Pelican Products’ Smooth Data Migration

By William Atkinson

In 2008, Pelican Products, which designs and manufactures watertight protective cases and portable lighting systems, implemented SAP ERP, as well as SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse, which enabled the company to consolidate operations among its expanding number of facilities and achieve additional business objectives.

However, the Torrance, Calif.-based company, which has offices and manufacturing facilities around the world, knew that reliably supporting and hosting its new SAP system would require expert facilities and resources. Management decided to outsource the hosting work, largely due to Pelican’s small IT staff and other challenges related to multifaced environmental and industrial considerations. For example, one of the Pelican Products’ major manufacturing facilities is located in an earthquake zone and also experiences frequent blackouts because of an antiquated electric grid.

Pelican began talks about the hosting project with a number of vendors, one of which was itelligence, which offers full SAP managed hosting and is one of only a few SAP Global Hosting Partners in the world.

Pelican selected itelligence because, as Jeff Cushing, vice president of IT for Pelican, says, “We were looking for more than just a hosting company. We were looking for a long-term partnership that would develop and adapt as Pelican grew.” According to Cushing, itelligence made it clear that it understood Pelican’s challenges and had the resources to manage Pelican’s hosting needs and also evolve with the company.

Once the contract was signed, the two organizations mapped out an aggressive, six-month schedule to migrate the data center operations from Pelican’s headquarters in California to itelligence’s data center in Ohio. The migration took place in early 2012, and, according to Cushing, the project went as planned. “While the size of the migration was concerned us initially, things went very well,” Cushing says.

Actually, Pelican underwent two data migrations in 2012. This was because itelligence opened a new data center, also in Ohio, eight months after Pelican’s first data migration went live. The new state-of-the-art, 16,000-square-foot data center was designed according to the Uptime Institute’s Tier IV definition, providing complete redundancy throughout all of the infrastructure components. “Both migrations went very well, with no customer or user impact,” he said.

The partnership with itelligence has provided Pelican’s IT staff with the time and resources to focus on other IT and business responsibilities. “While I have a strong IT staff, I want them to focus more on serving their internal users, not just on infrastructure,” says Cushing. “Hosting with itelligence enables us to concentrate on getting more value from our SAP investment, and leave the core infrastructure to itelligence. Pelican’s IT staff can now focus on optimizing our applications and getting the most from our SAP investment.”

Overall, outsourcing proved to be a much better decision for Pelican than building its own data center, according to Cushing. “Building your own data center is an expensive proposition, and there are many viable alternatives,” he says. “Even if we had built a new data center, we still wouldn’t have had staff augmentation with SAP expertise. Our SAP systems are now hosted at itelligence’s world-class data center, and we can direct our capital investments to other areas of the business.”

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