Zuellig Pharma CIO Maikel Kuijpers speaks about digital transformation, Microsoft, and SAP
Zuellig Pharma CIO Maikel Kuijpers speaks about digital transformation, Microsoft, and SAP

Microsoft-SAP Juggernaut: Huge Pharma Moving All SAP Workloads to Azure

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The SAP-Microsoft alliance continues to pile up big wins as a large 100-year-old pharmaceuticals company is moving all SAP workloads to Azure by 2022.

One of Asia’s largest healthcare groups, Zuellig Pharma, is undergoing an end-to-end digital transformation that included upgrading its SAP systems to SAP HANA in-memory data management. 

In planning for that upgrade, the company realized its existing on-premises infrastructure could not handle the requirements for the new digital services HANA would enable. So last year the company selected Microsoft’s Azure cloud as the foundation for its new SAP workloads.

The results have been so positive that Zuellig has decided to move its entire SAP estate of workloads over to Azure.

The migration to SAP Business Suite on HANA, atop Microsoft Azure IaaS, was a huge step in modernizing Zuellig’s applications and giving its customers real-time access to vital data and digital services, said Zuellig CIO and senior VP of operations Maikel Kuijpers in a press release.

“We’re a distribution company with data touchpoints that range from products entering and leaving our warehouses to deliveries at pharmacies and to individual customers. With Azure, we can now grant our pharmaceutical customers access to that data in real time.”

Based on the success of that migration, Kuijpers said, Zuellig plans to move all of its SAP workloads to Azure as part of a 5-year transformation scheduled for completion in 2022.

“We’re going to consolidate all of our workloads in Azure,” said Kuijpers. “We’ll then have even deeper levels of insight into our operations, and we know we’ll have the infrastructure in place to take advantage of it in exciting new ways.” 

Here are some of the advantages the company has gained, according to the press release:

  • a 40% reduction in hosting fees compared to the old on-premises infrastructure, which included IBM DB2 database and UNIX;
  • the ability to deliver innovation data-driven services and value to clients and customers;
  • modern applications and flexible infrastructure for 6,000 concurrent users, 1 million daily transactions, and 12 terabytes of SAP HANA production workloads;
  • the ability to deliver better and more-timely experiences for Zuellig’s 1,000 customers, including many of the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms; and
  • the flexibility to scale compute and storage capacity up and down as needed.

“Suddenly, we weren’t just a customer, but engaged in a two-way relationship with Microsoft,” said CIO Kuijpers.

The Zuellig transformation is an excellent example of what SAP and Microsoft have been striving to achieve through their enhanced partnership designed to simplify and accelerate the journeys of customers to the cloud. You can read more about those efforts in some of our recent work about the Microsoft-SAP partnership:

Disclosure: at the time of this writing, SAP was a client of Evans Strategic Communications LLC.


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