The company is moving to a standardised environment to enable its divisions around the world to share data more easily, as it absorbs photo equipment company Konica following a recent merger.
It has become common for multinational companies to consolidate their global IT systems using regional hubs, as economies of scale can lower the cost of ownership and make it easier to support IT assets. Performance bottlenecks can also be overcome when disparate national operations are united.
Shell, BP Amoco and chemical company Bayer are among those corporates that have ongoing global consolidation projects.
Minolta will standardise on Unisys ES7000 servers running Microsoft SQL Server 2000 to support SAP R/3 version 4.5b. Three centralised server hubs in Japan, Germany and the US will provide business applications to more than 60 sites around the world.
Holger Mailand, team manager for system planning and support at Minolta, said, "SAP user answering time on the previous hardware was too long in both standard use and peak periods. With the new configuration, response times are down from several minutes to 0.5 seconds."
The new architecture will support global sales, finance, procurement and customer service, but not HR. In Europe Minolta is moving from 11 Compaq Proliant servers to just two ES7000s.
The Japanese division has already replaced its 10 IBM i-Series servers with ES7000s, which operate the company's 5.5Tbyte R/3 database.