Florida Crystals Enhances SAP Business Technology Platform with SAP Integration Suite

Among the earliest adopters of SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP), Florida Crystals Corporation (FCC) continues to extract ever-sweeter results from this investment, leveraging the platform along with SAP Integration Suite to gain time efficiencies, simplify migration activities, and enhance integration between SAP and non-SAP systems.

Florida Crystals grows, harvests, and mills its organic sugarcane entirely in Florida, making it the only producer of organic raw cane sugar products 100 percent made in the USA. Known for its golden hues and authentic flavor, the company’s homegrown raw cane sugar is mill-made and unrefined, traveling from stalk to sugar crystal across farming and milling operations within 24 hours of harvest.

As the state’s largest organic farmer, Florida Crystals cultivates sugarcane, rice, and vegetables across 190,000 acres in Palm Beach County, where it also owns and operates two sugar mills, a sugar refinery, a rice mill, a packaging and distribution center, and the largest renewable power plant of its kind in North America. Its subsidiary, ASR Group, jointly owned with Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida, is the world's largest cane sugar refining and marketing company, with an annual production capacity of more than 6 million tons of sugar; it sells sugar under Domino, Redpath, Sidul, and Tate & Lyle brands.

Florida Crystals’ longstanding SAP partnership began with its implementation of SAP R/3, and the farm-to-table organization’s SAP landscape has evolved over time with technology releases and additional SAP solutions to support operations at more than 50 owned and trading-partner facilities in the U.S. and Europe.

Why FCC Leveraged SAP BTP

Between corporate and subsidiary growth—both organic and through acquisitions—and its American Sugar Refining Group ownership, FCC’s integration challenges mounted over time, even after the organization embraced business transformation with SAP S/4HANA in 2015 and migrated to the cloud via a hyperscaler three years later.

In 2022, as FCC moved ahead with SAP BTP to enhance its SAP environments and improve integration between SAP and non-SAP systems, the company’s enterprise architects built a business case for investing in SAP Integration Suite.

A number of factors were at play in the team’s initial decision not to move forward with the suite within FCC’s larger SAP S/4HANA cloud transformation, recalled Sukarna Chirumamilla, Enterprise Architect at Florida Crystals. “Due to the complexity and the dependency of our trading customers, we chose not to do Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) migration to SAP Integration Suite with the entire ERP migration,” he said. “We wanted to make sure we succeeded in the ERP transformation and then tackle this one next.”

Today, Florida Crystals’ journey with SAP Integration Suite is well underway. Last year, said Chirumamilla, the organization’s enterprise architects defined an integration strategy for the broader business and provided a proof of concept (POC) of EDI migration to the organization. Strategically, their focus on integration aligns with what Chirumamilla describes as the company’s “overall IT strategy to rationalize, simplify, and move to a single cloud-based Integration Platform as a Service (IPaaS) model.”

The integration strategy coalesced around two imperatives:

  • Simplicity, including a simplified integration architecture, standards-based integration, and reliable alerting and monitoring.
  • Agility, including the ability to share data across enterprise ecosystems in a secure and scalable method, to adopt out-of-the-box and open integrations, and to enable rapid new application integrations.

Chirumamilla noted the approach also features “a motto of API-first strategy, where we want to use APIs, rather than relying on file-to-file integrations.” Initial POCs showed promising results. According to Chirumamilla, Florida Crystals reduced the amount of time it takes to build integrations and succeeded in improving the simplicity through which the business could create API integrations.

To do so, he explained, Florida Crystals leveraged SAP training and SAP-supplied Integration Suite “boosters” to gain familiarity, speed, and confidence with the tools. The ambitious EDI migration project plan is currently in execution mode. Beginning in June, the plan calls for the migration of around 400 WebMethods (EDI) integrations to SAP Trading Partner Management (TPM) within SAP Integration Suite. According to Chirumamilla, goals for the year will focus on advanced operational reliability for enterprise systems and analytics, including:

  • Converging information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT)
  • Embedding automation and predictive models in decision tools
  • Upgrading OpenText
  • Establishing a data literacy program
  • Executing EDI platform transition

How SAP Integration Suite Modernizes Processes

Through the confluence of SAP BTP and SAP Integration Suite, FCC has unlocked automated monitoring and alert capabilities to proactively manage issues in business operations. “We definitely will implement automated monitoring and alerting through every interface, so that we don’t respond to issues after the fact,” Chirumamilla said. With these capabilities, “we will know what is happening, and we will be able to go to the business, know that an integration failed, and say we’re looking into it.”

Chirumamilla reflected on the “old way” of working with trading partners, in terms of setting up mappings and creating EDI interfaces, and highlighted that Florida Crystals has benefitted from the “significantly reduced” time and effort needed to go through this process with SAP BTP and SAP Integration Suite TPM.

"Today, we rely on SAP Integration Suite," he emphasized. "It perfectly aligns with our needs, as it's a cloud-based solution managed by SAP, the backbone of our operations for the past 25 years. Adding any other application or tool for integration would be redundant."

For more from Florida Crystals, attend SAP Sapphire and ASUG Annual Conference, where the company will be participating in a pre-conference session on SAP Business Technology Platform and additionally sharing the story of their plant maintenance journey with SAP Datasphere and SAP Data Intelligence solutions.

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