The impact of China’s Internet+ strategy has been felt around the world. Products relating to the strategy are on enterprises’ wish lists, and data is increasingly recognized as a vital resource ─ “the new oil” according to some. It’s clear that cloud and big data are the keys to digital transformation.
In the information age, the logistics industry is becoming interconnected with ecommerce, retail, and a range of other services that’s leading to new partnerships. In China, for example, the courier service SF Express has entered the retail business, while Cainiao Logistics is working with the ecommerce giant Taobao. As a result, the data created from these types of businesses is set to grow exponentially as logistics companies evolve into big data companies and data becomes a core business strategy.
Today, the global logistics industry is worth more than US$8.5 trillion, and is growing at nearly 7 percent annually. While multi-type, multi-structured, and multi-industry data has strategic value, it also presents a challenge for global logistics enterprises when it comes to digital transformation.
Founded in the 1940s, Andreani, Argentina’s largest logistics company, is an example of good practice.
Andreani provides logistics services for a range of industries, and its operations extend to South America’s other major market, Brazil.
Andreani has built on more than 70 years of experience in logistics to expand its reach into ecommerce, becoming the first commercial platform to offer end-to-end solutions in Argentina. Its services include product warehousing and storage, packaging, supplier management, and door-to-door delivery. Its thousands of customers include many big names, including Santander Bank and Hewlett-Packard.
But, the increasing volume of business meant that Andreani’s data has kept growing. The company also faced a classic IT upgrade problem: Its original IT architecture wasn’t flexible enough for large-scale concurrent operations, placing growing pressure on its business. Digital transformation was the answer.
As data was the source of Andreani’s problems, data integration, storage, and cloud computing were the keys to the solution. As the company started on its digital transformation journey, four issues emerged:
One, its data center was served by four suppliers, which complicated operations and management due to a lack of coordination and unified platform.
Two, after expanding into ecommerce, data traffic increased but the background system architecture wasn’t scalable and had low data concurrency. As a result, the user interface was often slow and no disaster recovery plan was in place.
Three, the real-time requirements for data processing required a large and stable private network. But, its cloud service provider was using a SAP ERP system that had no local nodes, delaying application system networks and delivering a poor user experience.
Four, Andreani’s core warehousing system used VMware tech and Veeam remote disaster recovery, so disaster recovery sites were expensive to build and at least some downtime was inevitable.
As an industry leader, Andreani's problems are representative of the entire logistics industry in its early transformation period. It needed new solutions through working together with upstream and downstream businesses, as well as forging new links with cross-industry ecosystem partners.
In October 2016, Huawei and Telefonica Business Solutions jointly launched Open Cloud and Cloud Server services in Chile, Brazil, and Mexico in a partnership designed to help traditional IT go to the cloud. Huawei provided innovative hardware and software solutions, including servers, storage, networking, and cloud operating systems. It also provided technical support for both Open Cloud and Cloud Server services.
Open Cloud allowed Andreani to achieve cloud transformation and benefit from service support covering strategy, corrective measures, and O&M:
Open Cloud delivers a complete solution for data migration, improves O&M, and helped to migrate Andreani’s existing application systems to TOC cloud. The company can gradually unify its decentralized data centers and meet the operating demands of governing multiple data centers on one O&M platform.
At the infrastructure level, Open Cloud provides cloud servers and scalable services to help the IT infrastructure of Andreani’s ecommerce platform go to cloud; enable the platform to achieve flexible, scalable and resource-agile expansion; and deliver a targeted disaster recovery solution.
With its inherent advantages in network resources and geography, Open Cloud uses local nodes to reduce the network latency of business applications, such as Andreani SAP DEV&QAS, and enhance the cloud application experience. It’s helped Andreani build a cost-effective, stable, and robust disaster recovery system by providing a highly reliable and PAYU-based disaster recovery solution for its core warehousing system.
The DR (disaster recovery) solution provided by Open Cloud is a key solution that, in any industry and especially logistics, is worth millions of dollars. Even a minor problem with a data center may cause the entire logistics chain to collapse.
Open Cloud DR is one of the solution’s most successful business application models, providing support for future market expansion in various fields.
Today, Telefonica and Huawei are preparing to launch Open Cloud public cloud services with a customized three-step process specifically for Andreani. Ecommerce and core warehousing system disaster recovery will go to cloud, and SAP network delays will be reduced. This project will provide Andreani with a complete set of efficient and high-performance disaster recovery solutions, plus the comprehensive and unified management of different cloud platforms. It will enhance O&M efficiency, lower overall disaster recovery TCO, and provide a solid foundation for integrated data storage, allowing Andreani to develop innovative new services including IoT, robotics, and process optimization, helping the company enter the smart logistics era.