Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) is the largest operating division of the Transnet Group—majority owned by The South African government with over 38,000 employees and R14bn revenue per annum. Their rail systems represent 80% of the railway network across Africa.

While TFR increasingly relies on business intelligence to make informed decisions, the company’s data analytics environment had become large and highly complex, with four separate data warehouses.  Providing timely reporting to TFR managers had become a problem. Running queries across multiple environments became a lengthy exercise, taking days to execute, and leaving decision-makers with limited visibility into current operational performance. 

In partnership with T-Systems — TFR’s systems integrator — TFR embarked on a large-scale data warehouse consolidation program. Looking at both immediate and longer-term needs, we realized that we needed an entirely new data platform.  SAP HANA offered the scalability and performance that the company was looking for along with advanced capabilities such as predictive analytics for future initiatives.

As part of the migration to SAP Business Warehouse on SAP HANA, TFR was able to upgrade to BW 7.4 and implement the Unicode conversion at the same time.  We migrated 15 years of operational data, totalling almost 9 billion rows, utilizing near line storage to house all data older than 2 years in SAP IQ. This was very cost-efficient and provided solid performance. 

With the new Data Warehouse platform, richer and more accurate information is now available to management teams—enabling real-time decision making. With instant access to a single source of accurate data, TFR’s management is able to optimize rail network utilization and container consignment allocations and, for instance, immediately add one additional train per day – in turn leading to greater sales volumes. By allocating resources more efficiently TFR will ultimately achieve greater profitability and continue to drive growth in Africa.

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