Our customer, a global luxury chocolate retailer executed a carve-out of its former owner to a new investor. As a result, they were not only confronted with a change of business ownership, they also found themselves in need of a carve-out of their IT infrastructure, application landscape and workplace solution. Based on their existing relationship with HSO, they reached out to the company once again to help them successfully complete the transformation of their Modern Workplace landscape and Azure Infrastructure. In addition, they moved all current business applications to this new ‘greenfield’ environment.
Building on success
Several years ago, HSO supported the global luxury chocolate retailer in deploying the Microsoft Business Applications Platform within their organization. Shortly after the successful deployment, the company announced a carve-out of the Japan unit, their Japanese subsidiary (including approximately 500 retail outlets) and, its Belgian manufacturing site. This business transition acted as the trigger for multiple IT related projects, including a complete IT Infrastructure transformation, guaranteeing business continuity as ownership changed, while keeping user disturbance as low as possible.
An all-encapsulating transformation
An IT Platform Transformation is probably not the first topic that comes to mind when discussing acquiring or divesting organizations. An operational and stable IT Infrastructure is business critical though. As the business ownership change of the Japanese and Belgian entities happened, both companies reached out to HSO to support them in the process of migration.
Network Infrastructure Migration
Starting at the core, global companies often have lots of data, stored in many different systems on servers and databases across the globe. To increase complexity, there is often lots of communication between company systems, which again leads to more data. All that data is submitted between the various entities leveraging dedicated and secure lines. In the process of carving out the Japan unit , HSO deployed several solutions including Azure ExpressRoute, for safer dedicated connections to its Microsoft Azure environment, and Azure File Sync, improving resilience and availability, while reducing both the costs and effort required to maintain things.
Modern Workplace and Business Applications Migration
Closely related to the network infrastructure migration is the migration of the brand’s Modern Workplace environment. Hundreds of mailboxes and OneDrive accounts were transferred from one cloud to another, as well as a complete SharePoint environment.
Probably even more business critical, the company had to migrate its Dynamics AX2012 application. Already hosted on Azure, it meant we first had to redesign their environment, whereafter we had to migrate the complete environment including SQL databases and ISV solutions.
As the project embarked, we did not just migrate the existing environment from one cloud to another. We also deployed numerous new Azure solutions to further enhance the stability, security, and resilience of the company’s IT platform. First, we replaced Remote Desktop with Windows Virtual Desktop (now Azure Virtual Desktop). Second, to increase the company’s security layers, we deployed Azure Sentinel, Microsoft’s cloud native SIEM solution.
What looks seamless on the surface…
Is often not that easy. All parties agreed that end-user impact and disturbance should be kept to a minimum in order not to lose their buy-in. And they succeeded in doing so. Despite severe deadlines, complex objectives and challenging schedules, the team was able to finally complete the migration over a weekend, enabling all end users to “just” log on to their accounts on Monday morning, as if nothing had happened. The challenge became even bigger when exactly at the kickoff of the project, global pandemic-related restrictions came into place, forcing the project team to work completely remote, separated by many time zones.
Beneath the surface though, this was the result of extensive configuration, testing and guiding both companies in building operational procedures and technical capabilities around managing their now-standalone Microsoft cloud environment. Migrating everything at the same time turned out to be a complex exercise that had to be well planned.
There is no standard company and as such, there is no standard procedure for a carve out. What is available are state-of-the-art software tools and services from Microsoft and its Azure platform, a significant experience based on many projects within HSO and an extensive set of best practices bringing those together.
For those companies that are either in, or about to embark, on a digital transformation, HSO has created two assessments, to validate how ready you are. Feel free to reach out if you want to know more any of the assessments or have other questions about migrating your organization from one environment to another.