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Bang & Olufsen moving into the cloud: A natural step on the digital transformation journey

​Automation, scaling and modernization are three key words in the Danish Bang & Olufsen's decision to move from on-premise to cloud operations. The goal is a modern, digital infrastructure with cloud-first as the basis of the company's ambitions in the high-end retail universe of the future.

Bang & Olufsen, the Danish manufacturer of high-end audiovisual solutions, is moving its infrastructure into the cloud in a strategic and natural modernization of its existing infrastructure involving the company's digital set-up. For Bang & Olufsen, the cloud-first strategy is the latest in a series of steps on the company's digital journey.

– The move into the cloud is basically just another part of our digital strategy, but it is an essential part. This involves Bang & Olufsen's digital infrastructure, and we will especially be looking at the opportunities that cloud technology provides for automating our processes far more than we do today, says Jan Topp, Bang & Olufsen's CIO. He emphasizes that the iconic brand's cloud strategy is the result of a carefully considered approach to the company's digital transformation:

– We expect the move from on-premise to cloud to take between 4 and 6 months. This may sound very little, but bear in mind that the scale of B&O's digital infrastructure is relatively modest in contrast to the public perception of B&O as a global luxury lifestyle brand. But, going cloud is a crucial maneuver for our infrastructure, and the opportunities for automating a number of processes will ultimately mean a faster time to market after automation of the otherwise time-consuming and heavy processes, he says.


One piece of the jigsaw

Bang & Olufsen's cloud-first strategy is part of a major modernization exercise that has been going on for some years. And although cloud is not necessarily a prerequisite for fulfilling the ambitions of the company, the investment in cloud will nevertheless affect every aspect of the modernization plan.

– The plan contains a number of initiatives that are expected to be implemented over the coming 6-12 months. In addition to migrating the infrastructure to a Microsoft Azure Cloud set-up, a new Master Data Platform and Enterprise Data Warehouse will be established. This will act as the foundation for working towards a more professional way of using data within the company. Moreover, a new integration platform is being implemented as well as a number of ERP and retail area analyses to support new opportunities in these areas, explains Jan Topp.


A complex maneuver                                       

Even though the shift from on-premise to cloud in many ways is a complex, technical maneuver, the idea is that it should be as controlled and trouble-free as possible.

– The transition will affect a number of IT processes, but paradoxically the success criterion is that the change should create as little attention as possible, according to the CIO.


A cost-effective cloud set-up

Bang & Olufsen's current on-premise solution is, just as the upcoming cloud platform, provided by NNIT. Jan Topp believes there is good reason to continue the partnership.

– For many years, NNIT has been one of our operations suppliers, and as part of the transition risk mitigation, NNIT has helped define and design how we can best carry out the move to a cloud solution. So this is more or less a joint venture – and by choosing them as our cloud provider, it is an attempt to manage risk from the very outset, Jan Topp emphasizes and explains:

– It is important that my organization, together with NNIT, establishes a solid foundation and strict governance for the many different services offered by Microsoft Azure. I want to avoid this turning into a pick and mix candy store, where we sign up for a lot of smart services and features that we will never actually use properly. For this reason, we are looking at this exercise together with NNIT from a cost perspective in order to establish sound management practices for the new cloud set-up. This means that exactly the right services will be designed and activated in the cloud to make the best of our budget, Jan Topp states.





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