Unilever had launched a corporate-wide initiative to enhance the consumer experience, facilitated by faster and more efficient back-office operations. Murad’s IT organization needed to work closely with their lines of business stakeholders to ensure they addressed the operational needs of their complex business model.
Murad has a multi-pronged distribution model, and each required better performing IT infrastructure to support faster enterprise resource planning (ERP) operations, faster supply chain management (SCM), faster planning applications and faster reporting. They sell directly to consumers via e-commerce where business is growing by 30% year over year. Therefore, the application stack, including the infrastructure, needed to support the high volume and growth of direct to consumer transactions more effectively. In addition, Murad distributes through televised infomercials, leading department stores, large beauty retail stores and boutique spas and salons. This means that their back-office systems also needed to better plan for, support and report on the high dollar-value orders placed by their B2B (business-to-business) partners.
Historically, Murad maintained their own hardware in a colocated data center, leveraging Cisco UCS hardware and refreshing them every 3-5 years. They were on the cusp of another hardware refresh cycle, when they decided to explore cloud infrastructure based on their key business and operational needs.
The first objective was to improve the performance of their critical enterprise applications, ensuring faster response time for ERP, SCM, planning, and business intelligence queries and reporting. A second goal was to lower infrastructure costs. A huge proportion of these costs were due to the high network bandwidth expenses required to connect their office to their data center. Finally, they wanted to offload hardware maintenance to a vendor and be able to enhance their business continuity and take advantage of continuous technology innovations that cloud can provide better than on-premises infrastructure.