The New Zealand energy firm moves its core platform and SAP into the cloud

Mission possible: Lessons on digital evolution from Mercury

CIO New Zealand

After completing a two-year programme moving its core platform and SAP landscape into the cloud, Kevin Angland summarises his lessons learned in undertaking digital transformation programmes.

“In order to mitigate the impact on our people, processes and technology, we took a phased approach,” says Angland. “We clearly communicated the changes and impacts across the business.”

Angland explains the cloud initiative was started before he joined in 2016 as Mercury’s first GM of digital services.

“One of the challenges many organisations face is that you believe you have unique requirements and are better at running your own datacentre and infrastructure than most providers in the marketplace,” says Angland.

That was where Mercury was in its cloud assessment in 2015, and on the back of that assessment, it chose AWS as being the right fit for the organisation.

He says SAP was one of the last platforms that Mercury moved to the cloud.

He says the smaller cloud ready business apps were moved prior to this.

“We did not see much point in moving SAP to the cloud without the underlying database operating system and software code changes,” he states.

We are a cruise ship, technology is like a speed boat. How do we keep up with that?

This was a significant programme in scale from Mercury’s perspective and something they have not undertaken before, says Angland.

“One of the challenges was aligning with the appropriate implementation partner.”

The second challenge was ensuring the business understood the role they had to play, and that they were ready and prepared to support the programme, he states.

“We had a very old instance of the IS-U platform which was SAP’s Industry Specific Solution for Utilities Industry,” he explains.

This SAP platform was implemented in 1999. “I best describe it as saying Mercury had really sweated that asset, there had not been a lot of investment in the platform beyond some small incremental change,” says Angland.

He says the first step they took was an upgrade of the SAP platform.

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