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EMC: Global IT using SAP and cloud solutions

Industry analysts consistently rank EMC® as a leader in its field.


With the cloud playing an increasingly important role across all industries, EMC’s business has grown rapidly, powered by its commitment to innovation and delivering critical business services to a fast growing and diversifying customer base. Today EMC is a thriving $21.7 billion global business with expanding products, services, operations and customers across the globe.


The realities of EMC’s business today make it a very different proposition from when its business systems were first created. No longer a single focus company, with all of its functions performed in-house, EMC’s business is a complex, multichannel, multi-product global organization, serving customers in diverse segments and through a wide range of direct and indirect channels.

As a result, the company’s IT systems and business processes that were built for a simpler business model in the past needed to transform to accommodate the new realities of the business and lay a strong foundation for future growth.

Consequently, EMC’s leadership decided to transform EMC’s global manufacturing, supply chain, finance, procurement and master data management processes and business functions to an entirely new IT platform, based on SAP.

The program, called Propel, was launched in 2010 as the largest ever IT transformation in the company’s history.


Having made the decision to migrate to a completely new ERP environment, EMC recognized that their decision entailed much more than a technology challenge. Business processes had to be assessed and redesigned in order to ensure that EMC gained the maximum efficiencies and effectiveness from the new platform.

Accenture and EMC worked closely together to ensure an agile approach to deployment, preparing business users for new releases and ensuring business readiness and user acceptance as the program progressed.

Virtualization of the solution was a critical element of the Propel program. By virtualizing the SAP application, middleware and database tiers EMC was able to create greater flexibility, scalability, recoverability and performance across the system. Accenture partnered with EMC IT to build an SAP private cloud leveraging VCE’s Vblock™ converged infrastructure.

EMC’s technical teams took control of building the solution, with Accenture providing support in key areas like testing and performance management as well as helping to develop and test the security, availability and remote access capabilities that are fundamental to delivering an effective virtualized business platform.

Deploying a converged infrastructure like VCE’s Vblock system enables the management of system architecture vertically across a unified fabric rather than having to manage individual components (servers, storage, operating systems, networks, etc) horizontally. What that means in practice is simpler processes, fewer tools, lowers costs and greater automation.

And that translates into additional time for IT teams to focus on developing and delivering the powerful benefits of newer SAP technologies—such as HANA—to the business.

The scope of the Propel program included 20 SAP modules, new SAP applications, with 65 legacy applications and 470 Virtual Hosts to support nine SAP landscapes. But even with this degree of transformation in prospect, failing to achieve on-time transition to the new platform was never an option. Quarterly reporting deadlines had to be met with all required users ready and able to complete their work to non-negotiable deadlines.

To achieve that meant working with a real 24/7 delivery model. By leveraging Accenture’s Global Delivery Network, work was able to take place around the world from the East and West Coasts of the US, to Ireland and India—so that the sun never set on the activities required to achieve the go-live commitment.


Unprecedented in its scale and scope, the Propel program has successfully achieved an astonishing transformation to a very ambitious timetable. The benefits are already being seen in the agility, flexibility and scalability that the new platform delivers.

With EMC’s business continuing to develop around the world, its new business systems have to be able to meet both immediate and longer term needs. That’s been achieved with a five-fold increase in scalability, a greater than 150% increase in performance and integration throughput increased by 20 times.

What’s more, moving to a wholly new platform that makes greater use of SAP standard functionality has enabled EMC to retire 65 legacy applications and remove the need for costly customization to support specific business processes.

The standardization and efficiency created means that EMC has already reaped major savings. $10 million was saved at go-live and the new approach to improving will see costs savings rise over time. Accenture and EMC are working on the roadmap for future releases and exploring developments for the solution that will continue the considerable achievements that Propel has already delivered.

Most importantly perhaps, the agility and power of the new platform will ensure that EMC is able to continue its incredible journey of innovation, which will see it helping more customers to harness the power of the cloud to drive their own organizations into the future.

The system is now available as a single global instance across 316 sites around the world with over 40,000 end users.