Home building firm Rawson Group needed a better way to monitor its SAP system using internal resources. With an implementation of syslink Xandria, the company has already achieved greater visibility and control.
Rawson Group has grown from a small home building company established by three brothers in Dubbo in 1978, to a $300 million business – still family-owned.
Rawson Group implemented SAP ERP around five years ago, including FI/CO, payroll, materials management and project management modules.
Matthew Gardiner, IT manager at Rawson Group, says over the last 12 months, the company has focused on building internal skills and capability around all of its technology, to bring previously outsourced support and skills in-house. Its SAP system was supported 100 per cent by external consultants.
“That really is about getting better knowledge and control of what our systems are, building up those skills, becoming more self-reliant. Particularly around SAP, we were trying to get some tools that could make it a lot more visible for us,” says Gardiner.
“The challenge we were facing was how can we manage our system without having the right skills and right tools.”
To monitor its SAP system, the Rawson Group was already using SAP Solution Manager extensively, also managed by an external consultant.
“But we found from an internal point of view, it was just too hard to come to grips with Solution Manager, as it’s very difficult to work with. It takes a lot of experience and knowledge to know what you’re seeing, and there was a lot of noise that came out of Solution Manager. We were having a lot of trouble distinguishing what was important out of that,” says Gardiner.
The Rawson Group considered a number of different monitoring tools, all of which were fairly generic and not specific to SAP. When they found syslink Xandria, they felt it was a good match to their needs.
“We were looking for something that could be pretty simple to use, that could easily highlight the things that were important, and leave the things that weren’t so important behind,” says Gardiner.
Developed by syslink specifically for the purpose of monitoring SAP systems, Xandria provides preconfigured SAP knowledge and benchmarks, and this was a factor in Rawson Group’s decision to choose the tool.
“It was definitely an added benefit that I was happy with, to the extent we had an alternative source of external knowledge that our internal people could draw upon to help them solve issues,” Gardiner says.
Rawson Group decided to trial Xandria with a proof of concept project. syslink worked with Rawson to establish this pilot over two to three days’ effort over a period of several weeks. This included coordination of infrastructure and Basis work.
“The actual time spent doing it was pretty small,” Gardiner says. “We were very happy. The information that we started getting was quite easy for us to understand, and we got some stuff that was quite useful to us quite quickly.”
Having run the proof of concept for six weeks, Rawson Group was ready to go ahead with implementing Xandria for its full SAP system.
“We just converted the proof of concept into live production. We got the full licence and installed that, and with really very little else to do, it’s now up and running,” says Gardiner.
“Even though it has only been a short time, we have recently received a couple of really important alerts to highlight some areas where we were running out of space – things we probably wouldn’t have noticed or not been able to see proactively anyway.”
Gardiner says achieving the visibility of what’s happening in the company’s SAP environment, and having more knowledge and control of systems in-house, has been key.
“Right now, we’ve had quite a few issues around performance which cropped up with end-of-month processing. So we’re actively using syslink Xandria to try and dig into the reasons behind that, and help us understand what’s happening in our system,” he says.
“I am expecting that as we use Xandria over an extended period of time, and we’ve built some history and knowledge of our system into that tool, we’ll get to see how the system is trending. That will help us with understanding what capacity we have and predicting more of the capacity for the future.
“I hope that will mean more stability as well, because we will be on top of what’s happening with the system and be able to address those issues before they arise.”
Even the company’s Basis consultant has been impressed with Xandria.
“Surprisingly, he has taken this on board with a great deal of enthusiasm, and he’s extremely pleased with the product and how it works. He’s worked with Solution Manager quite a lot in the past and was pretty comfortable with it, but he loves [Xandria],” says Gardiner.
In the future, Rawson Group plans to install Enhancement Pack 7, and perhaps look at SAP HANA as well.
“Having tools that help us understand what needs to happen to make those transitions work smoothly is pretty important. We’ve got a variety of other feature implementations that we’ll probably put in place over the next couple of years, and again, a tool that helps make those transitions smooth is good to have.”