Finding a formula for success in Azure Cloud
DuPont moved production quality systems to the cloud to drive independent operations, real-time monitoring, reduced costs and increased flexibility.
After the separation of global chemical giant DowDuPont into three independent entities—Corteva, Dow and DuPont—DuPont quickly needed to establish its own independent IT systems. Key components of this effort were DuPont’s laboratory information management system (LIMS) and Focus EMI® solution, both of which had to be migrated to DuPont's Microsoft Azure Cloud and integrated with an ecosystem of related systems.
Achieving this objective presented some challenges. While DuPont and Accenture wanted to begin by moving the company’s existing on-premise SampleManager LIMS (SM LIMS) to DuPont's Microsoft Azure Cloud platform, this solution had never before been tested and validated on Azure. In addition, the effort would be complex, involving the integration of various systems, security provisioning, performance testing, cross domain integration (DuPont and Dow) and numerous sites.
DuPont, Accenture and Avanade—a joint venture between Accenture and Microsoft—began by running the SM LIMS solution on DuPont's on-premise and cloud platforms to enable it to deliver the same performance in both environments. This exercise confirmed that cross-functional/cross-level integration was not adversely impacted, and that connectivity and data flow was actually faster and persistent in the Azure network.
Once the core LIMS system was migrated to (and operating on) DuPont's Azure Cloud platform, the DuPont-Accenture team then integrated the platform with a variety of DuPont systems, including 10 related laboratory systems used in 70 DuPont plants by approximately 2,000 users. They also implemented Northwest Analytics’ Focus EMI® analytics dashboard solution on Azure and integrated it with DuPont’s AspenTech IP.21 process historian. This function stores production data and various business and manufacturing systems that also run on Azure, without sacrificing any security or performance.
Accenture worked with DuPont stakeholders to enable the migration to focus on the needs of the business and let DuPont take full advantage of the system.
Accenture provided focused training sessions that would help the DuPont team succeed after the project’s conclusion and developed guideline documents to help align end users with the migration. In addition, as DuPont was shifting more first-level support away from central IT to business users, Accenture conducted training and knowledge-transfer sessions to help those users handle more IT issues on their own.
Accenture played a pivotal role in the end-to-end (DowDuPont) migration, as well as setting up DuPont as a leading specialty chemicals company. As an independent entity, DuPont will have laboratory systems with a state-of-the-art Azure Cloud platform that provides extensive scalability, elasticity and security and adheres to strict IT standards. In addition, DuPont will benefit from:
Systems that are accessible from any part of a DuPont plant.
Code updates to manage applications seamlessly.
Licenses and level four annual support.
Facilitation of knowledge transfer workshops with DuPont’s run & maintain team and site SMEs.
Retention of all key business processes to ensure DuPont’s user experience will be enhanced beyond that of the Dow environment.
Seamless integration between Azure LIMS & ecosystem applications enabling transparency through data exchange protocols & role-based security.
The SM LIMS system in Azure was integrated with SAP (also hosted in Azure) and the AspenTech IP.21 data historian while conforming to all security and performance standards.
With the Focus EMI® solution, DuPont can maintain quality levels in production, with automated alerts helping to minimize management oversight. The company can also identify trends more accurately and respond quickly to problems—and even uncover and address potential issues proactively.
This effort is also helping DuPont control IT costs. With LIMS and Focus EMI® running on the cloud, the company has eliminated significant capital expenses for hardware infrastructure.
The cloud-based approach provides the agility and scalability needed for the future, making it simpler to bring LIMS to new sites and support DuPont’s growth. With Accenture’s help, DuPont has successfully put in place the critical manufacturing systems that will allow it to operate with greater efficiency while continuing to serve both its business and its customers well into the future.