Chemical manufacturer W.R. Grace & Co. is poised for growth with HPE GreenLake

by | 20 Apr, 2021 | Case Study

Solution: HPE GreenLake
Field: Manufacturing

The pandemic and move toward a digital transformation have created a need for businesses to shift to cloud-centric infrastructure and applications. Sourcing IT through an as-a-service model offers flexibility and the benefit of expert management without the high upfront cost.

Advizex has found that customers are benefitting from hybrid cloud solutions like HPE GreenLake. HPE is Advizex’s longest-standing OEM partner, a relationship going back 40 years. It was also the first to the hybrid cloud market with GreenLake. Suitable for all industries and business sizes, GreenLake combines the best of HPE’s hardware and software along with third-party platforms and financial services for a workload-optimized cloud experience.

For example, one of the clients benefitting from HPE GreenLake is W.R. Grace & Co., a $2 billion global specialty chemical manufacturing company and a valued, long-term Advizex customer. Srini Vanga, VP and head of information technology, has been with W.R. Grace & Co. for 20 years. His company counts on his team to provide value to the business, helping them make decisions quicker and in real-time to stay adaptable to their changing market and business needs. That means IT is playing a bigger role as they move forward. Vanga knows he can count on Advizex to connect him with the right solutions.

“I’ve been working with Advizex for 15 years and with the same account manager and team for most of that time,” Vanga says. “They know how I operate and what I expect. We’ve developed a strategic relationship and I know I can always trust them to propose good solutions.”

Meeting customer and business needs

Advizex understood that to be successful, W.R. Grace & Co needed a solution for growth, especially in light of customer needs, the pandemic and future acquisitions.

W.R. Grace & Co must understand and even anticipate exact customer requirements to quickly create special materials to help improve its customers’ products and processes.

“We need to be able to provide rapid customization to our customers, which means flexible computing power to process and analyze huge amounts of material properties data and allow them to come up with products so we can go to market faster than our competitors,” Vanga says.

W.R. Grace & Co also needed strong technical capabilities to accommodate more remote work due to the pandemic. Not only is half of its workforce at home, the company’s also performed virtual factory visits, remote plant stock ups and virtual conferences for customers.

“We’ve done a lot of things we never thought possible,” Vanga says. “We expect some of this to go back to the way it was pre-COVID, but most will stay for good.”

Finally, W.R. Grace & Co needed a way to harmonize systems and processes from numerous mergers and acquisitions when systems and processes are not always standardized. Vanga says that keeping things moving together and in the same direction has always been a challenge.

A flexible solution for growth

HPE GreenLake was an ideal solution, providing W.R. Grace & Co with a private, on-prem cloud platform that’s fully scalable on a consumption-based model.

“It’s similar to what hyperscaler cloud providers have but allows me to scale up quickly as our business needs grow,” Vanga says. “I love it; it’s the perfect cloud solution for Grace.”

When customers choose a hybrid cloud there’s a lot of decisions to be made in regard to what to keep on-prem or in the public cloud. These decisions are crucial when it comes to business-critical applications.

Vanga says that addressing Grace’s SAP environment was simple.

“I did not want to be in the business of data centers or custom applications,” he says. “We wanted to be able to focus on our company’s core competencies.”

Most W.R. Grace & Co’s custom-built applications concerned procurement, sales and HR. Vanga replaced them with SAAS solutions like Salesforce, Concur and Ariba, all hosted in the cloud. He left mission-critical SAP applications on-prem for business reasons. As these applications become more standardized, he plans to move them to the cloud as well.

“HPE GreenLake provided flexibility to make these choices for our workloads with the ability to easily scale up,” Vanga says. “The biggest decision maker for me was that the platform is sized with a 20% buffer so we can scale in minutes instead of days or even months. When our business comes to us with a requirement for a new application or new data analytics capability that needs computing power, I don’t have to wait to provide it.”

W.R. Grace & Co recently completed a $570 million acquisition and Vanga says GreenLake allowed incorporating the IT without a hitch.

“If I had to bring on the additional computing power without GreenLake, I would have had to place an order, wait for the calls, and do all that,” he says. “With the 20% buffer, I can easily fit in a new acquisition.”

Advizex is excited to help continuing to serve W.R. Grace & Co and other customers with GreenLake to build valuable relationships and stand as a trusted partner in managing their IT solutions.

“I can call Advizex 24/7, day or night and they always pick up and assist me in my time of need,” Vanga says. “That’s the most important thing to me. I deal with a lot of IT vendors and I can confidently say that Advizex is at the top of the list in terms of its customer service.”