Powering a new digital future: Eneco moves to the cloud to deliver sustainable energy across Europe

Leentje Chavatte
Read Time, 5 min.  

Harnessing the power of the wind and sun to create green energy solutions is all in a day’s work at Eneco, a sustainable energy company based in the Netherlands. But as the company grew, it faced a big challenge—it wanted to develop sustainable energy solutions in the most efficient way possible, yet its own legacy data estates and infrastructure were complex and outdated. Working with Microsoft Partner, Conclusion, Eneco took control of its destiny by moving its infrastructure and systems to Microsoft Azure.

With 3,000 employees in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, Eneco is a forerunner in the energy market, developing affordable solutions with customers and partners that save and enable self-generation. The company also invests in sustainable gas production and energy projects to reduce carbon emissions.

In early 2018, Eneco began charting a new course for its technology platform. A key goal was to future-proof the company’s IT landscape by moving to a cloud-based platform that offered greater agility and innovation opportunities than its existing on-premises servers and legacy environment. “We had an on-premises landscape and our focus was on achieving the scalability, availability, and flexibility we needed for the future,” says Sander Van Steenis, Manager Business Technology at Eneco.

After a tender process, Microsoft Partner, Conclusion, was chosen to support the migration, opting for Microsoft Azure as the platform of choice to host the company’s SAP environment.

Migrating at speed

Eneco was up against an incredibly tight timeframe to complete the first phase of the migration project—just seven weeks. Completing the technical migration quickly and before the fiscal half-year close was essential in order to move data and servers from another platform and vendor. Additionally, the scope of the migration project was large, moving 17.5 terabytes of data on 23 on-premises servers to the cloud.

Not only did the team meet the deadline, but they were able to complete the migration of their SAP environment running on Windows and SUSE Linux seamlessly, without any downtime or impact to business users. And, after the migration, tasks that had taken weeks or months in the past—such as building a new server or starting a new service—now took just minutes.

A crucial factor in such a successful deployment was the strong partnership between Eneco and Conclusion. Working together, they developed a plan for Eneco to move its technology landscape to the cloud in phases. In the first phase, the team focused on setting up a data infrastructure that was highly available and provided the connectivity and scalability they needed.

We chose to deploy SAP on Azure as we believe it’s the best solution for Eneco to handle large amounts of data, including databases such as HANA. We knew we had to build the new IT landscape from scratch, and Azure allowed us to do so quickly, without a lot of issues.
-Maximilian Ebenhoch, Business Innovation Architect at Conclusion.

While it’s early in the deployment, Eneco is seeing some of the benefits made possible by SAP on Azure, with migration to SAP HANA ongoing and plans to implement SAP S/4HANA on Azure. For example, in the past it took at least a few days to close out month-end administration and financial reporting. When SAP S/4HANA is fully deployed, it will take just a few minutes to wrap up monthly financials, and business leaders will be able to get data and insights in real time.

Speed and reliability are also key requirements for Eneco that will be improved by SAP on Azure. This was highlighted when the company encountered performance issues in the testing environment. With the new infrastructure in place, the testing environment could simply scale according to production requirements in mere minutes.

Previously, business users encountered performance issues with the legacy, on-premises technology solutions. Since the migration, there have been no performance issues. And with the new platform, Eneco can add new services and capabilities as they are needed.

Eneco MKB Electrical Charging

More flexibility drives innovation

After successfully completing such a vast migration at speed, the joint team has advice to offer other companies considering moving their services and data to the cloud. “Migration in seven weeks is very short. It’s not easy, but it’s absolutely possible if you put a dedicated team on it,” notes Van Steenis.

It is hard and you need a lot of freedom. In a big corporate environment like Eneco, it’s important to be on the same page regarding connectivity and security, for example. It’s far simpler if you move your data and services ‘as is’ and then adjust things as needed once you’ve moved to the cloud. It makes life a lot easier.
-Maximilian Ebenhoch, Business Innovation Architect at Conclusion.

Simplifying the migration process has meant that Eneco is now well on the way to an entirely cloud-based environment and is taking advantage of the many benefits of SAP on Azure, ensuring the company is best equipped for whatever the future might bring. After its rapid migration journey, consolidating both datacenters and costs in order to achieve the flexibility, scalability, and availability it desired, the company is already in a position to use technology as an enabler for the business.

Taking a leap forward from the increasing costs and limited performance of its on-premises past, SAP on Azure has enabled Eneco to remain competitive and be more productive, with its IT team now able to develop pilot projects and show business owners proofs of concept quickly. Where once highlighting the potential of new concepts to decision makers was based on proposals and predictions, teams can now create and demonstrate working examples of their innovations with tangible results. “We have the platform to try new services, pilot projects, and make a business case,” says Van Steenis. “You can show it works not only on paper, but on the screen.”

With its forward-looking decision to transform its IT estate, Eneco is moving toward a future of innovation, harnessing the innate benefits of the cloud in order to sustainably create energy from natural sources.

We had an on-premises landscape and our focus was on achieving the scalability, availability, and flexibility we needed for the future.
-Sander Van Steenis: Manager Business Technology at Eneco

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