William Grant & Sons opens datacentre for ERP consolidation

Distiller William Grant & Sons opens a UK datacentre to consolidate its global ERP operation

William Grant & Sons has opened an international datacentre in the UK as part of a move to consolidate its 11 ERP systems into one global system.

William Grant & Sons - which makes Glenfiddich single malt whisky, Grants whisky, Hendrick’s Gin and Sailor Jerry spiced rum – selected IFS in preference to brands such as Oracle and SAP.

John Brown, programme director at William Grant & Sons, said the industry was surprised he didn’t go with either Oracle or SAP. Cost was not a driver behind the choice and IFS was the best long-term fit with the company over the next 15 years, he said.

The ERP was in the second phase of its international roll-out which will be complete in the UK by July. 

Brown said the UK posed the most technical challenges, due to legacy from previous acquisitions, with IFS replacing JD Edwards and JBA. The UK also heads up the company’s global supply chain.

“It will allow us to make comparisons across regions and allow us to have a better hand on business by making smarter investment decisions," Brown said. 

"Undoubtedly there will be cost savings, but we haven’t quantified them.”

He said: “We have built a brand new state of the art datacentre outside Glasgow to consolidate our servers and infrastructure. 

"We are doing a lot behind scenes to make sure the ERP is scalable and that it’s easy to support as one networked infrastructure.”

The company wanted to open its own datacentre in order to keep its ERP running in-house. 

"We did think about renting space in someone else’s datacentre, we even looked at putting it in the cloud,"Brown said. 

"But we wanted to be in control of maintenance and upgrade planning as often or infrequently as we choose.”

A specialist organisation will oversee the monitoring of the datacentre, which will serve its global market and support all regional offices. 

"Previously, we had a cupboard under the stairs to support UK applications," said Brown.

Every component in the new datacentre is backed up, with an onsite generator in case it loses power supply from the National Grid.

Brown said that once the ERP roll-out was complete, it would expand both in functionality and geography as the company seeks to move into more emerging markets.

He added: “There’s a whole team of people running ahead of the ERP roll-out such as single active directory and a single, cloud-based networking technology. 

"That has been a gradual thing for us but widening out to regional offices. We are also standardising desktops.

“We are doing other thing with the cloud, such as putting e-mail on the cloud. It’s not a major push at the moment that we are using the cloud where appropriate.”

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