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Srini Muddala, manager of business warehouse and intelligence at Scotts Miracle-Gro, is a big fan of House Hunters, a reality show on HGTV where a couple seeking a home examines three properties and then decides which one they want to buy. Muddala often takes that process to the IT department at Scotts to decide on technology purchases. Scotts employed the process of elimination when it decided to go with a phased SAP HANA implementation, and then did the same when choosing Bethesda, Maryland-based Virtustream as its cloud implementation partner.
In this interview with SearchSAP.com, Muddala talks about the factors that went into deciding on a cloud implementation partner and what the challenges were.
What went into choosing an implementation partner for SAP HANA?
Srini Muddala: One of the things we wanted to look at was whether they were a certified SAP HANA cloud partner. Did they have good technical functional skills that could support us? We also needed to know how flexible they were in terms of support. These were the three big things we looked at, and from what I've seen, these three stood out from what we thought the cloud partnership should be.
Are there a lot of cloud partners out there for HANA?
Muddala: There are a few, but there are also some that are certified but they maybe provide a different model of support. What we wanted was seamless support. We have a Basis team that they need to support. We also have a security support team. They had different elements of support and then we chose the one we wanted. I think that's what our position was going in.
We also got references from customers and I personally talked to them. That is huge. If I get two negatives and one positive out of three, that's not good.
[Virtustream] has been good so far, and they'll be better once they work more with our group and learn what SLAs [service level agreements] they need to meet for us and then put that into their process. Then everything will be even more seamless.
What has been your biggest challenge in implementing SAP HANA?
Muddala: The biggest challenge has probably been analyzing the options. We spent a lot of time analyzing what it takes to choose this versus [that]. We actually visualized our entire project in two weeks. We analyzed the whole project of seven months.
I wouldn't even call the technical challenges a challenge. Technical things are technical things and they're expected in any format in any option. So I just helped the end users understand what might come up. Nothing is a showstopper by any means. It's just how you encounter issues when you do certain options versus others.
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