About Bart & Associates, Inc.
A premier contractor in the government marketplace, Bart & Associates, Inc. (B&A) provides expert enterprise software solutions to a broad range of U.S. government and commercial clients. With a highly qualified staff that includes more than 400 software developers, project managers, and IT specialists and analysts, the company has established a reputation for competence and innovation in enterprise systems modernization. Founded in 1988, B&A is a leading mid-size IT integrator in the Washington, D.C. area.
B&A had been managing its accounting and finance, time tracking, and other legacy business applications on premises. Information within each of these applications was stored in separate systems, requiring employees to manually transfer data between systems. In order for paychecks to be issued, for example, data in the time-tracking system had to be manually transferred to the finance and accounting system. Not only were these processes time-consuming, but the information silos prevented the company from obtaining valuable insights into its performance.
The on-premises environment wasn’t keeping up with B&A’s growth, maintenance of the system was time-consuming, and there was no failover, exposing the company to risk in the event of a natural disaster or power failure. “Maintaining our IT system was an issue, and if something happened, we only had one IT person who could resolve the issue,” says Kelly Sinclair, director of consulting services for B&A. “If he was on vacation, we literally had to pull him back into the office to fix it.”
As B&A grew, company leadership realized that legacy applications had become outdated and they began evaluating different alternatives. Eventually, the company decided to modernize and integrate its disparate systems by implementing SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Rather than implementing SAP ERP on premises, B&A concluded it could save tens of thousands of dollars by deploying its SAP environment in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, and it hired AWS consulting partner Monocle Systems to help with the implementation. “Deploying our SAP environment in the AWS cloud allowed us to focus on our core competencies, while reducing our IT infrastructure,” says Sinclair. “It’s been a win-win for us, and we’ve never looked back.”
Why Amazon Web Services
B&A chose Monocle Systems and AWS because of the cloud service provider’s high-availability model and its low-cost data archiving and backup. It also selected AWS because SAP had certified Business Suite applications for deployment on the AWS platform. “AWS is a supported cloud platform for SAP HANA, and it has the price, performance, and reliability we sought for an SAP hosting solution,” says Jon Friesen, Chief Technologist at Monocle Systems.
With the help of Monocle Systems, B&A deployed SAP ERP in the AWS cloud running on SAP HANA, which positioned the company to perform real-time analytics. It has also implemented SAP CRM, SAP Business Objects, SAP HANA Live, and SAP Fiori.
To host its landscape in the AWS cloud, B&A is using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) as the compute layer for SAP ERP and SAP HANA. It relies on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for secure, durable, and highly scalable object storage. It implemented Amazon Glacier for data archiving and offline storage. And it deployed its environment in an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) to segregate its network with a site-to-site virtual private network.
Altogether, the transition took just four months and was completed at one-third the cost of other infrastructure providers. “AWS enables us to address requirements in days or hours—rather than months or weeks,” says Friesen. “The upfront pricing model of AWS accelerates the budgeting process, and the self-service capabilities enable us to provide lean, streamlined support to our customers throughout the transition.”
By deploying its SAP applications in the AWS cloud, B&A has obtained a high-availability environment critical to the smooth operations of its business. While the AWS platform has delivered 100 percent uptime, the SAP deployment is engineered to rapidly recover even from the loss of an entire AWS Availability Zone. “Failover is a huge benefit and something we didn’t have before,” says Sinclair. “And we’ve had no unscheduled downtime yet, which is big. If the system went down, we would face compliance and financial impacts.”
B&A has also obtained a cost-effective platform for its SAP environment. Rather than maintaining its own data center and servers, the company now pays only for the services it uses, leaving maintenance to AWS. “With AWS, we’ve been able to substantially reduce our IT footprint from both a maintenance and physical space perspective,” Sinclair says. “This, in turn, has allowed us to focus on our core business.”
For any consulting firm, the accurate capture of billable hours is key to the success of the business. And with the AWS cloud and SAP Fiori, B&A employees can now record their time from mobile devices wherever they are. Moreover, with its systems now integrated, the company has greater insight into its financial performance, allowing it to take quick action when performance drops. “We now have the ability to drill into our numbers instead of seeing them at a high level,” Sinclair says.
With the inexpensive and easily configurable cloud architecture that AWS provides, B&A also stood up their own development platform with which to test and deploy new IT solutions. This, in turn, is allowing the company to rapidly accelerate customer project timelines. “The unlimited capacity of the AWS cloud simplifies our resource management, while the hourly utilization model creates new opportunities for research and development,” Sinclair says.
Finally, AWS has provided B&A with an agile platform that allows it to scale up as the company continues to grow. “We wanted the flexibility to scale what we needed, whenever we needed it, and the AWS cloud has enabled us to do that,” says Sinclair. “AWS has provided us with a highly available, scalable infrastructure that’s positioning us for future growth.”
“AWS has provided us with a highly available, scalable infrastructure that’s positioning us for future growth.”
Kelly Sinclair, Director of Consulting Services