In the information age, the companies that are most successful are the ones that look after their data. Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG), knew how important data is and wanted more control than their existing on-premises setup could provide; so they joined with InTWO and made it happen.
Starting a tender process in December of 2020, STG wanted to move away from their on-premises server providers as the support they were receiving didn’t meet their expectations of quality. Winning the tender and building on an existing relationship InTWO helped achieve a mass data migration, giving STG control again.
“You can call InTWO and they just figure stuff out. They always pick up the phone, it’s a refreshingly pragmatic approach and I see the relationship as hugely important for STG.” Patrik Priess – CIO, Scandinavian Tobacco Group
STG had been working with a data center provider for well over a decade and unfortunately over the course of their partnership, the pricing structure that STG had to work with had become increasingly complex, difficult to rationalize as well as more expensive.
But, beyond the pricing changes was the lack of documentation by the provider on things like the server architecture and application layers that were being used for their setup. STG needed to keep approximately 2,500 people online globally so it was becoming more clear that a new partner was required.
STG is made up of 24 separate brands, and between them run on 16 different ERP systems. This adds layers of complexity to everything they do and because they have to maintain a number of legacy systems the lack of security updates available for their on-premises installation was no longer viable – something had to change.
One of STG’s brands, Cigars International, had worked with InTWO before on an Azure migration project and although it was a smaller scale it meant that Cigars International could recommend that STG involve them in the tender to move the whole of STG to Azure.
After the tender in December 2020, InTWO were nominated as the company to take on STG’s migration. To prove they were up to the task, they ran a PoC until March 2021 in which they ran through a complete migration effort on a small number of non-critical servers that STG had.
During the PoC it became clear that because of the lack of documentation maintained by the original provider, the only way to carry out the migration would be to do a straight lift and shift from on-prem to Azure. In a lot of ways this actually sped up the project because while a direct move can be scary, it’s less technically complex than setting up everything from scratch.
The most difficult work was all the investigatory phase, understanding the existing suppliers setup, staff, and processes. The planning took 3-4 months, while the migration itself only took a couple of weeks. Relying on InTWO’s expertise, STG finally arrived at the moment of truth, taking every one of their systems down on Friday, and after a weekend of sleepless nights to get everything ready they flicked the switch. Low and behold by Sunday night the migration was complete and they were back up and running.
Part of the migration actually meant there was some consolidation with 100 servers on the original setup and a reduction down to 70 by the time the move had finished. STG commented at the time how valuable InTWO’s project management staff excelled in managing all the moving pieces of the operation.
Working with a global expert was always STG’s goal but they also felt they needed a company that would pay them more attention than they had received in the past. They wanted to be important to their supplier so that they received the service they needed. InTWO happily obliged and maintained standardized and clear pricing – just one upside of the move.
Now that STG have migrated they’re busy learning to get the most from Azure, it opens up a lot of possibilities for them for further security updates particularly on their legacy systems. Both InTWO and Microsoft are dedicated to assisting with this learning process and will continue to do so.
The bigger you are the bigger that your IT footprint becomes and managing that becomes a progressively more challenging task. Data is a key driver for STG and as a company with 24 separate brands under their umbrella, having cloud access to their sometimes fragmented data is a huge help for financial reporting. Because STG are now cloud based they are working through a process of consolidation and at some point will bring every STG brand onto the same ERP system. Standardizing globally, particularly on the hypervisor level is only possible with Azure.
STG used part of this whole project as a test model for M&As in the future. Companies that STG brings to the fold have to be brought up to speed quickly and start operating in the STG way as soon as possible. Being able to migrate their data securely, safely, and quickly is key to making the most of acquisitions.
Wanting to move to the cloud for the usual benefits of scale and security, STG knew they were looking for an Azure expert that could help them transition from on-prem. What they got was proof of InTWO’s global presence, a partner they can rely on, and a vision of how to continue their work together in the future.