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Vodafone starts sizeable three-year SAP systems migration to Google Cloud

Telco giant claims project will be one of the largest and most complex SAP migrations ever embarked upon in Europe

Vodafone anticipates that it will take up to three years to move its on-premise SAP system to Google Cloud, in a project that is being billed as one of the biggest and most complex migrations of its kind in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The project, dubbed EVO2CLOUD by Vodafone, is in its pilot phase, and involves moving the SAP system the telco giant has relied on for 15 years to run all of its financial, procurement and HR workloads to the Google Cloud platform. 

More than 100 applications will be moved during the project, which is geared towards linking the SAP estate with the cloud services and data ecosystem Vodafone already has operating in the Google Cloud, with Accenture on hand to assist with the migration.

“As such, EVO2CLOUD is providing standardised SAP solutions and facilitating the transition to a data-centric model that leverages real-time, reliable data to drive data-based corporate decision-making,” the company said in a blog post, detailing the endeavour.  

“Vodafone’s SAP system has been running on-premise for 15 years, during which time it has significantly grown in size, making this one of the largest and one of the most complex SAP migrations in EMEA.”

As previously reported by Computer Weekly, the two companies are long-standing technology collaborators, and signed a six-year deal in May 2021 to expand on their existing work to create a distributed, big data platform to underpin Vodafone’s ongoing digital transformation efforts.

Since then, the company has provided several updates on how its work with Google Cloud is progressing, while talking up the business efficiency and sustainability benefits it claims to have secured as a result of the partnership, which has also given rise to an artificial intelligence platform used to improve customer experience.

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One of the main motivators behind the project is addressing the difficulties Vodafone said it encountered when trying to make full use of the data inside its SAP estate.

“With the transition to the cloud and with Google Cloud tools, [Vodafone] can expand how it uses its data for analytics and process mining,” the blog post added. “This includes operations and monitoring opportunities to map data with other external sources, [including] combining HR data from SAP with other non-SAP data, resulting in data enrichment and additional business value.”

Vodafone said the project is part of a broader body of work it is undertaking to bolster its business agility through the use of Google Cloud’s memory-optimised M1 and M2 family of cloud instances, which are billed as offering enterprises the most compute and memory resources of any of the instance families in Google’s portfolio.

Using these instance types will enable a “step change” in Vodafone’s operating model, the company said, that will provide “increased capacity, high availability, flexibility and consistent enforcement of security rules.”

It will also enable the firm to roll out software updates on a more frequent basis, with Vodafone looking to move away from a biannual release cycle to a weekly one.

“Moving to Google Cloud is in line with Vodafone’s data-centric strategy, which aims to introduce enhanced features in data analytics and artificial intelligence, and effectively serves Vodafone’s employees and customers in more real-time,” the company added.

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