Victaulic, the world leader in pipe joining and fire protection systems, designs innovative technologies and provides engineering services that address the most complex construction challenges faced by engineers, contractors, site owners and property managers. Based in Pennsylvania, Victaulic has more than 4,500 employees and 40 international facilities, helping customers in 120 countries succeed in the global construction industry.
Victaulic solutions are used across diverse business lines including oil and gas, chemicals, mining, power generation, water and wastewater treatment, military and marine, as well as commercial building and fire protection.
Deciding to move to the cloud
Victaulic had been managing operations with an Infor on-premises solution and recently upgraded to Infor’s multi-tenant cloud environment running on Amazon Web Services infrastructure.
At first, the goal of the project was simply a technical upgrade, wanting to adopt the newest version of the solution. But once Victaulic began to explore the opportunities, they realized the transformative possibilities available through a migration to Infor M3 CloudSuite.
Joe Savage, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Victaulic, describes the decision in the context of a CFO’s priorities. “I saw an opportunity for us to be more aligned and have more global synthesis on how we approach and execute in our business.”
The industry trend toward cloud deployment was obvious, he said. “We found all of the more significant vendors were moving to the cloud. Due to our strong relationship with the Infor team, we were able to have meaningful conversations that provided a deep understanding of where their strategy is going.”
Top driving factors
Joe explains the top three driving factors behind their decision to move to the cloud:
1. Innovation. Victaulic wanted to adopt cloud technology so they could have “the latest and greatest” functionality at all times, providing business users with the latest tools and technology, simplifying tasks, making their roles more efficient, and harnessing the power of data and analytics.
2. Cost of ownership. Victaulic realized that managing a data center and keeping pace with quickly evolving technology can be costly. Turning to a cloud-based solution, where upkeep is managed through Infor, allows Victaulic to integrate technology advancements quickly while paying one subscription price — simplifying the budget, saving time and energy.
3. Always modern. The move to the cloud means the company can be better aligned with new releases. Instead of launching new features and leading training region by region, Victaulic will be able to embrace new features one time, on a global scale.
More than a technical upgrade
Victaulic could have achieved many of their initial goals with a simple technical upgrade to the latest on-premises software release. That would have given them more features and functionality and helped them address the current regulations. But, once they explored the benefits of cloud computing, they saw the potential to turn their initiative into a transformative event.
“We were in the middle of our move to the latest M3 on-premises platform, when we decided to pause for a moment,” Joe explains. The team asked themselves: “If we think long term, where do we need to go? Do we have the technology that will enable us to be successful for the next 100 years?”
That look into the future led to excitement about new possibilities and opportunities. “Our business users are very curious, and they see some of the newer functionality and quickly look at it and say, ‘I know how this could bring value to me,’ ” says Mario D’Ambrosio, Victaulic CIO. Although business users are eager to jump forward, the IT team has called for carefully planned timing. “We are taking a very prudent approach. We want to get all of our business units at the table, do the design from a global perspective and walk away with a global blueprint.”
Joe agrees, saying it’s important to look beyond simply adopting features and, instead, try to connect the dots between processes. “If you want to fully leverage the technology available, you have to be able to look at your processes with a critical eye and make some strategic decisions.”
For Victaulic, that meant giving up some legacy customizations early on and adopting the standard functionality in the CloudSuite.
“Victaulic’s project management approach along with a dedicated internal project team ensured a well-executed and smooth implementation,” Joe says, adding that Infor, too, brought a great deal of “knowledge that was also very, very critical for us.”
“When you look at initiatives such as this, there are always certain elements of unknowns … a certain function or application that isn't working quite as planned, for whatever reason,” he says. “Infor ensured any issues were escalated to their internal team, who rapidly assessed, and pushed out changes as warranted. I thought that was done extremely well.”
Advice for others
When asked to share some key takeaways, Joe says getting the entire team on board early is critical, from the executive team to people on the shop floor. Mario had similar advice for fellow CIOs: “It's easy to overcome issues around the dollars and cents. But what will make or break any of these initiatives are the people and engaging them.” Victaulic incorporated a structured organizational change management strategy that Mario calls absolutely paramount.
Infor’s deep industry knowledge was helpful during the implementation of phase one—but Joe expects it will be even more valuable in future phases. “A key element that I think will be critical as we go forward are the subject matter experts on the Infor side that not only have an in-depth knowledge of the system itself, but the processes and functions as well. Those experts will be able to help facilitate the discussion among our team members and show them what's possible.”
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