December 9, 2023

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You don’t have to be at retail to know what the big deal is about Black Friday. Promotions are everywhere, from billboards to online, for sale the day after the US Thanksgiving holiday. Balance, a personal finance content website, states that Black Friday is one of the biggest and most profitable retail days of the year.

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And the phenomenon extends far beyond the US: reports that nearly 20 different countries have Black Friday sales. But what if a retail company faces the prospect of its core digital system going down during this crucial four days?

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building on a solid foundation

And that brings us to Carrefour – a French conglomerate and a leading global retailer. Carrefour has been a leader in the large food retail business for over 60 years. The company reaches over 100 million homes a year and receives over one million single visits to all of its online shopping websites every day.

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It’s impressive, isn’t it? But leaders of Carrefour’s Brazil unit were concerned that their outdated enterprise resource planning (ERP) system would not be able to meet the demands of the post-pandemic world. It was time to take their technology to the next level – a new ERP in the cloud, which would be able to move more quickly and at the same time. Plus, save a lot of money.

what does the clock tick for

As they faced this reality, the people of Carrefour were hearing the loud sound of the clock ticking. Black Friday was just a few months away. “If there was any delay in the delivery of the project, the existing data center would have to be closed. In other words, the company will increase its costs for demand in November, when Black Friday happens,” said Paulo Henrique Farrocco, CIO of Carrefour Brasil. At that point, he had a little over three months to complete it.

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power of partnership

Carrefour chose SAP S/4HANA as the only system that would cover their entire process from origination, risk management and logistics through back-office processes from finance, accounting and tax to operational processes. And they chose Migno, a partner for the project, because it was the most innovative option, where all the steps of their data migration could happen automatically through software. Using artificial intelligence tools, it understands databases, diagnoses projects, automates conversion steps, and performs automatic updates.

to mark

With all the pieces in place in the plan, Carrefour completed the migration to a new data center and connectivity services structure in just three months. The highly complex project involved migrating from an old on-premises system to a cloud software-as-a-service environment – updating the integration architecture using the new middleware, and installing the latest version of the new ERP. It was a big step into the future, and just as important, everything was well prepared ahead of Black Friday.

add it all

Carrefour is already seeing benefits from the project. It is reducing the operating cost by up to 40%. The migration opens up the possibility for stores to anticipate whether the quantity of products ordered will increase or decrease, tailored to what their customers need. With more robust and faster analysis of sales orders, they are predicting increased profitability.

Carrefour is reducing energy consumption by up to 45% by moving from on-premises data centers to the cloud. The project minimized service disruption for buyers and employees with seamless migration to on-premises apps. And Paulo Faroco of Carrefour says, “As we continue to implement best practices and optimize our operations in the cloud, we will be able to reduce our costs even further in the future.”

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The project earned Carrefour a winner status at the 2022 SAP Innovation Awards, honoring organizations that have used SAP products, services, solutions and offerings to benefit both business and society. You can read the details behind Carrefour’s achievement in their Innovation Awards pitch deck.

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