Gavin Epstein, Network Platforms Sales Executive

Service-driven ICT solutions provider Network Platforms has partnered with SAP partner Iconisol to offer SAP Business One on a hosted platform. The enterprise resource planning solution has been designed specifically with the small to medium business in mind and is affordable, scalable and flexible. The partnership between Network Platforms and Iconisol looks set to revolutionise the small to medium business market with a comprehensive package that ensures that there is no additional capital outlay for the server infrastructure, maintenance or support.

“When people think of SAP, they think of cost and complexity,” says Gavin Epstein, Sales Executive at Network Platforms. “With solutions such as SAP Business One this is no longer true. The solution is seamless and effortless and, thanks to our partnership with Iconisol, it means that we can now provide a truly integrated and economical solution for the small business.”

This belief around the complexity and cost of SAP solutions has meant that many small to medium enterprises (SME) have lost the opportunity to tap into a technology that is remarkably rich and definitely cost-efficient. SAP Business One (SAP B1) is the fastest growing in the SAP portfolio and has been created specifically for the SME market. It integrates all key business processes from accounting to customer relationship management (CRM) to supply chain management and purchasing, as well as powerful reporting and analytical functionality that delivers a comprehensive view of the business.

The partnership with Iconisol means that the expertise offered by both organisations can now be harnessed to create customisable solutions on hosted platforms. Network Platform specialises in virtual infrastructure and connectivity while Iconisol is a SAP partner focusing exclusively on SAP B1.

Comprehensive cloud

Network Platforms’ Virtual Cloud Infrastructure offers an enterprise platform built using Cisco, HP and VMWare. It eliminates the costly endeavour of having to establish and maintain a data centre for the business as applications can now be hosted at the Network Platforms’ infrastructure in secure data centres that are based locally in Durban, Cape Town, Centurion and Isando.

“Our cloud-based SAP B1 implementation ensures quicker deployment times, lower capital investment and peace of mind,” says Epstein. “Clients know that their solution is secured and managed in a professional data centre.”

The company advocates that businesses, particularly those within the SME space, migrate from an on-premise server solution to the cloud, leveraging its virtual cloud service incorporating enterprise platforms, like SAP Business One.

“We have taken great care to ensure complete security and redundancy in order to ensure that clients on our virtual infrastructure experience the absolute minimum of downtime. We achieve this by implementing multiple fail-safes and redundancies and utilising VMWare to manage the virtual environment, offering the option for live replication of data across multiple datacentres. In addition, comprehensive physical and network security is in effect at all times. In addition to this we offer backup solutions on in depended infrastructures for complete piece of mind,” says Epstein.

Their virtual environment consists of multiple servers and it uses a combination SSD and traditional high speed hard drives within a storage area network, consisting of a cluster of SANs for redundancy. The network layer is also addressed through the implementation of dedicated Cisco switches for the virtual infrastructure configured for automatic failover and all infrastructures are monitored on a 24/7 basis.

“When moving your infrastructure to the Cloud there are a number of benefits to the SME,” Epstein continue. “Your business will gain access to enterprise infrastructure with a lot of redundancy, there is no capital outlay for end of life hardware, there are reduced support costs, it ensures better uptimes due to datacentre power redundancies and it is scalable at a moment’s notice.”

In addition, the company adds value by offering resource utilisation monitoring on server processes, memory and bandwidth accessed through the portal. This portal provides deeper control in terms of server management where clients can quickly provision and manage their servers on demand. It is essential that the right environment and provider are selected when shifting to the cloud, that the provider’s infrastructure and redundancies meet requirements and specifications.

“Not all cloud services are created equal so make sure that you ask the right questions so any decision you make is an educated one,” says Epstein. “We can offer advice on what bandwidth you will require to ensure you always have the access you need. We can answer all questions and provide support and guidance to all clients entering the cloud service realm.”

Network Platforms offers point-to-point fibre solutions to access cloud infrastructure to ensure clients benefit from affordable and adequate capacities. SAP B1 offers the option to integrate existing systems through the SAP B1 APIs in order to automate processes. This capability allows for streamlined management and development of software applications within the business.

The partnership between Network Platforms and Iconisol ensures that SMEs across the country can now tap into a rich ERP resource with all of the functionalities and capabilities expected of an enterprise-level installation, but with an utterly affordable price tag. The two organisations will provide clients with a customisable and layered solution that ticks all the right boxes and delivers in all the required areas.