Case Study | FMCG Cloud Migration to Azure

Strategic Cloud Migration for a Multi-brand FMCG

Published: 1 November 2021

Business Challenge

A large FMCG company had their brands and business units operating in a federated manner. While this is sometimes common practice, it created a scenario where shadow IT occurred, especially in the digital space. Thus, GRC and execution against an overall IT strategy became impossible.

Each brand within the group was running its own digital policies, if at all, and operating on various platforms. Additionally, 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 high IT security risk to the group. This situation came to a head when an external incident caused severe damage to one of the brands. The incident had the potential to damage the main holding company’s brand as well as the financial well-being of the entire group.

Consequently, the company began to bear a barrage of hacking attacks on its various websites. Because of this, there was a need to consolidate the various brands’ hosting onto a single environment, which could be governed and monitored by Group IT.


The Solution

The Microsoft Azure Cloud was recommended by Tangent Solutions, enabling the implementation of a hardened and secure hosting environment. One could monitor all the websites on a single toolset, as well as perform speedy and advanced disaster recovery if needed. The websites were deployed into data centres in Europe at the time of the consolidation project.

Through Tangent’s in depth knowledge of Azure, the remotely hosted websites were able to outperform local websites in South Africa. The consolidation project did face significant challenges due to the federated nature of the company. Some of this was caused by resistance to a perceived ‘loss of independence’.

Additional complexities arose when engaging with business units who did not understand the chosen technologies nor kept them 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. Thus, resulting in risky shadow IT.

The Process

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 the 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.

FMCG Business Outcome

Business Outcomes

After the migration, the company no longer suffered 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. These 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 there is a lack ownership of the company’s total digital footprint. Valuable digital assets need to be managed effectively and given careful consideration. 

Consumers operate on digital platforms constantly. Well known brands need to ensure their digital presence is secure and drives customer engagement. While hosting costs can be higher, they are valuable and worth the expense. If the company accounted for the costs of the risk and brand damage, the cloud costs were insignificant in comparison.

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.

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