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.