driver so that the solutions could meet the group’s growing business demands. SAP certification was another key parameter to ensure predictable and reliable performance of the solution. A few other crucial parameters such as supported software, OS, middleware, TCO, support services, and leveraging of existing investments were also critical for Force Motors. For several months, the IT team carried out a detailed analysis and evaluated solutions from several leading OEMs based on an elaborate RFP. Finally, the group awarded the project to HPE and Unique Solutions. System downtime and data loss can be a nightmare for any organization, which is why Force Motors needed a watertight high-availability solution. For this, the company used the HPE Serviceguard kit. This ensures 24x7 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.
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 SAP® BusinessObjects™ BI solutions. Force Dealer Management System (FDMS), the other major business-critical application, would be upgraded on latest technology platforms to give dealers a superior experience while eliminating performance bottlenecks. The DMS would be hosted on the HPE Synergy composable infrastructure and HPE 3PAR storage providing single-pane management and templated provisioning of resources.
“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 support, which ensures unified problem resolution, 24x7.”
– Joybrata Mukherjee, Director—Channel, SI, Alliances, and Service Providers, HPE India
Key Reasons for Choosing HPE and Unique
The HPE 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 Serviceguard business continuity solution, audit-compliant backup solution, and the capability to leverage existing investments played an important role in favoring HPE and its channel partner Unique Solutions.
“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,”
– Praveen Karnavat, President Corporate Materials, Force Motors.
FUTURE ROAD MAP
Force Motors will soon have a future-proof IT infrastructure to boast of and the new scalable architecture will lay the necessary foundation to ensure that it can sprint ahead on its ambitious plans. Especially, with large transformations such as MES and Groupwide PLM already under discussion. IT will no longer be an obstacle to growth but would be an enabler during this journey.
In the words of Pradeep Dhadiwal, Senior Vice President, Corporate and Controlling, Force Motors, "Digital transformation is no longer a matter of choice that an organization can make. It is inevitable."