Time to change clouds

Until its sale to BlueScope, Orrcon’s business applications were hosted and managed from Hills’ data centre. They relied on Hills for both their JD Edwards ERP (which managed their manufacturing and distribution functions) and their RFgen Warehousing and Mobility software.

An agreement negotiated at the time of the purchase meant that Hills continued to host and support Orrcon’s applications until early 2016, giving BlueScope time to seek an alternative hosting arrangement. In 2015 the decision was made to migrate all of Orrcon’s business applications from the Hills’ data centre, and carry out a long overdue upgrade of their aging version of the JD Edwards ERP.

While BlueScope had the option to host Orrcon’s solutions in their own data centre, Larry Howard, the company’s CIO, stood firmly behind a strategy which would see a shift to outsourcing a major part of IT solutions for the newly acquired Orrcon Steel business.

“The steel sector has been under pressure, so the business was looking closely at costs,” said Ian McInerney, BlueScope’s Business Systems Lead – Orrcon. “The expense of hosting in-house, and then hiring the expertise we’d need to support JD Edwards and RFgen especially, just didn’t stack up. External hosting was the obvious solution.”

All hosting is not created equal

Not just any hosting company would do, though.

While the cost of the service was an important factor, so was meeting critical reliability and performance criteria, and providing strict service monitoring and reporting against SLAs. BlueScope envisaged an outsourced solution where all of Orrcon’s needs were met by one solution provider, from hosting to application upgrades, management and development.

BlueScope and Orrcon approached the major JD Edwards partners who had the capability to provide the end-to-end, top-down service they needed. They shortened their initial list down to two potential partners, finally selecting Fusion5.

Fusion5 had successfully implemented RF scanning technologies for both Orrcon and Hills, and are held in high regard by both companies. 

“We made the decision based on Fusion5’s long-term history with Orrcon, and the flexible but thorough approach they took when providing a tender for this new project,” said McInerney. “They provided a cost-effective infrastructure hosting through their Cloud5 offering and considerable depth of JD Edwards and RFgen experience and expertise — from technical support, to development and project management. In short, we trusted them with our business.”

Solid outcomes from a trusted partner

McInerney hasn’t been disappointed with the decision to run with Fusion5 and Cloud5.

“We’ve found their service to be just great, and our account manager very attentive. They’ve met all of the SLAs we agreed on, and they’ve quickly remedied any small hiccups we experienced. We use all of our support hours - not actually for support - but includes development work, which adds real value to our solutions.”

Ian McInerney, BlueScope’s Business Systems Lead – Orrcon

Fusion5 completed the challenging migration project on time and within scope. Now, Orrcon’s entire ‘stack’, from CNC and their tools, down to hardware, are managed by Cloud5. Functionality hasn’t been significantly impacted by the jump from the old JD Edwards 8.10 version to 9.1.5, but it gives Orrcon’s team more control and input over their web services in the future.

The move from private hosting to a commercial hosting situation means that the monthly cost to manage and maintain Orrcon’s infrastructure is affordable and predictable. Orrcon enjoy automated upgrades as they come due, as well as the ability to drive solution improvements in a timely fashion.

“All in all, the steel sector and those operating in this challenging environment are seeing a more positive outlook,” says McInerney.

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