Applegreen plc (ESM-APGN), Ireland’s publicly quoted petrol forecourt retailer, with sites in the UK and US, selected Auxilion to implement a major IT transformation programme. The cloud-based solution facilitated the move from legacy IT systems across over 200+ global sites to support the company’s expansion internationally.
Applegreen, which reported revenues of €1.17 billion in 2016, has grown from 64 sites at the end of 2009, to over 250 forecourt sites across the UK, Ireland and the USA.
“Exceptional growth rates had placed strains on our existing on-premise technology. The need to rapidly incorporate new sites and scale seamlessly with maximum reliability led to a major review of our IT infrastructure in 2015,” commented Vincent Nolan, (former) Group Head of Information Technology at Applegreen plc.
“It is business critical to ensure resilience, stability and scalability when your operations run on a 24/7 basis. Implementing such a major transformation programme without downtime is like trying to change the tyres on a Ferrari without a pit stop.”
Working with cloud specialist Auxilion, which operates support centres in Ireland and the UK, Applegreen decided to implement a Microsoft Azure cloud computing solution which fits the three major requirements – resilience, stability and scalability.
“It was vital to find a partner like Auxilion that we could trust to provide us with strong Microsoft hosting, SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) and project management skills, as well as 24×7 support”
“We had embarked on a significant IT transformation program over the last 24 months which has been delivered in partnership with our suppliers including Auxilion,” added Nolan who has formerly managed IT transformation programmes for Dunnes Stores, Musgrave and Smyths Toys.
He added, “This was a huge task for the business. It was vital to find a partner like Auxilion that we could trust to provide us with strong Microsoft hosting, SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) and project management skills, as well as 24×7 support.”
“In addition to meeting the key project requirements, the Azure cloud solution is an Opex rather than Capex model, so it also frees up valuable capital to help Applegreen fund future expansion,” commented Paul Schmitz, chief sales officer, Auxilion. “New sites can be now be added quickly and seamlessly and updates managed centrally with the elimination of costly downtime and upfront investment.”
As a cloud computing approach is dependent on a reliable internet and telecommunications network, the first phase of the programme was to consolidate the previous eight telecom providers to one which was implemented by Three.
Auxilion has worked in partnership with Applegreen to manage the implementation of IT projects on the Microsoft Azure platform. These include the replacement of in house, end of life Exchange mail servers with cloud based Microsoft Office 365; extending the life of a legacy ERP system by moving from 32 to 64-bit processing; implementing a fully managed firewall service; introduction of a new store management suite incorporating EPOS; hosting of a new payroll system and 24/7 server management and monitoring.
“The total solution provides us with the ability to scale as our business expands without technology implementation barriers or major hardware or software costs,” added Vincent Nolan. “The cloud platform provides us with far greater reliability, resilience, stability, management and visibility than the previous dispersed on-premise approach.
“Auxilion is an award winning Microsoft partner and it was great to have the benefit of that experience in the implementation of such a business critical programme. We also have the reassurance of 24×7 support from Auxilion centres in Dublin and Sheffield.”