A tale of north and south of the border

10 March 2022

Barnsley Council completes its SAP-to-Azure migration, while The Highland Council implements a Wi-Fi solution for tourists, visitors and citizens

Absoft completes collaborative SAP-to-Azure Migration with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

When Barnsley Council first opened a bid in order to migrate its SAP landscape to the cloud, the tenders received did not offer an economically viable outcome. However, a non-negotiable deadline (the sale of its current premises and an outdated on-premise functionality) meant that a solution was required sooner rather than later.

The council initially issued a brief for a one-provider solution to migrate and run its SAP environment in the cloud. The tender requested that the critical run aspect of the scope covered the multi-year provision of the cloud infrastructure on which to run SAP, plus associated technical managed services to manage and maintain the SAP landscape.

Independent SAP consultancy and Microsoft Gold Partner, Absoft had anticipated the likely problems the Council would face with tender responses early on. Following the completion of the procurement process, Absoft reached out to the Council and, building upon a relationship established during the tender process, suggested various solutions.

The solution co-development

The key components of the original brief lay at the heart of the problem and therefore at the heart of a solution that Absoft proposed. Any solution had to address three facets: the provider landscape; the migration to the cloud project and subsequent running of the cloud-based SAP systems. Additionally, affordability was critical.

Provider landscape

Absoft became increasingly aware of the capabilities of the council’s in-house technical team and after further discussions, the option crystallised for the in-house technical team to assume responsibility for running the SAP landscape.

Absoft confirmed the feasibility of this and suggested that, depending on the selected infrastructure provider, Absoft – or another specialist partner - could provide support where additional help may be required. This joint decision to utilise the internal team significantly reduced the project scope and required budget.

The successful bid

Absoft’s success in this bid was attributed to a number of key differentiators, including a successful track record in migrating 17 SAP landscapes into the cloud – including cloud migrations from local authority “on premise” to the Azure Cloud. Furthermore, the combined Azure and SAP expertise and capabilities of Absoft meant no third party was required and the bid was affordable and well within the nominated budget.

The migration Project

Upon agreement of contract, the work commenced in March 2021. Shortly after this date, the initial project timeline was significantly reduced to a period of just 12 weeks.

A technically-challenging project, operating systems were different between the Production, Test and Development instances, with a total 128 interfaces to test. Risks represented by out-of-date business data and confusion generated from orphaned solutions was significant.

Furthermore, the deadline of twelve weeks was hugely aggressive – but immutable. Many late nights, early mornings and hours over multiple weekends were required to get the job done.

The result

The migration work was achieved within an unprecedented timeframe. The SAP and Azure skillsets of Absoft and its expertise in the UK public sector were instrumental in making sure this project was successfully completed, on-time, and within budget.

Based on Absoft’s expert understanding of the available technology options, the company was able to provide a cost-effective approach to the migration, taking into account maintenance dates, software versions, and future-proofing the environment.

Through the enablement of the internal team, Absoft saved the client circa £125,000 in ongoing operational support fees for a Council under significant budgetary pressure.

“I just wanted to take the time to say a huge thank you from the Barnsley SAP Team – you well and truly deserve it. We are in awe of the Absoft team – having an appreciation of the task that you’ve achieved, it’s still hard to believe how easy you made the transition look. “You have done an exceptional job in keeping us all on the straight and narrow; we work with so many IT suppliers and I must say that working with Absoft has been an absolute pleasure”

Sara Hydon, head of ICT, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council