SoftwareOne case study

How SoftwareOne helped Panasonic cut costs by 50% with Azure migration

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When Panasonic Information Systems Company Europe (PISCEU) decided to migrate to the cloud, it understood that given the scale and complexity of the project, it would require external help from third-party experts to successfully complete the project. This included the migration of a data centre with more than 170 on-premises servers hosting multiple applications used by Panasonic divisions throughout Europe.

Supporting Panasonic business units across Europe, PISCEU wanted to modernise its IT infrastructure. Its existing on-premises data centre was increasingly difficult and costly to manage. ”We needed more agility and flexibility to fulfil our clients’ needs, often at short notice with tight deadlines”, says Anton Staller, Senior Manager, Infrastructure Service Management, at Panasonic. “We needed a highly experienced partner that would help us drive our business forward and also help guide us to establish best practices.”

PISCEU chose SoftwareOne to help it migrate its data centre as well as 11 business locations to the Azure cloud. This not only resulted in IT cost savings of 50% and improved agility and flexibility, but also improved Panasonic's operational efficiency and enabled a better understanding of its systems by leveraging SoftwareOne's Cloud Managed Services expertise.

  • 1 data centre, 11 locations

    migrated from on-premises to Azure cloud

  • 50% savings

    in annual IT costs by moving to cloud

  • Improved SLA’s

    by shortened delivery time from 6-8 weeks to 1-2 weeks

Panasonic logo
Client
Panasonic Information Systems Company Europe (PISCEU)
Industry
Information technology, Consumer goods
Platform
Azure Cloud
Services
Cloud Migration Services; Cloud Managed Services
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Looking for faster deployment, cost savings and strategic support

Headquartered in Japan, Panasonic is one of the world's largest players in the development of electronic technologies and solutions in consumer electronics, automotive, avionic and industrial technologies. With more than 11,000 employees, Panasonic Europe is represented in over 35 countries throughout Europe and the CIS. To cover all the various IT needs of each respective Panasonic business unit, PISCEU manages the IT infrastructure for the European group.

PISCEU recognised the need to modernise its existing on-premises data centre infrastructure and local services in 11 locations across Europe, including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Switzerland. Dependent on a third-party IT supplier, the implementation of IT changes often took weeks due to highly standardised processes and long delivery times.

We wanted a solution that is more flexible providing the ability to scale up and down but at the same time we were looking for a solution that helps us to enhance and improve the delivery time of services.

– Anton Staller, Senior Manager, Infrastructure Service Management, Panasonic

For example, when a business unit requested additional computing capacity through PISCEU, its on-premises supplier took 6-8 weeks to implement the necessary changes. In the past, this delayed or temporarily halted numerous IT projects, consuming valuable management time.

Although support was adequate, PISCEU needed more strategic help. It wanted to work with an IT partner that would help it manage its systems more proactively and that could provide insights and guidance built on wide industry experience, helping it to keep up with modern business needs and expectations.

The company’s IT teams were spending most of their time keeping the lights on and lacked resources for planning or developing better systems. Panasonic wanted greater agility and scalability. It wanted to be able to respond more quickly to demands for increased computing power from research and development teams and to have a clearer understanding of its IT expenditure.

The company’s goal was also to cut costs, as its internal customers regularly reported that their IT expenses made it hard to meet their business objectives.

As part of its decision to migrate to Microsoft Azure, PISCEU set a goal of using as many cloud-native services as possible. It also wanted to build a solution based on infrastructure as code, which would aid in system recovery and help to avoid the need to rebuild systems from scratch if something failed.

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Staller says that SoftwareOne stood out for the pragmatism shown in its response to the request for proposals. It also demonstrated a commitment to open, honest communication and collaboration throughout the project. “We had a joint vision in a sense”, says Staller. “Migrating everything in 2 years’ time in total, considering the full scope, was already a challenge. At the beginning, internal people said: that’s tough. We don’t know if we can really achieve that. But we always kept our vision and our target in mind and, ultimately, we worked it out.”

Seamless migrations and Cloud Managed Services

SoftwareOne has been the perfect partner. They have the depth of knowledge we required. But what I really value is the generalists who can see a problem from end to end and know best practices. They never just carry out what we ask for but really question what we’re trying to achieve and then provide us with the best advice.

– Anton Staller, Senior Manager, Infrastructure Service Management, Panasonic

The migration project was essentially divided into two parts including the Azure migration of all local on-premises services for 11 sites and the on-premises data centre re-hosting in the cloud. The whole project, covering all business core functions, was completed in two years, despite COVID-19 restrictions.

We had no face-to-face meetings at all during the first year of working together. Creating one team out of several SoftwareOne and Panasonic local teams from different countries completely remotely was a challenge but from the beginning we were all looking for solutions and not for issues – that has brought us together.

– Piotr Staniszewski, CEE CSD Lead, Software and Cloud Services, SoftwareOne Poland

Alongside COVID-19, PISCEU faced several other challenges, such as updating all affected systems to the latest version and considering dependent applications. The company also had to coordinate with more than 40 Panasonic entities to avoid disrupting business operations. Finally, PISCEU had to manage a parallel SAP project, taking into account the technical dependencies and resulting resource constraints for the migration project.

SoftwareOne’s cloud migrations services included:

  • Assessment of current state and requirements
  • Assessment of migration approach, efforts and costs
  • Migration concept creation and implementation
  • Infrastructure design for Azure configuration and operation
  • Data migration and application re-deployment by implementing Azure Files, Azure Backup and Azure Defender

SoftwareOne teams in different CEE countries migrated the on-premises computing power of 11 sites. PISCEU's separate network transition to the cloud took longer due to COVID-19 related constraints, such as the physical delivery of hardware, but timings for the cloud migration project remained on track. The three main sites were completed individually but, as the project progressed, smaller sites were migrated in tandem.

Although each location had different requirements and scale, identical templates were used for the migration infrastructure. As a result, all locations were streamlined to the same configuration in Azure, and 110 Terrabyte of data and 5 application servers were migrated in total. The data centre migration itself included a lift-and-shift of 170 servers and 50 other services to the Azure cloud.

As the migration proceeded, SoftwareOne also began supporting PISCEU with its Cloud Managed Services for Azure. SoftwareOne’s team in Poland acts as part of the PISCEU team, helping with Azure environment maintenance, first-line ticketing support and incident and change management requests. In the meantime, SoftwareOne’s global team provides managed cloud computing services and advisory support with monthly meetings. This support includes recommendations for ongoing Azure optimisation.

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50% savings, improved service, faster provisioning

Since migrating to the cloud, Panasonic has seen cost savings of 50% compared to its previous on-premises infrastructure expenses.

Service delivery time has been significantly shortened. The company can now provision new servers or other computing capacity in 1-2 weeks, rather than 6-8 weeks, and this can be further accelerated if required. This enables Panasonic's business units to execute IT projects more efficiently, leading to better achievement of their company's business goals, as they become more agile and flexible. In addition, requests for enhancing the locations’ systems by scaling up or down infrastructure is much easier and faster thanks to better visibility of cloud costs and automated processes.

PISCEU and SoftwareOne worked hard to ensure minimal impact on the business by achieving a seamless migration. For example, workloads were moved one by one, file structures were exactly the same, so users didn’t need to learn many new skills to use the migrated system – the look and feel are identical. During the whole migration of 5,500 users, Panasonic received just 8 support tickets, but there was no service interruption at all.

Better visibility of system performance means that Panasonic can now quickly see when systems are struggling and can fix the issue almost instantly; previously, addressing such problems was a time-consuming effort. In fact, Staller says, SoftwareOne’s Cloud Managed Services team often helps to resolve issues even before PISCEU submits a request for support and this is something they haven’t experienced before with other service providers.

By outsourcing to SoftwareOne, quality of operations significantly improved and PISCEU is now much more agile in terms of operations. Its current Azure infrastructure has an SLA performance of 99.9%, compared to the previous on-premises SLA of 99%.

Staller adds that SoftwareOne’s ongoing Managed Cloud Services support is helping PISCEU to stay ahead of evolving technology trends so its IT infrastructure is prepared for future business demands.

We are working now on a completely different level. Before, we were very much focused on keeping the systems up and running. Now, both parties, as a team, are really focusing on how to improve virtual hardware capacity, improve security, and streamline operations. It really brought the professional scale to the next level. We are doing all the right things, which will help us in the future.

– Anton Staller, Senior Manager, Infrastructure Service Management, Panasonic

The combination of improved costing and services has already helped PISCEU to gain new internal business, Staller says, and the organisation plans to expand its use of Azure as a result of the confidence it has generated among stakeholders.

It gives us the opportunity to tackle our internal customers and win them for new projects. At the moment, we cover about 50% of the Panasonic Europe scope with our migrated services and our target is to cover about 90% within the next two to three years. With the support and flexibility from SoftwareOne, we are quite confident that we can achieve this target.

– Anton Staller, Senior Manager, Infrastructure Service Management, Panasonic

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