How LSPI migrated its SAP workloads into IBM Cloud in seven months

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LSPI infrastructureWho would you turn to if you were asked to stand up your own IT infrastructure in just a few months? That’s a question my company, LiquidPower Specialty Products Inc. (LSPI), a Berkshire Hathaway Company, had to answer in 2017.

LSPI is the global leader in the science of drag reduction. Specializing in maximizing the flow potential of pipelines, LSPI offers a full-service solution for our customers.

Our product is business critical, so LSPI’s full-service approach enables our customers to focus on their primary roles and responsibilities, knowing that any question regarding their pipeline drag reducer operations can be addressed by a single phone call to us.

With a rich history of corporate ownership, LSPI has benefited from internal corporate teams to provide and support IT infrastructure. When Berkshire Hathaway acquired the business in 2014, their own specialty chemical company, The Lubrizol Corporation, initially provided these services.

Three years later, LSPI became a standalone company within the Berkshire Hathaway family. This change meant that LSPI would need to establish our own back-office systems and processes. With those came numerous decisions. The first was finding a suitable partner to help support integration of a new IT infrastructure.

Standing on our own

Having never been in this situation before, LSPI’s leadership team began looking into options for how to develop and support the IT infrastructure as an independent company. Since our past parent organizations were large entities, the level of sophistication and committed resources exceeded the needs of the new LSPI, which led us to consider managed services.

LSPI had previously worked with IBM during our integration process into Lubrizol, and was familiar with the company’s capabilities. The experience had been favorable, with minimal impact to business operations and a knowledgeable, responsive support team.  It was an easy decision that our leadership team felt comfortable with.

The timing of LSPI’s IT integration needs overlapped with the business opening a new manufacturing facility at the end of 2017. LSPI leadership did not want to distract the organization by rolling out an entirely new SAP system and made the decision to clone the existing SAP system from Lubrizol’s environment while opting to support the system in IBM Cloud.

A smooth ride

Beginning in January 2017, IBM Services worked with LSPI, Lubrizol and SAP to replicate the SAP environment and migrate data. While a typical migration process would have a laundry list of issues needing repair, that was not our experience. A few minor issues arose and were resolved quickly. Throughout our organization, we heard that the transition was smooth — the smoothest implementation they had experienced — and that the team exceeded expectations.

From a user perspective, integration was seamless. Employees were using one system one day, and a few days later, they were using the new system. The cloned system, while operating independently, left employees confident in use. It was like no major change had occurred. Only from my view behind the scenes do I understand how much effort went into the planning and execution of launching the system.

Best case scenario

There was not a single disruption to our business, no distraction or intensive training to employees and zero impact to LSPI’s customers.  Just as LSPI prides itself on its ability to simplify the user experience to our customers, IBM stepped in much the same way.

We felt that we had a trusted partner who listened to our needs, explained our options and turned a potentially stressful scenario into a non-event.

Read the case study for more details.

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