The AA, which demerged from utility firm Centrica in October 2004, has successfully migrated its database of 24 million customers, representing several terabytes of data, onto an SAS 9 business intelligence platform in six months.
The motoring services firm was given less than a year from its 2004 split with its former parent company to migrate operational systems to its own newly-created IT department.
Nigel Clark, director of business development at the AA, led the transition. This involved moving 18 IT systems, including an SAP enterprise resource planning system and fleet management and IT management systems.
Clark said his objective was to move as many systems and as much data as possible without change and to only replace systems where there was a good reason to do so.
One of his main priorities was the migration of the organisation's database of new, existing and lapsed customers, which the AA uses for marketing its products and services.
When the AA was owned by Centrica, the database was hosted on a platform based on the SAS 8 business intelligence suite and an Oracle datawarehouse, with Business Objects tools used for querying and reporting.
Replicating this system would have required complex integration and saddled the new IT organisation with licensing costs for three enterprise software packages. "I looked at the cost and selected SAS 9 as it offered end-to-end functionality," said Clark.
Clark said he was able to run the database at half its cost at Centrica by using only one enterprise system where Centrica had used three, and by not incurring the overheads of being part of Centrica's corporate IT department.
Describing his future plans for the system, Clark said, "I plan to move the breakdown database onto SAS and link this with our customer database."
The AA runs its SAS 9 system on a Sun V890 server.