Few things are harder for business leaders to navigate than cloud services.
Public cloud often doesn’t seem like a viable option due to an assumption that it is less secure. But often, these uninvestigated preconceptions end up restricting organisations from taking full advantage of cloud services.
Recently, we were commissioned by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to move its ageing IT infrastructure onto a new on-premise platform.
But on that journey, unforeseen circumstances ended up revealing an opportunity to take the project in a new direction – to the cloud.
In this blog post, I’ll share how that change ended up improving CITB’s performance and lowering their projected costs, all while propelling its digital transformation efforts significantly.
From legacy to virtual
CITB is a government organisation that provides training and support for the British construction sector, ensuring workers are professionally qualified.
The organisation has 500 employees and 200 SSCL (self-service) employees. They were working on an aging SAP solution which was nearing the end of its life, so it was time to move.
Because CITB is a government institution, it had the option of joining the Standard Operating Platform (SOP) – a shared platform that sits on Fujitsu’s on-premise solution for e-business and hosts numerous government organisations.
So, when they approached us, it was with a view to migrating their infrastructure onto SOP.
However, despite only having around 700 employees, CITB also manages 70,000 suppliers, acquiring 3000 new ones every year. This made the organisation vital to the construction industry, so it simply couldn’t afford to have any downtime, making it critical that the switch be completed within six months.
At the time, we didn’t consider this to be a problem as six months is usually how long a shift of this kind takes – but only if the infrastructure hardware is readily available.
However, once we started implementing the on-premise solution for CITB, we were told the lead time for the hardware would be 2-3 months, a significant delay.
So, in order to get around this delay, we decided to put all the developmental and test environments onto Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), a public cloud.
The Oracle hardware infrastructure was provisioned in a matter of days. So, we were able to start development testing very quickly and compensate for the months we would have to wait for the hardware to arrive.
But once we started making progress, a thought soon started to cross all our minds…
Why don’t we just start production on OCI too?
Change of plan
We approached CITB, explained the predicament and our proposed solution. CITB is a forward-thinking organisation, so they were very interested in the idea.
And over the course of a month, our plan changed drastically.
Instead of moving CITB infrastructure onto the SOP platform that sat in Fujitsu’s data centre, we instead began moving it onto the OCI.
This change in plan enabled us to finish within the allocated 6-month period.
And once we started running development and test pieces on the new SOP instance on OCI, we found it performed much better than the existing on-premise SOP solution.
Since the Oracle solution was best tuned to run on Oracle infrastructure, it made everything faster and smoother.
Furthermore, because it was being run on OCI, CITB didn’t need to purchase any new infrastructure – it could add or remove environments as and when needed.
So along with better agility, CITB could now invest those predicted infrastructure costs on other, more crucial aspects of their business.
First of many
When we went into this with CITB, we thought we were just going to be doing a run-of-the-mill lift and shift. SOP was where all the other government organisations were, so it just made sense.
However, once the lead time problem presented itself, we were able to pivot to a better solution because we knew there’re unique benefits to being on OCI that many enterprise customers aren’t aware of.
Every organisation who we have put on OCI have seen their database performance increase by 35%, along with 60% improvement in the ability to provision Oracle environments. And it was no different for CITB, who also got to enjoy a third off their predicted infrastructure costs.
SSCL, the organisation that manages the overall SOP platform, were also happy to see these results, as it informed their thinking on the shift of other services to the cloud.
So, this project gave all parties the opportunity to study how an SSCL organisation would perform on OCI.
And suffice it to say, the results were resoundingly positive!
To find out more about collaborative partnerships and how they can help super-charge your digital transformation strategy, click here.
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- How shifting to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure revolutionised the CITB - October 24, 2019