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“From my point of view, it was very easy. Fusion5 did all the heavy lifting, so to speak, from the architecture end and in setting it all up. The implementation was very smooth and fast – it only took about two weeks and there was no interruption to business at all. We couldn’t have been happier.”JAY CENTENO, IT Manager, Ross Cosmetics
Founded in 1921 by James Ross as J & H Ross, Ross Cosmetics started life as a cosmetics importer. However, by the 1930s, the company was manufacturing its own cosmetic products from its Flinders Lane premises in Melbourne.
Today, Ross Cosmetics is one of the largest personal care, skincare and cosmetics manufacturers in Australia. It’s still family-owned and operated, with the 4th generation of the Ross family leading the business into the future.
Ross Cosmetics’ purpose-built facility in Melbourne provides its customers with a complete contract manufacturing solution including R&D, product development, regulatory support, quality assurance and control, warehousing, and local and international distribution.
For the last decade, all aspects of the business have been running on JD Edwards software. Around 70 of the company’s 100 staff use the application on a daily basis, with some 30 to 40 doing so simultaneously.
Although JD Edwards supported the business perfectly, crunch time had arrived for the ageing technology environment which hosted their business-critical application.
“The lifecycle of our in-house servers had actually come to an end,” says Jay Centeno, IT Manager for Ross Cosmetics. “It was going to cost us $150-180k to physically refresh the server environment. On top of that, our version of JDE was quite old and on extended support.”
From discussions with Fusion5, it was clear to Centeno and Ross Cosmetics that the logical (and much more affordable) step forward was to move JD Edwards to the cloud. Fusion5 projected that changing to Azure would save the business a staggering $235,000 in operating and capital costs in just three years.
Savings included leveraging the Azure Hybrid Benefit offer so Ross Cosmetics could still use their on-premise licenses within the cloud, thus avoiding the need to purchase additional servers licences.
It was a compelling argument for change, and the decision was made to embrace the cloud.
The move to Azure was smooth and stress-free, says Centeno.
“From my point of view, it was very easy. Fusion5 did all the heavy lifting, so to speak, from the architecture end and in setting it all up. The implementation was very smooth and fast – it only took about two weeks and there was no interruption to business at all. We couldn’t have been happier.”
After two weeks of preparation, Fusion5 moved JD Edwards from Ross Cosmetics’ physical servers to Azure on a Friday night. Centeno carried out some testing over the weekend, and on Monday morning it was business as usual.
JD Edwards is critical to Ross Cosmetics’ operations, and Centeno holds front line responsibility for its availability. And as Centeno is a one-man IT team, it makes him all the more appreciative of his relationship with Fusion5 and their ongoing support . “If the server or system is down, or no-one can get access, getting it back online is my absolute priority.”
The move to Azure is Centeno’s first direct experience with a cloud environment, and he has noted some significant improvements in performance.
“The decision to move JDE to Azure was the right one,” says Centeno. “We have a faster operating environment, better security, and we know that future JDE upgrades will be easy. I would say certain aspects of performance are probably three to four times better than on our servers.”
“With Azure, Fusion5’s JDE developers can create a virtual server for testing. Before, they’d have to work in our office on the onsite servers, which added to the cost of making changes.”
By continuously optimising Ross Cosmetics’ Azure resources through analysing current workloads, and moving predictable and persistent workloads to Azure Reserved Instance, Fusion5 has helped drive down the company’s technology costs by a further 30%.
To provide an easier platform for change, Ross Cosmetics had Fusion5 move their existing 8.12 version of JD Edwards to Azure with a view to upgrading to the latest 9.2 version in the near future. While 8.12 isn’t really built for the cloud, says Centeno, the decaying servers made the move top priority.
“Our next step is to move to Version 9, and we can now do that without investing in physical servers. Upgrading after the move to Azure makes it an easier and less expensive process.”
Given the gaps between the existing solution and the new version, Centeno anticipates a reimplementation. He’s excited about a fresh start, as many of the business process automations in the old version are no longer best practice. “It gives us the opportunity to question every modification we made, and ask ourselves ‘why?’,” he says. “Removing unnecessary or obsolete customisations will allow us to move smoothly from one version to the next.”
After 4 months of using their new Azure environment, Centeno says they’ve experienced over 99% uptime of their JDE environment.
And while he’s no less busy, Centeno’s focus has shifted from nursing ageing technology to managing other IT projects and achieving other strategic business technology goals – and everything in between. One thing, however, remains constant: Centeno’s strong relationship with Fusion5.
“Given my responsibilities, once I get to know a company and its support staff, I tend to stay with them. First with Myriad IT and continuing over to Fusion5 once the companies merged, it’s been a very good relationship.”
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