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Zero disruption as British Sugar gets new IT infrastructure
British Sugar wanted to update an old operating system – an ideal opportunity to upgrade its IT infrastructure. But it needed to do so at an extremely busy time. 1E helped the food giant to get the reliable, standardized and adaptable enterprise-wide infrastructure it needed, without causing any disruption to end users or business processes.
More than half of the sugar used and eaten in Britain comes from British Sugar, including around four million packs a week sold under retail brand Silver Spoon. Around its UK locations, British Sugar employs over 1,000 full-time staff, rising to over 1,500 during the peak production season known as “the campaign”.
British Sugar required a new operating system, which led to a completely new IT infrastructure offering: • Guaranteed security • Improved performance • Increased resilience and reliability • Standardized network • Proactive systems management • Reduced systems management costs • No disruption to business operations, production processes, or the in-progress PeopleSoft migration project
British Sugar had been using IBM OS/2 as its network operating system since the nineties, and the operating system was looking dated. In 2003 IBM ceased officially supporting OS/2, signalling the time to move to a more modern operating system: Windows 2003. It was an ideal opportunity to overhaul the company’s IT infrastructure, with the aim of introducing greater performance, resilience and reliability. Additionally, it was an opportunity to create standardization across the enterprise, cutting the overall cost of systems management. As if the job was not challenging enough, budget constraints dictated that the project must be completed before the financial year ended. That meant carrying out the work during the annual sugar processing season (“the campaign”), and at the same time as another complex IT project (the migration of an existing mainframe-based Enterprise Resource Planning system to PeopleSoft One World). With two system revamps going on during “the campaign”, it was vital that business operations and production processes were not disrupted. That meant the new operating system would have to work in smooth parallel with the existing IBM OS/2 environment throughout the migration.
British Sugar chose Windows 2003 and Microsoft Active Directory to replace IBM OS/2, selecting 1E specifically for: • Technology and migration expertise • Infrastructure design • Implementation expertise • Development and implementation skills • Design flexibility • Skills transfer to internal staff • On-time and on-budget project delivery
The design and planning phase began in August 2003. 1E reviewed British Sugar’s current IT environment in order to design a new Windows 2003 and Active Directory based infrastructure that would adapt with ease to the future needs of the business.
• New infrastructure network • Migration to Windows 2003 • Design and implementation of Active Directory platform • Increased service level to the business • Reduced total cost of ownership
Case Study - Systems Management Services
Once a detailed plan was in place, the deployment began, with new servers and services being brought into play in parallel with the live environment. Next came the piecemeal migration of end users in logical blocks. Despite the whole migration project taking place during working hours, the majority of changes were completely transparent to British Sugar’s employees, with business processes and day-to-day operations continuing as normal. Once 1E had walked British Sugar IT staff through the core migration at the head office and selected pilot remote sites, they were able to take over the automated processes and documentation and complete the deployment unaided at their remaining factory sites.
1E freed British Sugar from its dependency on an outmoded operating system, reducing total costs and improving service levels. The new set-up exhibits increased scalability, high availability, improved security and proactive systems management. Throughout the engagement British Sugar’s IT staff have quickly gained new skills, so they can manage and maintain the new infrastructure whatever the business needs of the future may be.
Why 1E was chosen
British Sugar needed a partner with real-world experience of implementing Windows 2003 and Microsoft Active Directory. A partner who could provide “best practice” guidelines. A partner who, through close collaboration and knowledge transfer, could help its IT staff overcome the steep learning curve. With its proven track record in helping major clients on such projects, 1E was an immediate favorite. Paul Morley, Infrastructure Manager at British Sugar, said: “1E’s work with previous customers clearly demonstrated its technical expertise and that it was completely capable of delivering exactly the network upgrade we required. We were also impressed by the ongoing access to key technical consultants and the fact that the project manager remained dedicated to the project from design through to delivery and post-project audit.” “1E works to a very refreshing business model. Its unique makeup of technical consultants makes the company very efficient and so easy to work with; its technical excellence and skills transfer have ensured that we have the in-house skills to maintain and manage the network once 1E completes its work. 1E has proven that it is the people that make a project happen, not just systems and processes.” Paul Morley, Infrastructure Manager, British Sugar
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