Public cloud, at the base of FAIN's new digital services

 

The service provider company FAIN has chosen the AWS platform to host its SAP systems, a project in which Linke has been its technology partner.

FAIN was born more than 50 years ago. The Spanish elevator specialist company has a wide recognition in the market after having consolidated a solid business investing in quality and innovation. The company, which has a team of 700 employees nationwide and presence in France and Belgium, is a company that annually installs around 1,500 lifts and provides maintenance service to more than 48,000.

As a specialized company implementing technology since their beginnings, the firm has defined innovation as one of their main pillars on their growth strategy. Not only driven from its R&D center, but also from a series of services based on Information (IT), the area from which it is propelling its digital transformation. "Technology, along with people, is what creates our differential value, a "must" to guarantee the quality of our services and innovate," explains José Antonio Sánchez Martín, Systems Director at FAIN.

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The Challenge

fain2FAIN is an organization that operates in residential clients, private corporations and public buildings (hospitals, museums, airports, shopping centers, etc.). It offers traditional maintenance and modernization services to all of them, but also other newly created digital services. In this sense, the company spokesperson explains that “we are convinced that, with technology, we can tackle problems that have a huge impact on people's lives. The IT area not only has to accompany the business by providing it with more efficient processes, but its scope has to reach the external client too.”

Some examples that illustrate the digital approach used by FAIN are the ON-CALL system, which depends from the Systems Area and which allows the elevator to be called and given orders by mobile phone, or the new control screens in solar elevators, which facilitate data such as energy recharge, kilowatts consumed and other parameters that help customers optimize elevator management.

The department lead by José Antonio Sánchez also deals with the fundamental technological solutions for daily management operations, which include business processes, the management of logistics warehouses, the mobile platform that supports the maintenance service, as well as the operations of the Customer Service Center that activate the tasks of the technicians in the event of a breakdown, and the online channel, where the company interacts with 25% of its customers.

Therefore, the continuous improvement of management processes, in combination with the implementation of the new services linked to the digitization has made the company embrace technological modernization, which is based in the cloud to achieve more capabilities and power for its infrastructure. Throughout 2020, the company has carried out a major project in this model, the migration of its SAP systems to the AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud platform with Linke as their executing partner for the initiative.

With this project, for which other private and public cloud alternatives were also evaluated but ultimately discarded, FAIN sought to benefit from a pay-per-use model, which would convert fixed costs into variables, and allow it to take advantage of benefits such as the flexibility and the scalability of resources based on their growth needs. At the same time, FAIN wanted to increase their capacities for storage, security, as well as high availability and disaster recovery.

The solution

Once the company opted for AWS cloud, the project took just ten weeks to be completed. The migration included the development, production and quality environments of FAIN's SAP ERP solution, as well as a change of Oracle´s database version. In addition, a new SAProuter was installed and configured to be able to make direct connections to the SAP system, and it was moved to the public cloud SAP Adobe Document Server, which was a critical solution for the company, since they use this system to create around 50,000 preventive maintenance parts and more than 30,000 invoices a month.

It has been a major initiative in which a large number of AWS solutions and services have been used: Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon VPC, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), Amazon Elastic File System (EFS), AWS Systems Manager Agent (SSM), Amazon CloudWatch and AWS Cloud Formation.

“Linke's experience has made it easy for everything to be very well processed and integrated. The coordination between FAIN IT team and Linke has allowed the project to be carried out successfully, meeting deadlines, costs and expectations”, adds the System´s Director.

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In addition, two aspects that were critical for the organization were also addressed: firstly that users were not affected by the migration process and secondly to ensure the continuity of their systems, including production and the integration with other important systems for the business, which are integrated with SAP systems.

Benefits

fain4There are a number of qualitative benefits that the company has perceived from the beginning. One of them being the scale capacity that has been achieved by starting new machines, without the need to invest in hardware to support the business growth.

It also resolved two issues that concerned the IT management and the company: to increase security and to improve high availability: “These were aspects that we managed internally, but our data and systems continued to grow and, in the end, our scenario was complex and costly to evolve. It has been an important leap because now we have almost infinite capacity in comparison to what we had before”, explains the CIO.

The same applies to cybersecurity, since, as the spokesperson emphasizes, the standard security that a cloud platform can offer is superior to the security at any company. Additionally, FAIN data is made more secured by new DR and backup capabilities, which have been enhanced by having “more storage capacity, more restore points, and a much more secure, faster and less expensive backup system".

In quantitative terms, the firm has optimized the performance of its systems, which has increased up to 30% in the case of batch processes. In addition to that, the time spent on daily backups it now takes minutes, compared to hours that took in the past.

On the other hand, the processes of invoicing and preventing work planning that were particularly important and costly in terms of processing time, have also been reduce by almost 50%.

All these improvements allow the IT team to focus more on tasks that provide high value for its internal and external customers.

The Future

For José Antonio Sánchez, this project has been “an important step towards a future in cloud”, which is already within its grasp. "We are linking some projects with others, and we are at a point where we will soon be able to go without most of our own in-house infrastructure. When we will no longer need to buy new hardware is when our investment in the cloud will be justified".

After this advance in infrastructure, the future at FAIN’s is also towards software application models and platforms as a service (SaaS and PaaS, respectively), since the company is convinced that its commitment to the cloud is going to allow them to take advantage of the potential of other technologies such as the Internet of Things, Big Data or Artificial Intelligence.

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