A few years ago Ingersoll Rand, a company whose jackhammer drills and portable air compressors helped sculpt the faces of presidents onto Mount Rushmore in the 1920s, found itself with information technology platforms and enterprise applications that were almost as difficult to alter as the granite of a mountain.
Over the past 143 years Ingersoll Rand has grown from a drill manufacturer to a US$12 billion global industrial powerhouse, with well-known brands such as Club Car, Ingersoll Rand, Thermo King, and Trane. And as it grew, its IT systems and applications grew—both in number and complexity. The result was a landscape of disconnected and difficult-to-change IT systems and applications.
With an eye on the future, the company is now moving fast from a world of legacy applications and difficult-to-integrate systems to an integrated and agile IT platform based on Oracle engineered systems and Oracle Applications, along with a global set of common infrastructure business processes.
Location: Davidson, North Carolina
Industry: Industrial manufacturing
Revenue: More over US$12 billion
Oracle Products: Exadata Database Machine X4-2, Exalogic Elastic Cloud X4-2, Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.3, Oracle Database Appliance X4-2, Oracle WebLogic Server 11g, Oracle SOA Suite 11g, Oracle Service Bus 11g, Oracle Transportation Management 6.2, Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g
To put itself in a position to provide premier performance throughout all its business lines, Ingersoll Rand initiated a six-phase, five-year business transformation process known as the SMARTransformation project, which spans all of the company’s infrastructure processes, from receipt of an approved order all the way through receiving cash and closing the books. The key component of the SMARTransformation project is the company’s move to a global design based on a single instance of Oracle E-Business Suite.
“It’s a full-scale transformation that will affect every area of our business,” says Kevin Lilly, vice president of business transformation at Ingersoll Rand. “The backbone of our transformation project is Oracle E-Business Suite running on Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic. They’re really the heart of our systems going forward.”
Ingersoll Rand started its Oracle engineered systems journey in 2012 with the X2 releases of Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic, and upgraded to the X3 releases in 2013. “The X2 and X3 systems gave us confidence that Oracle engineered systems were the right choice for us,” says Mike Smedberg, global tech services director at Ingersoll Rand. “We are starting to realize performance improvements with them.”
“The system performance of the Oracle engineered systems is difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate elsewhere,” says Smedberg. “We also choose them for their reliability. We implement Oracle software using the Oracle maximum availability architecture, so we cluster everything, everywhere so we have no single point of failure. It works better, and we have better visibility into the underlying infrastructure problems when they occur.”
When Ingersoll Rand made the decision to transition its legacy applications and systems to a single global instance of Oracle E-Business Suite, it did benchmark comparisons of the new applications running on Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic against its legacy hardware systems.
“We saw very noticeable improvements in performance on the Oracle engineered systems,” says Smedberg. “That’s when we committed to the path of using Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic platforms to run our new global single instance of Oracle E-Business Suite 12.”
Ingersoll Rand brought in the X4 releases of Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic in 2014 to be the foundation for its SMARTransformation project, for everything from development through production and disaster recovery. By using the X4 engineered systems to host a single instance of Oracle E-Business Suite, Ingersoll Rand will be able to help support profitable growth through more efficient and effective processes as well as provide access to more reliable and more accurate information that enables better business decisions. In addition, this transformation will increase productivity and improve the Ingersoll Rand customer experience.
The project is migrating and consolidating Ingersoll Rand’s existing legacy systems to the new global Oracle E-Business Suite implementation running on Oracle engineered systems. The company has completed phases one and two of the six-phase transformation project and is in the middle of phase three. The organization already supports numerous global locations and users across 34 countries around the world on its single Oracle E-Business Suite 12 instance.
A key component of Ingersoll Rand’s consolidation strategy has been its adoption of Oracle Exalogic. Ingersoll Rand uses its Oracle Exalogic systems to run a range of Oracle Fusion Middleware products and Oracle Applications, including Oracle WebLogic Server, Oracle SOA Suite, Oracle Service Bus, Oracle E-Business Suite, and more.
For Ingersoll Rand, integration and performance made Oracle Exalogic a logical choice. “The way Oracle Exalogic is integrated with Oracle Exadata and the performance of those systems working together with the advanced InfiniBand networking enables us to do things that would be very, very difficult to do if we chose to build something like this ourselves,” says Smedberg.
Ingersoll Rand has invested heavily in Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic, but its interest in engineered systems doesn’t stop there.
The company also purchased an Oracle Database Appliance in 2014 and is currently in the process of deploying it within its production environment.
Oracle Database Appliance, a 4U rack-mountable system with redundant and hot-swappable components, combines high availability and simplicity in a clustered database solution.
“Our first Oracle Database Appliance deployments are really meant to give us experience with the platform so we can learn where they can help us the most,” says Mike Smedberg, global tech services director at Ingersoll Rand. “We’re starting out using them for internal workloads like our enterprise monitoring system based on the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Grid Control feature [now known as the Cloud Control feature].”
One important feature of Oracle Database Appliance that Ingersoll Rand is already using is the system’s support for virtualization. “Oracle Database Appliance also supports virtualization, so we’re leveraging that,” says Smedberg. “It gives us the ability to carve up its resources into little slices and use them as we see fit. The design of Oracle Database Appliance gives us a lot of flexibility.”
For other companies considering a similar transformation, Lilly recommends that they take an incremental approach that allows organizations to understand how to operate the engineered systems platforms in the best way possible.
“An Oracle engineered system is like having a Ferrari in the garage,” says Lilly. “It can provide incredible performance, but you also need to have good mechanics to get the most out of it. That’s why it was important for us to not only have a really strong technical team; we also fostered a close partnership with Oracle to quickly mitigate any problems we encountered.”
Engineered systems can simplify things as well. “Having the combination of Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic is a little bit like having a data center in two cabinets. Most of the complexity of a modern data center is encapsulated in a single Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic platform,” says Smedberg. “So we don’t have to engage six vendors to be able to troubleshoot a problem.”
Ingersoll Rand is also leveraging the Oracle engineered systems to provide internal private cloud capabilities. “We have the ability to provision and deploy application servers and database servers much more rapidly than if we were using traditional components,” says Smedberg. “So far, we really like what we’re seeing with our private cloud deployments.”
Ingersoll Rand currently has a significant number of applications targeted for migration to Oracle E-Business Suite running on the Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic platforms. And while some custom functionality may be lost in the transformation, Lilly and his Ingersoll Rand team say the positives of moving to a single global instance far outweigh the negatives.
“For us to continue to grow and have more customer-facing applications that will all work off a common platform is going to allow us to grow faster and be more agile than we are today,” says Lilly. “Right now, a simple change to our systems that we need to make to benefit our customers or sales force can be extraordinarily complicated.”
Once the consolidation and transformation is completed, the opportunity for leveraging the agility and reliability of the new Oracle engineered systems will really pay off. “Our transformation from legacy systems to Oracle E-Business Suite 12 running on Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic is going to create a platform that will support our growth for years to come,” says Lilly.
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Photography by Natalia Y, Unsplash