What motivated Ericsson’s big push into the cloud

“The 10% that remains on prem is because of legal requirements or technical debt,” says Lennberg.

Using all three major cloud providers—Microsoft, AWS and Google—the IT department at Ericsson consumes approximately half, and the other half outside the business, and an important issue has been to manage costs when it’s so easy to get access to capacity and tools. The financial processes in particular are among the most difficult to implement and have required a major cultural change.

“In the past, the responsibility for cost control lay with the infrastructure teams and now it lies with operations, and it requires a lot of management,” says Hultin. “There are also measures such as limiting budgets that can be used.”

Migrating the business system

A large part of the migration has been about getting the business system from SAP to the cloud—a journey that took approximately six months.

“Our SAP environment is one of the largest and most complex in the world, so it was a huge move,” says Lennberg.

In order to succeed, the planning was done in close collaboration with all partners.

“Working proactively with specialists has been a success factor,” says Hultin. “And we knew that SAP works well in the AWS cloud.”

The core system itself was moved over a single weekend, with upward of 300 people working in shifts, and the rigorous planning worked.

“The following Tuesday, someone from finance said, ‘When you move next weekend, I want you to call every hour so I know if there’ll be any problems,’ and we had to explain that the move had already been made,” says Lennberg.

The importance of speed

Hultin believes that migrating as quickly as Ericsson did is a model of success.

“We haven’t allowed any amount of tinkering with alternative infrastructure strategies,” he says. “Everything can be done much faster than you think. We set up a tough schedule and worked rather forcefully, but when you get over 50% in the cloud, you get a change in the entire IT organization. I think if you drag it out it becomes a more painful process.”

Hultin also thinks it’s not enough to look only at costs.

“There was an element of cutting costs when we started, but we looked more at the whole,” he says, adding that the business in the cloud is much more cohesive now, with IT and the business in sync in a new way.

Something that specifically saves costs is getting access to infrastructure and tools.

“When new technology comes along, such as AI, we can use it immediately,” says Hultin. “We can leverage our cloud providers’ investments of many billions instead of developing for a few million ourselves. It’s hard to compete there.”

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