Air Works – Legacy ERP migration to Cloud
Ram Kumar Mohan, CIO, Air Works India Engineering Pvt. Ltd.
Project Brief Description:
Founded in 1951 and functioning as a family run business for almost six decades, Air Works corrected its course to become an aggressive leading-edge company by augmenting its technology footprint to a whopping four-digit percentage over the past five years. Considering the nature of business, global foot prints by acquiring like-minded companies and expanding service portfolio into SaaS, safety and audit beyond core MRO engineering, its constraints and future growth, Air Works needed a highly scalable and secured technology infrastructure. Choosing cloud for its technology transformation journey, Air Works successfully completed the whole technology stack that runs across multiple cloud infrastructures and includes mobility, BYOD and IDC to support legacy ERP. The ERP we have been using for almost a decade is aviation industry specific, though it was off-the shelf software but highly customized as per business requirements, and mission critical application. It is the backbone for our entire business operations. As the replacement of this legacy ERP was challenging and put aside due to certain business constraints, we have the mandate of keeping it up and running despite of many challenges such as lack of vendor support, legacy server hardware, legacy server OS and endpoint OS, unpredictable & frequent downtimes, performance and latency issues, software and security compliance issues, lack of scalability to support the business demands and increasing user base. All these were affecting the business operations and not supporting organization’s digital strategy.
Migrating large, complex, highly integrated legacy ERP to the cloud, which is far from straightforward and challenging, yet we took the challenge of this migration and decided to do it internally with our own resources with less cost, and the benefits of migration outweighed the difficulties.
• Extended lifetime of ERP: Migrating the ERP to cloud has increased the lifetime of the application by eliminating many threats that are mentioned earlier such as legacy hardware, legacy software, lack of vendor support, endpoint security compliance, etc.
• Scalability: The unique characteristics of cloud with an infinite pool of resources such as CPU, memory, storage, and network bandwidth (elasticity), which can be acquired and released based on demand to optimize resource usage in the case of fluctuation in workload. The cloud servers can be scaled up to any level on the fly to meet the business demands and increasing user base.
• Digital Journey: Migrating legacy application to cloud, combined with a larger digital strategy, delivers important advantages in our business digitization journey.
• Cybersecurity: This migration greatly helped us to address the security threats related to outdated OS, software and database.
• Business Growth: This migration eliminated many threats and thus enabling us to move faster in our automation and digital journey, to introduce technology initiatives and offer innovative services such as Predictive Maintenance, Paperless MRO, VR/AR based simulated training and so on, to continue to be the leader and stay ahead of competitors and to retain current customers.
• Better IT Infrastructure: The cloud-hosted infrastructure provides numerous technology benefits including cost, speed, scalability, and flexibility versus legacy client-hosted infrastructure.
• Reduced Cost: Due to the efficiency of AWS public cloud, running ERP system in the cloud costs less than legacy infra. Not only is cloud hardware and software cheaper, but resource utilization is higher, bursting is more economical, and application management with fewer resources is efficient.
• Scalability & Performance: Because of its foundational architecture of shared and unified resources, it is easy for us to scale fast and handle varied workloads at high performance.
• Improved Employee Productivity: Virtualizing our legacy ERP in cloud enabled us to take advantage of mobility. Now our employees can access ERP from anywhere anytime and thus improving their performance manifolds.
• Business Agility & Innovation: Cloud Infra gives our developers more agility to innovate and automate business processes and support organization’s digitization strategy, without reliance on the infrastructure team and legacy systems, and with less risk and cost.
• Downtime and High Availability: Cloud migration had reduced the server/ERP downtime from 3-4 times in a month to zero. Unpredicted downtime we used to have earlier due to legacy hardware has been eliminated.
• Manpower & Support Cost: The dedicated manpower we had to manage the legacy systems is no more required and thus helping us to save manpower and support cost of about 35 lacs per annum.