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Johannesburg-based Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) exists to pass legislation, provide a forum for citizen debate, involve the public in law-making and oversee the activities of the provincial executive. To fulfill the smooth delivery of these important civic duties, it relies on enterprise software from SAP – software that’s now easier and cheaper to support after a strategic move to Microsoft cloud swiftly carried out by a trusted Microsoft Partner, Gijima.

Mission-critical business necessity

In common with many other public sector administrations no matter where their location, management at Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) have got used to budget constraints and inventive ways of provisioning tech services the rest of the organization needs to help taxpayers.

But when the need to carry out an extensive hardware upgrade to support a critical business application running on SAP was identified, Director of ICT at GPL, Surendra Chetty, found it an exciting challenge on GPL’s path to digital transformation.

Luckily, a great – and fiscally positive – answer emerged in the shape of a suggested migration of the GPL enterprise service to Microsoft Azure. Intrigued, Chetty authorized a proof of concept demonstration to test the theory and the PoC was extremely sucessful enabling the team to bring up SAP development and test environment in a matter of hours. Chetty could see how the cloud could help GPL’s infrasructure challenges and budget constraints.

“Microsoft Azure enabled us to rapidly provision scalable hardware for our SAP upgrade project,” he confirms.

A million in cost savings

With the help of local ISV Gijima, GPL has created a new environment for SAP’s latest Netweaver release on Azure, complemented by its Business Intelligence solutions.

Chetty reports that the new cloud-delivered version was functional in a few hours and procurement and budget issues that had been holding back development, ceased to be a factor in his thinking. Microsoft’s special cloud funding models, meanwhile, meant GPL’s internal IT team could test the new environment quickly without impacting production.

GPL IT team also reports that they can easily and reliably access SAP applications via Azure with zero latency hiccups. Even better: GPL’s finance team estimates a saving of no less than 1m Rand ($70,000) from the use of cloud, compared to what it would’ve required for the hardware solution. “Migrating our SAP environment to Azure has led to significant cost savings, since we are able to de-provision workloads when they are not utilized,” he adds.