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Transforming Your Enterprise Magazine

Fall 2008

Large Enterprise Business


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The power of partnership

When it came time for a fundamental infrastructure upgrade, the IT teams at Coach needed a technology partner that had the tools, technologies and partnership approach to make the project a success.

The power of partnership

Founded in 1941 as a family-run workshop, Coach has become a preeminent designer, producer and marketer of fine accessories and gifts. Since the late 1990’s, the company has grown 20 percent annually, to more than $3 billion. Coach has a significant presence outside of the U.S. and continues to grow, especially in key Asian markets.

With global growth, Coach began to look at how well its technology infrastructure supported the evolution of the business. The company acquired and implemented SAP in 1997 for purchasing, financials and sales, running it on HP AlphaServer systems. Coach made incremental improvements to the application but ran it on the same hardware platform.

In 2007, both the hardware platform and the SAP version were coming to end of life. That’s when Brian Demay, Divisional Vice President of Systems and Architecture at Coach, knew it was time for change. “We wanted a new technology platform that could sustain future growth. And with our global expansion, we knew we could benefit from a lot of the new functionality available in SAP ECC 6.0, especially the multi-language capabilities,” says Demay.

With the HP AlphaServer system and SAP 4.5B, Coach did not have the 24-hour system availability required to support a global business. In addition, Coach was unable to integrate the multi-language capabilities with its existing hardware because of lack of database scalability.

“Our key goals from a functionality perspective were to enable users to work in their languages of choice and to eliminate any daily outage,” says Demay. “We also wanted to simplify core processes that our users rely on such as inputting data from Excel® into SAP. And the newer version is much more user friendly, enabling data manipulation without the need for IT involvement.”

The right partner

In January 2007, Coach initiated its partner search for the technical upgrade. The company had already decided to purchase HP hardware, but wanted a partner that could assist with the SAP upgrade and multi-language capabilities. Key criteria included a global company with offshore capabilities, a track record with SAP upgrades and the ability to scale resources as required.

“As we got to know HP, we learned about its extensive consulting presence in the SAP space, which was a key fit for us.” — Mike Hershberger, Divisional Vice President, IS Applications, Coach

“We selected HP formally in May 2007 because it had all of the prerequisites we were looking for,” says Mike Hershberger, Divisional Vice President of IS Applications at Coach. “As we got to know HP, we learned about its extensive consulting presence in the SAP space, which was a key fit for us. But probably the most attractive prospect was having one dedicated global partner for every aspect of the upgrade project.”

The project began in July 2007 with the onboarding of team members. The project team consisted of 15 to 20 part/full time Coach employees, as well as an onshore HP team peppered throughout Coach’s offices in Tokyo, Jacksonville, Florida and New York. There was also an offshore HP team in India that conducted software development and testing as well as providing functional expertise to support teams in Coach offices.

Within a year Coach upgraded its HP Alpha system to HP PA-RISC and then migrated SAP 4.5B to that platform. In September 2007, Coach began the software upgrade to SAP ECC 6.0, which included thousands of custom objects. That went live in April 2008. In May 2008, the company began the Unicode upgrade for multi-language capabilities, which went live three months later.

“What we were able to do in a year is pretty remarkable,” notes Hershberger. “If there was a time crunch, or we needed more people, HP was always flexible in rearranging teams to accelerate work. HP’s expertise ranged from the upgrade logistics and project management to tools like the virtual classroom for collaboration and frank advice on becoming a global company. We completed the project on time and on budget with the exact scheduled downtime that we anticipated while gaining the additional value of knowledge sharing that comes from a trusted partnership.”

Related links

»  HP Services for SAP
»  How to modernize your SAP environment
»  HP Integrity Servers

Table of contents


» Virtual for all the right reasons


» The green standard
» Common Ground: Turning distress into ‘de-stress’


» Rethinking virtualization
» From IT tool to business enabler
» Virtualization beyond IT
» Built for virtualization
» IT leasing makes sense in tough times


» The perfect virtual fit
» Selective outsourcing
» HP fuels The Indy Racing Experience
» Stepping up to service delivery
» The power of partnership
» Dressed for success


» Pick-and-choose-support
» Getting the most out of outsourcing
» Teaching the data center to think green
» Storage briefs
» Data deduplication eases storage headaches


» Mission-critical blades now available
» Taming the wild petabyte
» PDM moves up
» New 8P server addresses capacity, growth needs
» Storage for all sizes
» A SAN for all reasons
» Security without walls
» Putting petabytes to work for your company


» The great leap forward
» Puzzled by power?
» The partner portfolio
» Server management simplified
» Two worlds as one
» The better road to open source
» Two blade servers in one
» Feedback
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