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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 other fear was the move itself. What will happen during the move? How much downtime will there be? Will there be a loss of data?

"We did our best to prepare top management for the shift. We ran a series of awareness workshops, communicating the risks and rewards. We involved all the stakeholders, educated them on what the cloud means, and why it was good for business. Fear often stems out of ignorance. Our objective was to remove the very root of fear from their minds," says Nagar.

While he was prepared, in theory, Nagar didn't stop there. For every move it made, either from its private DC to the private cloud, or from the private cloud to the public cloud, he did multiple dry runs. "On our last leg, we did five rehearsals of moving the ERP from private to public cloud over five weekends. Every Friday, we would shut down for four hours, take a complete backup, and then start ERP again in the migrated platform and upload all data. We would then run it past business to check if everything was fine. By the third time, they came back to us and asked if the other two runs were really necessary!"

So, was getting buy-in difficult? Nagar says he worked hard for it. "The secret to getting a buy-in is pre-selling. Even before I presented my business case to move to the cloud, they were well aware of the trend and bought into the concept."

The Road Ahead
Currently, the public cloud project covers only the APAC division of Bausch & Lomb, and it hasn't been able to replicate the same success with its more developed geographies. And it doesn't intend to do so.

"Despite its benefit, public cloud is not for everyone. We had been neglected from an IT perspective for three decades, hence our cost case for cloud was stupendous. But in developed markets the business case is not that strong. APAC, on the other hand, couldn't have survived without moving to the cloud."

Today, the company has eliminated capex entirely by moving to a completely pay-per use model. "We operate in a high-growth market, hence agility is non-negotiable. We need to be able to scale up and down on-demand," says Nagar.

And this was brilliantly demonstrated recently when Bausch & Lomb was acquired by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International. "When we got taken over, we realized the need for synergies. I had to scale down my staff which was a breeze because I just had to give a two-month notice. My SLA with the vendor is so flexible that I don't need to pay for extra capacity for even a day," says Nagar.


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