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Bausch & Lomb defies conventions and moves securely to public cloud

Varsha Chidambaram | Jan. 16, 2014
The riveting story of how the king of eye-care, Bausch & Lomb, moved its entire IT to the public cloud and why it was possibly the best IT decision it ever made.

The team consolidated eight instances of ERP in a single box. Nagar thought it prudent not to host the ERP on a virtual platform as it was fairly old and complex. Nagar used the successful consolidation as a launching pad to begin his real foray into the cloud. It was time to make the call to a private cloud operator in Hong Kong.

Come 2013, Nagar was ready to stretch his wings further. He no longer wanted the company's resources supporting the datacenter. There were much more important things to do. "Our core competency is not IT, our core competency is eye-care, and we want to focus on it," he says.

After having made that call and a few others, Bausch & Lomb went with a private cloud outsourcing partner and handed all its datacenter-related activities to it. Bausch & Lomb moved its entire IT to a caged area in a shared infrastructure platform in the outsourcer's DC. By moving its IT outside, it was able to exploit the benefits of a better rack structure and storage device, with minimum investment. And that's how it moved from a capex model to a completely pay-per use opex model.

But it still was a private cloud. The company's DC now resided in a caged area dedicated to Bausch & Lomb within the outsourcers' premises with limited access. "Once our confidence was built, we started tinkling with the idea of moving to a public cloud," says Nagar.

By the beginning of 2013, Nagar was ready to let go of the caged area: Better ROI, more scalability and more control, he reasoned.

The primary motivation was mainly cost. "We were happy with the security and the quality of services was much better, but cost was the key driver." By going entirely public, Bausch & Lomb reduced almost 20 percent of capex cost.

Finally, it was time for Nagar to make the last big decision: To move or not to move ERP. He decided to go ahead.

Today, all of Bausch's apps, except for one instance of ERP runs off a public cloud. "The ERP that is still lying in private is 30 years old and fairly unique to us. But the plan is to consolidate that too and move to a common platform," says Nagar. The company's contract with its vendor spans three years and comes with 24/7 availability and disaster recovery—a scale out model that it couldn't have imagined without the cloud.

Stumbling Blocks
The benefits of public clouds have always been universally accepted. And yet low adoption levels point to the fact that it's just too hard to implement. People and perception are always the biggest challenge, says Nagar. "You walk into a meeting with any business head, and his biggest worry is what will happen when something goes wrong. It's the fear of change," says Nagar.


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