Woolworth’s SAP cloud migration has wrapped up after nearly two years, with long-time partner Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) brought in to ring up the upgrade.
In July 2020, Woolworths announced it was migrating its IT infrastructure onto Microsoft Azure to support its upgrade to SAP/4HANA.
Now, it has been revealed the project involved the supermarket and department store chain collaborating with TCS under its long-term partnership and its SAP proficiency, along with SAP for its product support and migration tools, and Microsoft for its cloud and infrastructure expertise.
Along with a party of partners, more than 20 SAP applications, 75 terabytes of data, 135 database servers and 435 applications were moved over to Azure.
“The success of the program was our number one goal, and we knew how important it was to team up with Microsoft and bring our full contextual knowledge of SAP, cloud migration and modernisation to power this large transformation,” said Ganesa Vaikuntam, business unit head of retail, travel, transportation and hospitality at TCS Australia and New Zealand.
Taking eight months to migrate its mission-critical SAP platform to the cloud, Microsoft claimed the project was one of the largest SAP cloud migrations undertaken globally.
“At Woolworths Group, we’re leveraging the cloud to drive innovation and improve speed to market. Our cloud transformation is a key enabler for delivering superior customer and team experiences across our stores and digital channels,” said John Hunt, chief information officer and director of group enablement at Woolworths Group.
“As part of this cloud transformation, the SAP migration to Azure is another milestone on our roadmap in providing technology solutions for the ever-changing digital landscape.
“TCS, Microsoft and SAP have been long-standing partners of ours and, given their in-depth understanding of Woolworths and expertise in cloud technologies, we are pleased to have partnered with them on this strategic initiative.”
During the move, SAP utilised its downtime minimisation service, Near Zero Downtime, which cut the outage window from a few days down to 17 hours. Before the migration begun, a business verification process took place over a three day period, with over 30 teams brought in to ensure business operation continuity.
There was a heavy focus on automation, with several rounds of migration cycle soak runs taking place over the course of the project to detect failure points early on. This helped to refine the migration process and optimise downtime windows.
By using an iterative approach to non-functional testing, systems were able to be assessed for performance benchmarks, which included peak season volumes. In addition to the cloud migration, Woolworths redesigned its disaster recovery capabilities, which improved its redundancy and resilience, Microsoft claimed.
The project managed to avoid the brunt of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns through remote working policies, according to Laurence Bennett, technology director for enterprise systems at Woolworths Group.
“The team worked remotely throughout the project, and this proved extremely successful,” he said. “In fact, we had discussions about working in the office on the migration weekend – after the lifting of restrictions – but felt the team would be more effective working remotely given this is how all our testing and trial runs had been conducted.
“Flexible working actually suited this type of project and was evidenced by the outcome. A lot of the project activities needed to be undertaken outside of standard office hours. Working remotely allowed team members to balance these activities with personal time and without the concern of travelling to and from the offices when tired or at odd hours of the day.”