AZURE COMPETE COUNTRY PARTNER
In 2017, Lufthansa Technik Philippines, the world’s leading aircraft maintenance group, was at the brink of running on unsupported technologies—risking flight delays. Century Pacific Food Inc., Southeast Asia’s largest food manufacturing firm risked exposing their digital assets and intellectual property to security breaches. In both scenarios, IT agility was paramount: operational burden and financial loss due to downtime from mission critical apps was not an option.
Lufthansa Technik Philippines (LTP) was still running their apps on on-premise servers with SharePoint (SP) 2007. With end of support for SP2007 and increasing costs and risks of maintaining a defunct platform, LTP needed to modernize fast. Adding to this is the challenge of developing a solution that will work securely 24/7 while following strict international aviation compliance standards. Over 2,800 employees were on SP to accomplish their day-to-day tasks and a daily average of 100 material requests for client maintenance were handled through this platform.
Tech One Global (TOG) was among the first to implement Azure App Service Hybrid Connections and Azure Graph API and integrated this with SharePoint Online to bridge the missing link between on-premise data and apps on Oracle and SQL to facilitate aircraft maintenance and avoid operational delays.
“The SharePoint version we were using was over a decade old. We wanted that immediately upgraded to avoid a huge downtime that can happen with the end of life support. One of our critical apps was the Customer Material Request (CMR) portal. It is the only system our customers use. If this was not migrated into the new system, we would have to go back to manual procedures;” Oscar Salvanera III, IT Manager shared. The CMR portal allows LTP to expedite line and base maintenance real time via its 8 hangar bays serving over 50 worldwide commercial airline carriers such as PAL, ANA, Qantas, and Cathay Pacific. Now accustomed to the cloud, LTP is planning to migrate their 25 web applications and data warehouse & BI platform into Azure.
Century Pacific Food, Inc. (CPF), was also searching for technical guidance and a way to secure their food formulas. As the largest food manufacturing company in Southeast Asia, this was vital for business continuity and market share retention. CPF approached several tech companies but only TOG responded with the best solution through Information Rights Management on Office 365 E3. CPF was still on Google back then. To further secure their data, CPF required Azure Active Directory (AD) to sync their on-premise AD for stronger identity management. This was the first time CPF ventured into Azure as their existing cloud platform was Amazon Web Services (AWS).
“We were looking at protecting the crown jewels of our company—our food formulas. It was only Tech One who avidly pursued the opportunity. I was not inclined to talk to anybody else at that time because competency wise, only Tech One was able to define the requirement for me and how it can be converted into a Microsoft solution. That was how we got started with Azure. My major systems were already in AWS;” Dave Ramos, IT Operations Head shared. Through Microsoft and TOG, CPF has ventured into more Azure solutions, including Azure App Service to host their E-Purchasing System which not only automates workflow requests but also allows end-to-end integration from supplier selection to purchase orders.
LTP: OVERCOMING TECHNOLOGICAL OBSOLESCENCE
With predominant on-premise servers and end of support for SP2007, it was imminent to transition into a more secure and reliable platform that will address the following areas:
- There were over 10 apps, thousands of proprietary and confidential data stored on Oracle and SQL Servers accessed through SP2007. These included their HR systems, Currency Converter, Online Search Directory, and the CMR Portal.
- There were over 2,800 employees already utilizing SP2007 and this was their main workplace productivity tool.
- LTP’s core business heavily relies on base maintenance checks for airline carriers. LTP specializes in aircraft maintenance, major modifications, cabin reconfigurations, engine maintenance and painting for the A320 family, A330/A340, and A380 types done through its 8 hangar bays and workshops.
- Migration to SP Online had to be seamless and should not affect existing operability of apps hosted on the older SP Server.
- Each airline client must be authenticated with the CMR and led to its customized interface.
- CMR was a mission critical app and the only app accessed by their customers. CMR is central in parts/maintenance requisition: connecting the technical team with account managers, planners, buyers, and customers. Handling an average of 100 CMR entries in a day required real time approvals to prevent maintenance lags and delays in scheduled flights, prolonged turnaround time and financial loss for an industry where every minute counts.
Through Microsoft’s endorsement, TOG was invited to competitively bid and propose a solution for LTP’s modernization project. A Request for Proposal and Evaluation Process was undertaken by LTP’s technical committee, with TOG being awarded the project due to the following merits:
- With over 60 SP projects and over 40 Azure deployments handled by the team, TOG stood out from the competition.
- Only TOG had expertise in BizTalk Services which was an integral component in tunneling their on-premise server with SP Online. TOG was among the first to implement this solution in the Philippines.
- Azure App Service Hybrid Connections was the fastest and most convenient way of establishing and integrating hybrid connections between on-premise resources and Azure App Services without migration slowdown.
- Only TOG recommended a creative solution—Azure Graph API to authenticate client log in on-premise and be redirected to its unique CMR portal.
- Azure App Services offered a convenient, secure, and cost-effective way of hosting existing apps.
- App migration was time-sensitive, with end of life support by October 2017.
TOG paved the way for LTP’s first step into the cloud. On Azure, the organization was able to:
- Avoid higher cost of ownership and maintenance of SP Server on-premise;
- Continue business as usual, with no downtime for apps migrated including the CMR;
- Avoid technical problems, bugs, and security vulnerabilities from end of life SP2007;
- Enjoy continuous technical support and expertise from TOG & Microsoft;
- Seeing the value of moving into the cloud, continue this shift: now with their 25 web apps, data warehouse & BI platform into Azure.
“I am at home with your technical guys. If I am able to choose for our next project it will still be Tech One;” Salvanera added.
CPF: SECRETS NOT REVEALED
Century had to protect the building blocks of their food empire: their food formulas. CPF carries 16 well-known consumer brands such as: Century Tuna, Argentina, 555, Swift, and Hunts. While the R&D Team was the custodian of food formulas and stringent measures were already in place, there were still loopholes for security breach.
CPF actively pursued technology providers for help, but only TOG responded and recommended the best solution. Despite already being on AWS, CPF decided to go with Information Rights Management and Azure AD as there were no comparable solutions from both Google and AWS. Through IRM, sensitive information is encrypted and leaks from unauthorized print and online distribution/replication are prevented. AD allows stronger identity management and seamlessly integrates on-premise data to the Cloud.
TOG introduced Azure to CPF and seeing the business value of deploying in Azure, has now expanded into Azure App Services, Azure Database for MySQL, and Azure Storage.
“We saw that we really cannot expand our data center here. It was a footprint, security and cost issue. We are now depending on SLAs with Azure. We only have two data centers left, two server administrators and two network administrators despite having so many remote sites;” Ramos said.