To support a large merger, the client (a multi-billion dollar retailer) had been considering converged infrastructure platforms and orchestration and administration tools but could not come to a consensus on direction, product selection or an implementation path.
To help make these critical decisions and drive consensus on direction, the company reached out to WGroup, a firm deeply rooted in strategy, selection and transition planning.
The client’s key members of IT leadership had worked with WGroup in the past and trusted the quality of work and the capabilities of the staff assigned. The client needed to move quickly, requiring WGroup to customize the approach and process to meet the needs of the engagement. Their goal was to minimize any unnecessary work for the client while adhering to a more flexible methodology. With this tailor-made approach, WGroup was able to quickly identify critical requirements, structure the information gathering and evaluation process and enable the client to make the best decision on time and on budget.
WGroup’s approach to this effort was based on their large base of work in software and hardware evaluation and experience with leading companies in developing and implementing cloud strategy. WGroup worked to facilitate information exchanges between client IT leadership and other WGroup companies who have been on a similar path. The client found that the insight from these interactions was extremely valuable and the relationship developed would provide more useful information exchanges in the future.
WGroup understood that the client had been working with one primary infrastructure vendor for a significant period of time. WGroup needed to determine if the client’s current vendor would be the best partner moving forward or if there were other options that could provide better outcomes. In order to determine this, WGroup defined client requirements and conducted a thorough strategic analysis of the market. This information, combined with other WGroup knowledge and experience, allowed the client to quickly narrow the choice to two options; the incumbent virtualization environment based on a blade and chassis model and a converged Vblock infrastructure platform from VCE (in pilot at the client). The client had made significant investment in the Blade and Chassis Model and wanted a thorough evaluation of the alternative environments on a financial, technical and organizational impact basis. WGroup structured alternate capacity scenarios based on entry costs and scaled out environments. They then conducted the analysis on both scenarios.
For the orchestration and tools assessment and selection, the client had been entertaining sales presentations and experimentation in multiple tool sets from a number of vendors. To construct an RFI for the tool vendors, WGroup assembled a team of SME’s/critical stakeholders and facilitated workshops to establish requirements and evaluation criteria. The vendors met with the client for in depth discussions and structured demonstrations of the key requirements. WGroup facilitated evaluation and selection workshops with the key stakeholders, driving the group to consensus in the face of strongly divergent views held at the outset by team members. A deep productivity financial analysis was developed to determine payback periods and Internal Rate of Return (IRR) for moving to the new platforms.
For the organization and implementation / transition plan, WGroup provided best practice models that other industry leaders had adopted. WGroup worked with the client’s IT leadership to identify key processes and define roles and job descriptions for the cloud organization at each stage – start up, build out and steady state. Alternative build-out and transition strategies were evaluated, based on the financial analysis, and presented to management to include in budgeting and organizational planning for next year and beyond.
WGroup’s work with the vendors and client stakeholders drove consensus decisions for both converged infrastructure and orchestration tool directions. WGroup’s analysis showed where the differences in discounting leveled the cost differentials and gave the client’s VMO guidance and support for negotiation.
WGroup’s work with IT leadership on evolving organization, jobs, processes and roles for the cloud will be a key component of an overall IT organization design and role redefinition process currently ongoing.
Additionally, WGroup’s analysis and recommendations showed the client that the investment in tools will pay back in under a year with a 460% IRR over 5 years. Based on that analysis, the recommendation for conversion was the most aggressive with all write off penalties being overwhelmed with labor savings. The client’s investment in tools will enable them to make significant progress with the new architecture of the merged organization.
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