PACT Group is a large, complex and distributed ASX-listed manufacturing company with operations throughout Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Pact’s operations rely heavily on information technology, and run 24x7x365 across 62 manufacturing sites in 5 countries with over 3500 employees.
Pact previously relied on IT services provided as a shared service by its former sister company. Due to continued and projected business growth (particularly through acquisitions) and in preparation for an initial public offering (IPO), Pact required a higher degree of autonomy, flexibility and agility from its technology systems and services. Note: Pact’s aspirational future growth vision = $5 Billion, in 5 regions, within 5 years.
We joined Pact with a remit to build a robust internal IT capability, with the first objective being to transition out from the former sister company’s IT platform. We set out to build our capability using a hybrid approach that retained the traditional plan/build/run approach (to support legacy), and added the capability to source, integrate and support the “industrialised” services we identified as necessary to enable the flexibility, agility and run the cost-profile our organisation demanded.
Enabling (i.e. the first 18 months)
We knew that we would only have a single opportunity to put the foundations of our model in place.
As such, it was clear that an ambitious transition was required that would avoid the need for us to return at a later stage to uplift the capability as a separate stream of works. Wherever possible, we identified solutions aligning with some key guiding principles:
- Cloud first
- Multi-tenanted (shared/public)
- Consumption-based (utility)
- Modular and scalable (both for user volume and functionality)
- Highly automated (zero touch)
- Standardised (configure rather than customise)
The baseline we inherited was not well understood by Pact, and there was limited documentation available to support the speed of knowledge acquisition our separation project required. In addition, we had no visibility of usage patterns or user volumes across key infrastructure components and core enterprise applications.
Pact had grown largely through acquisition and while all new businesses were integrated from an ERP perspective, there was limited investment in standardisation of infrastructure platforms, applications and versions.
Much of the core enterprise application environment was highly customised and contained legacy software versions that had not been upgraded in 15+ years (in some cases no longer enjoying official vendor support). Many of these applications consisted of a single applications instance, which was shared between Pact and its former sister company.
When we joined Pact, Salesforce had already been deployed to a subset of users, primarily as a CRM system and to support minor rapid deployment initiatives. While this was Pact’s only cloud-based solution at the time, its use lacked structure and standardisation.
An initial four-month period was dedicated to an RFP process, followed by a transformation initiative of nine months, where our primary objective was successful completion of our IT separation from our former sister company. We concluded with a five-month stabilisation activity where we bedded down new services, optimised strategic partnerships, and monitored usage patterns and volumes.
The majority of transformation achieved to date has been in the infrastructure space (i.e. building the platform. Enterprise application activity has to date focused on moving from “legacy” to “fit-for-purpose” hosting platforms. As we progress we also have a strategic objective to increase our cloud footprint by delivering >80% of our workload from Microsoft Azure within the next 12 months.
With a very lean retained IT team, we looked to forge strong relationships with a small number of strategic partners that we rely heavily on for delivery, specifically Microsoft due to its functional breadth and high level of innovation and integration, as well as specialised Microsoft partners including HCL, SAP and Telstra.
- Lean Retained Team – We’ve managed to deliver on our strategy with a retained IT team of only 4 people by leveraging cloud offerings as a means for minimising administrative overhead
- User Experience – Customer satisfaction (CSAT) was benchmarked at only 61% as we embarked on our transformation journey, 18 months later CSAT has shifted to 78%
- Agility – High levels of standardisation and predictability of our cloud offerings allows us to develop a repeatable “cookie cutter” model, facilitating rapid scale and integration of new acquisitions
- TCO – Our transformation has delivered enhanced functionality, increased resilience and ease of access to our business with no increase in BAU profile for IT - all while still successfully integrating three new acquisitions (within the 12 week timeframe)
- Budgets – The guiding principle of cloud-first has been essential in helping us to achieve predictability in our cost base for transition and run and this has benefited our annual and ongoing budgeting
- Innovation Time – As we have moved more of our workload to the cloud we have been able to offload some of the heavy lifting and administrative overhead that has typically consumed IT functions, creating “head space” for innovation
To access the full details of Pact’s whole cloud transition, including full list of technology solutions and partners, key risks and challenges, plus lessons learned - please contact the CIO Executive Council.
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