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Case study: How a state agency improved performance by moving to the cloud

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by Deloitte on 01/20/2022
Blog Category: cloud-and-data-centers

For government agencies, especially those at the state level, moving to cloud is a growing imperative.

With any shift to the cloud comes the potential for benefits such as greater speed of business, reduced operating costs, IT simplicity and enhanced security. All are key for public-sector organizations.

For one state agency charged with fiscal responsibilities, cloud emerged as a central focus. Its leaders sought to tame the complexity associated with human resources (HR) and payroll data while maintaining accountability and integrity.

Done right, the move would give stakeholders greater access to data and bolster reliability. It would also optimize costs and provide scalability to support growth.

Growing pains with older platform

The agency encountered growing pains with its existing platform, which was oversized, high-cost, and aging. As a result, the team couldn’t move the data as is, or freely, in any other platforms.

The choice they faced: Overcome budget constraints and invest in a major capital improvement project for current infrastructure or make a more strategic and cost-effective move to cloud.

The challenge? Understanding the options and defining a path for an effective move. Scalability and costs were important considerations. But complexities around the cloud architecture presented challenges.

Skill sets were also a key focus in planning a move to cloud. The agency relied on specialized skills for maintaining its existing databases.

AWS + Intel solution

Despite a clear goal to make cloud the foundation for mission-critical HR data, the organization needed a well-marked blueprint for building that foundation. It also needed a team of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and cloud transformation leading specialists to help make it real.

The state agency teamed up with Deloitte to plan and execute a move to a new Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud environment, bringing along HR and payroll data for thousands of state employees.

Working together, the organizations created a road map for the state agency to migrate to AWS infrastructure powered by Intel Xeon Scalable processors. The Intel-powered instances are optimized for SAP workloads and are reliable, were the right size for the need, and are certified by SAP.

Itinerary for a journey to the cloud

The project team generated a detailed playbook for the agency to use for its ongoing journey to cloud. This playbook encompassed migration and process requirements for data, applications and networks. It also addressed needs across development, workloads, testing, quality assurance, production and security.

Armed with this detailed strategy, the agency moved confidently to migrate its SAP payroll and reporting system to AWS, while significantly improving performance over its previous onsite platform.

They reduced payroll runtimes by as much as 60%. And they reduced labor needs for database management.

The initial move from on premises to AWS occurred during a 12-hour technical cutover window. The team used SAP export/import methods that had been customized to the agency’s requirements.

In planning and then making the move, the agency and Deloitte worked across organizational borders to develop consensus. They also made sure that the new cloud landscape could support the agency’s needs.

Deloitte also collaborated with other organizations, including the state’s IT department, to ensure that the project would meet strict technology and procedural protocols for state-maintained data. They also aimed for minimal disruption.

Fine-tuning the database

To complete the work, Deloitte brought its long-standing experience with cloud and SAP solutions running on the AWS Cloud, and powered by the Intel Xeon Scalable platform, to bear.

Deloitte helped to fine-tune the database for the applications, adhere to strict Intel, AWS, and SAP technical standards, and ultimately create a new cloud landscape aligned with the agency’s business processes.

With the first wave of its move complete, and a detailed migration template in place, the agency is well positioned to extend its cloud journey. It can scale readily and shift additional systems to the cloud as needed in the future.

The ongoing transformation also should allow the agency to take advantage of additional AWS capabilities in the cloud. That includes services for integration and intelligent automation.

The wins

As a result of the state agency’s move to the cloud, here are the main benefits it’s enjoying:

> Scalability to support growth of data and the organization’s SAP payroll workload.

> Reduced labor needs and dependence on specialized database and hardware skills.

> A solid foundation and blueprint for moving additional applications to the cloud.

> Lower total cost of operations; moving from a CapEx model to OpEx.

> Greater system availability for payroll functions.

> Faster overall application and payroll runtimes, achieved by a database powered by Intel Xeon Scalable processors.

> Access to additional cloud managed services to support ongoing maintenance and services.

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By the Numbers

10,000+ users: The migrated data is relevant to the work and the roles of thousands of state users

50% to 60%: Reduction in runtime for monthly payroll activities and batch processing

70 working days: The agency’s estimated annual time savings for processing HR activities

99.95%: System availability on AWS infrastructure

16 weeks: Time needed, from planning to migration, to complete the initial phase

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About the Authors

Andrew Chew is a managing director at Deloitte Consulting.

Chandra B. Mahale is a specialist leader at Deloitte Consulting.

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Learn more:

Read the full case study, and check out related Deloitte resources.

 

 

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