IBM Case Studies Accelerating Business Insights: Balluff's Transformation with IBM DB2 and FlashSystem Technologies
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Accelerating Business Insights: Balluff's Transformation with IBM DB2 and FlashSystem Technologies

Application Infrastructure & Middleware - Database Management & Storage
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - Private Cloud
Construction & Infrastructure
Electrical Grids
Sales & Marketing
Picking, Sorting & Positioning
Time Sensitive Networking
Cloud Planning, Design & Implementation Services
System Integration
Balluff, a world-leading manufacturer of sensor solutions, was facing challenges due to growing data volumes. The company's sales and business development reports were taking longer to produce, and processing tasks scheduled to run overnight were almost running into business hours. This was negatively affecting information availability and application performance. The company needed to accelerate access to information to support its sales and business development functions. Balluff wanted to optimize its entire IT environment, including software, servers, and storage, to increase the performance of its transactional SAP ERP environment and boost productivity of its business users across all departments. The company also aimed to improve decision-making with faster, more accurate business analytics capabilities for its data warehouse.
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Balluff GmbH, headquartered in Neuhausen, Germany, is a family-owned company and a world-leading manufacturer of sensor solutions. The company employs around 2,750 people in 50 countries. Balluff offers sophisticated technology, cutting-edge electronics products, application-specific customer solutions, and highly trained service staff. In 2013, the company achieved annual sales of EUR 335 million. Balluff relies on SAP solutions to manage the business, including SAP Business Warehouse for data analysis and reporting. As the business grew, data delivery slowed down, which risked making poor investment decisions and being unable to deliver the best possible service to its customers.
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Balluff implemented a complete IBM solution to run its transactional SAP ERP and analytical SAP Business Warehouse applications. The solution included SAP Business Warehouse with IBM DB2 with BLU Acceleration, IBM Power 750 servers with IBM POWER7+ processors, IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller in combination with IBM V5000 Storage Subsystem and IBM FlashSystem 840, and IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager for quick backups and system copies without downtime. The company upgraded its SAP ERP applications and the underlying IBM server and storage infrastructure before deploying IBM DB2 with BLU Acceleration software to speed up its SAP Business Warehouse application. The company also deployed IBM Tivoli Storage Manager with a next-generation IBM tape solution and an IBM TS4500 Tape Library, using LTO6 tape drives for reliable backup and restoring processes for mission-critical data.
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The implementation of the IBM solution has significantly improved Balluff's business operations. The company has improved access to business documents by a factor of five, accelerated SAP ERP batch operations by a factor of seven, and halved response times in SAP ERP dialog mode. The company has also achieved a 26 percent compression gain, which has helped to cut backup time by 30 percent, and cut database run time of complex reports by up to 98 percent. The solution has also enabled Balluff to transform the speed and reliability of its enterprise information delivery, giving executives fast insight into critical information and helping the company seize new business opportunities. The company has also been able to boost sales activities, and ultimately enhance business results.
98 percent faster access to complex analytics reports on sales and business performance
50 percent faster response times in SAP ERP improves staff productivity
5x faster access to business documents, such as product data sheets
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