A large FMCG company had their brands and business units operating in a federated manner. While this is not uncommon it has created a scenario where shadow IT was occurring, most especially in the digital space, making GRC and execution against an overall IT strategy impossible. Each brand within the group was running its own digital policies (or none at all!) and operating on whatever platform they wanted. More often than not these decisions were not being made by knowledgeable technical staff but by marketing or digital agencies. This created a significant governance concern and posed a significant IT security risk to the group. This situation came to a head when an external incident caused severe damage to one of the brands. This incident had the potential to damage the main holding company’s brand as well as the financial well-being of the entire group.


Shortly after the incident the company began to bear a barrage of hacking attacks on its various websites. Because of this situation there was a need to consolidate all the different brands’ hosting onto a single environment which was governed and monitored by Group IT. In this case, Azure was chosen due to the recommendations of Tangent Solutions. Azure enabled Tangent Solutions to implement a hardened and secure hosting environment and monitor all the websites on a single toolset and perform speedy and advanced disaster recovery if needed. At the time of the consolidation project the Azure data centres had not yet arrived in South Africa and as such the websites were deployed into the data centres in Europe. Through Tangent Solutions’ in depth knowledge of Azure and how to use the cloud to its full capability the remotely hosted websites were able to outperform locally websites in South Africa. The consolidation project did face significant challenges due to the federated nature of the company and engagement with business units was initially difficult. Some of this was caused by resistance to a perceived ‘loss of independence’. Additional complexities arose when engaging with businesses who had implemented websites but did not understand their chosen technologies or had not kept these technologies up to date. The way the company had been operating highlights the risk of having a federated business where Group IT does not thought lead the group on technology and thus resulting in risky shadow IT. The role of a modern Group IT needs to one of a centre of excellence, of governance, thought leadership and business enablement, taking into consideration the need for agility of their internal customers.


It took Tangent Solutions two months to consolidate this FMCG’s digital platforms and align them all onto one platform via Azure. Once Tangent Solutions had its formula in place to migrate the various websites onto one platform, the process flowed efficiently. As time was of the essence Tangent Solutions developed a tool called the ‘Cloudinator 4000’ to automate the deployment of the websites into Azure and upload the digital assets into the newly created Azure environment. Once the base architecture was in place and the buy-in from all the stakeholders was achieved, Tangent was able to scale the deployment of the digital platform to the cloud rapidly.


After the migration the company suffered no breaches of their security with regards to the hosting of their brand websites. Additionally, the overall performance of the websites was vastly improved resulting in a better customer experience. Group IT established a governance framework for the business units to adopt for their digital assets that took best practices and security into consideration ensuring the digital strategy of the group was on track and secure.

This scenario illustrates the dire risks that can arise when you do not take ownership of the company’s total digital footprint. Valuable digital assets need to be managed effectively and given the care and consideration they deserve. Consumers operate on digital platforms constantly. Well known brands need to ensure their digital presence is secure and drives customer engagement. While the hosting costs were greater than the hosting used prior to the consolidation, the costs were still reasonable. If the company accounted for the costs of the risk and brand damage, the cloud costs were insignificantly in comparison.


Vumatel embraced the Cloud enabled their execution with a DevOps culture. Using CI/CD pipelines Vumatel can rapidly deploy workloads and microservices into their different environments. Vumatel’s IT department is now able to deliver the agility that an innovation focused business like Vumatel demands. The architecture put into place is Highly Available, ensuring Vumatel’s mission critical workloads are always available and that business will always be able to operate uninterrupted.

To achieve this level of complexity and a highly reliable disaster recovery plan on-premise would be significantly more expensive and mostly likely not as dependable as deploying on Azure. Due to the ISP agnosticism of the mobile app functionality used by the Vumatel installers, the company is not restricted to installing fibre for just one specific ISP but can also service almost all ISP companies in South Africa.