Bonding on a global level: a new IT landscape for INEOS Aromatics and Acetyls

Dec 06, 2022
  • IT
  • chemicals
  • Microsoft
  • Microsoft Azure

In 2021, multinational chemicals company INEOS acquired two new business units: Aromatics and Acetyls. To ensure smooth operations across multiple locations, an SAP carve-out and a new IT landscape were needed. The catch: it all had to be done in under 12 months. Brian Harley, who was head of IT at INEOS Aromatics at the time, shares his experiences during this challenging project.

From soft drink bottles and packaging trays to clothing and carpet and pharmaceuticals: BP businesses Aromatics and Acetyls produce many of the chemicals that are used to manufacture products we all use in our daily lives. With this acquisition, INEOS was able to significantly extend both its portfolio and geographic reach. Together, the new business units now account for 10 locations worldwide, over 1,900 users and 150 applications.

Check out the video below to hear Brian Harley, head of IT at INEOS Aromatics, explain how INEOS and Delaware set up a new IT landscape in less than 12 months.

Azure, pure and simple

Brian: “But first, the business units had to be fully separated from their former owner’s IT systems and services. In this case, that also meant deciding what to do with the existing cloud hosting strategy, which included both AWS and Microsoft Azure. Moreover, to be in line with the INEOS business model, most systems and services had to run independent from the rest of the company infrastructure.“

“Traditionally, INEOS has tried to keep its IT hosting in-house as much as possible. This time, to reduce complexity, we decided to uphold the existing cloud-first strategy. In this sense, sticking with just Azure was a logical step as well: we were already familiar with the Microsoft ecosystem through Teams and Office 365 and have been running several projects on Azure.”

Complexity and time constraints

The carve-out itself, however, was proving to be less straightforward. “Firstly, there was the high level of complexity: more than 150 applications had to be migrated, across 10 locations in three different time zones, with multiple third-party stakeholders involved. Secondly, to avoid the high cost of having to renew a term agreement under the previous owner, we had just 12 months to completion – an incredibly short time for such a high-stakes project.”

Even if they’d succeed and meet the deadline, they were not out of the woods yet, explains Brian: “In my experience, one of the biggest challenges after such an intense project is returning to normal, stable operations. Practices and policies must be put in place to keep the systems running smoothly, and a global governance framework is needed to ensure  global support.”

Wanted: reliable partner with a sense of adventure

Covering all those bases, however, requires a big team of highly skilled experts. INEOS’ in-house IT department didn’t have the resources to tackle it all. “We knew we had to take on board an experienced partner that could assist us throughout the whole project, and that could take care of support and managed services after implementation. Delaware’s offering, which includes SAP, Microsoft and OpenText, and its proven ability to support our services were exactly what we were looking for. After some negotiating, we decided to take on this adventure together.” 

“Over the following months, Delaware was involved in project and portfolio management for the SAP carve-out, created the environment and resources within Azure, and facilitated the overall applications migration and integration. This included re-installing, copying, and setting up and supporting Microsoft, SAP and OpenText applications. They also played a key role in assisting us in coordinating with other third parties to agree on workable solutions for many of the application and data transfers.”

Delaware is truly a one-stop shop for Microsoft and SAP, committed to delivering the project from start to finish, and beyond
Brian Harley, Head of IT at INEOS Aromatics

Speed and support

So how did it go? “We were able to complete the project in just short of 11 months and well within budget, in no small part due to the dedication and professionalism of the Delaware team. Their knowledge of and experience with Azure ensured rapid deployment of cloud resources. Frankly, I don’t believe the same timeline could have been achieved with on-premise infrastructure.”

But what about services and support after implementation? “Here, Delaware’s geographical coverage of the three main time zones is paramount. In every zone, a service coordinator is our single point of contact and the link between INEOS and Delaware’s managed services team. In this way, they act as an extension of our in-house IT team, offering both functional and technical support on a global scale.”

Good chemistry

“Perhaps even more important than pure technicalities, however, is the way Delaware works. They are truly a one-stop shop for Microsoft and SAP, committed to delivering the project from start to finish, and beyond. They bring tried-and-tested processes and best practices, but are also able to adjust to changing circumstances. That kind of commitment and flexibility perfectly suits our own way of working as well.”

In addition, INEOS is looking to make the move to SAP S/4HANA as well. Business process reviews and system preparations are already scheduled. In the meantime, the Delaware-INEOS team is working hard on IT and cost optimization in the brand-new cloud environment. “After such a challenging project, those finishing touches are really the icing on the cake,” Brian concludes.

Carve-outs and migrations are complex affairs, with time constraints often thrown in for good measure. That’s why our experts love them so much. Need to get your project (back) on track? We’re here to help.