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Veidekke's project "From the data center to the cloud" is large and demanding, but an important prerequisite for future innovation. In addition, the group gets better cost control and significantly better IT security.

Whether you are going to operate IT systems in your own data center or move everything to the cloud and let one of the big cloud providers take care of the operation is a question many businesses struggle to figure out.

The contractor company Veidekke was never in doubt.

“We started our cloud journey many years ago, and even though we are "hybrid" now - with some systems in our own data center and some systems in the cloud - our vision is that everything will soon be in the cloud”, says Andre Hellum, COO IT Group at Veidekke.

Andre Hellum, COO IT Group at Veidekke.
Smooth execution of a large cloud project

In connection with the project, Veidekke has put together a team consisting of employees from both Cognizant and from various functions at Veidekke.

Hellum believes that the "data center to the cloud" project that Veidekke is now running together with Cognizant is vital for future innovation.

Veidekke has big plans for what the construction site of the future will look like - with, among other things, systems that skilled workers can access via a mobile phone when they are out on the construction site, for example to be able to make better decisions based on insight into data.

Camilla Magelssen Camilla Magelssen, Client Partner, Cognizant

“This is an exciting collaboration for us and an example of how large cloud projects can be carried out in a flexible and good way by involving people from the IT department and people with good business understanding in the planning”, says Camilla Magelssen, Client Partner at Cognizant.

Hellum says that running the solutions in the cloud enables Veidekke to focus on the end product that will be delivered to the users.

“It accelerates the digitalization processes. While it could previously take weeks to find new resources and set up new infrastructure, this can now be done within minutes with a few tweaks. It is important for us to have systems that enable us to roll out new solutions quickly, that we can test new things, and not least that we can build it in a safe way”, he continues.

Good planning is necessary when everything is to be consolidated in the cloud

Veidekke started out doing road construction in Norway in 1936. Today they build roads, tunnels, bridges and houses throughout Scandinavia. Veidekke is one of Scandinavia's largest construction contractors, with more than 8,000 employees and a turnover of around NOK 38 billion.

“Veidekke has a lot of different systems and platforms, many of which have come about through acquisitions. I have worked in finance, and I can see that the construction industry is almost as standardized as the finance industry. Modernizing the IT solutions is therefore very demanding”, says Hellum.

Although Veidekke started moving its IT solutions to the cloud several years ago, the status in 2021 was that only 30 percent of them were in the cloud. The goal is 100 percent.

“You cannot switch off a data center until everything has been transferred. We therefore had to carry out a thorough review of the entire system portfolio to find out which applications should be moved over and when it should be done”, he continues.

The mapping showed that many of the platforms must be consolidated. This particularly applied to the large and heavy core platforms, such as systems for finance, accounting, and engineering solutions.

two women in server room

End of large investment costs for building IT solutions

The cloud has made it possible for Veidekke to build solutions faster and easier than before. For example, the company has built what it calls the "insights factory", a solution for analyzing data in the cloud to provide valuable insights to the business.

“Building this type of solution takes no time when everything runs on a modern cloud platform where you can pick and choose from a large menu of platform services”, says Hellum.

For IT, this is a new way of thinking, as you avoid the large investment costs that were previously involved when new solutions were to be built. Instead, the costs are transferred to the operating budget.

“However, this means that there are several pitfalls, and because of that we have worked closely with Cognizant around this "cloud economy". When you pay for usage, you need to understand how you buy the services – for example, that you can scale services up or down as needed and only pay for what you need”, he says.

Unsurpassed security

In addition to easier construction of new and forward-looking services, business continuity and security were among the most important reasons for Veidekke switching to a cloud-based infrastructure.

Hellum believes that today's threat picture means that the requirements for IT security are at a completely different level now than just a few years ago, and this is also an important reason why Veidekke does not want to run the solutions themselves.

“After performing an assessment together with Cognizant, the choice fell on Microsoft Azure. Microsoft is investing huge sums in Azure, which neither we, nor smaller data centers, can do. I believe it is impossible to deliver the same security in your own center that you get from one of the big cloud providers”.

In total, it will take two to three years before everything has been moved to the cloud.

“The plan is for everything to be done by 2024. It has been a demanding journey of change, and partnerships with heavy technology suppliers such as Cognizant have been very important for us to reach this goal”, concludes Hellum.

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