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Kaplan Case Study

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Customer Details:

Kaplan Professional is one of the largest providers of professional education and training in Australia, providing services to over 50,000 advisers, responsible managers, lenders and customer service staff annually.

Business Needs:

Kaplan needed to transform their core IT infrastructure to be more agile, scalable and cost effective. IT needed to move towards a DevOps environment to support business growth, change and strategy.

Solution:

PolarSeven provided AWS advice, planning, resourcing and internal up skilling to execute a re­architecture and complete migration of Kaplan systems to the cloud over a 9­month period.

Results:

  • Kaplan mitigated significant Capital hardware refresh costs and reduced ongoing operating expenses by around 50%
  • IT is more agile and lean
  • Disaster Recovery was achieved easily for core business systems with minimal investment

Interview With Matt White – CTO For Kaplan Australia:

Tell us a bit about Kaplan from your perspective. I.e. core competency, marketplace, typical business challenges

Kaplan in Australia has a broad and diverse range of educational offerings and assets, encompassing English Language, Higher Education, Vocational and Professional Education across multiple business lines.

Kaplan in Australia has a broad and diverse range of educational offerings and assets, encompassing English Language, Higher Education, Vocational and Professional Education across multiple business lines.

Kaplan Australia is a division of Kaplan International, in turn part of Kaplan Inc., a leading global provider of educational services to individuals, schools and businesses, serving over one million students annually with operations in more than 30 countries.

What were your pain points that prompted the move to the cloud?

Kaplan Australia has experienced rapid growth and made various acquisitions, which as a result has led to a diversity and duplication in business and technology systems.

The challenge has always been in the standardisation of systems and business processes across the group whilst catering to the unique needs of each business line and product offering, and integrating new products or businesses as they are created or acquired.

This consumed a significant part of our time and focus over the years and we increasingly found our core Infrastructure and service providers were just unable to keep up to the changing needs to the business especially in terms of being able to scale both in and out within reasonable timeframes and at appropriate costs.

This consumed a significant part of our time and focus over the years and we increasingly found our core Infrastructure and service providers were just unable to keep up to the changing needs to the business especially in terms of being able to scale both in and out within reasonable timeframes and at appropriate costs.

There was a clear need for IT to be far more agile in delivery of services. Our core infrastructure and outsourcing arrangements were holding us back significantly, we needed to take control and ownership of the entire stack to meet the business need.

To further complicate matters there was a lot of equipment in the Datacentre approaching end of life and capacity with additional pressures to reduce cost. A traditional refresh of this equipment was going to be cost prohibitive and upfront. It was clear that alternate approaches were required and the strategy quickly moved toward leveraging the cloud.The team briefly surveyed the market and assessed various IAAS platforms but it was clear early

A traditional refresh of this equipment was going to be cost prohibitive and upfront. It was clear that alternate approaches were required and the strategy quickly moved toward leveraging the cloud.The team briefly surveyed the market and assessed various IAAS platforms but it was clear early

It was clear that alternate approaches were required and the strategy quickly moved toward leveraging the cloud.The team briefly surveyed the market and assessed various IAAS platforms but it was clear early

The team briefly surveyed the market and assessed various IAAS platforms but it was clear early that AWS was the market leader, with functionally and service offerings far superior to the competition at the time. The

The customer centric strategy of AWS also significantly impacted the decision and aligned with the Kaplan strategy.

The next challenge was how to execute a move.

How did you engage PolarSeven?

We actually engaged a few cloud consultancies. However the way that PolarSeven operated worked well with our internal strategy and needs at the time. PolarSeven

PolarSeven were direct, transparent and partnered with the internal team to make decisions around AWS quick and relatively easy.Their approach also drove up­skilling and engagement with the AWS platform internally. This

Their approach also drove up­skilling and engagement with the AWS platform internally.

This played a major part in our success with our cloud journey.

We needed an Agile and Lean partner, one who took time to understand the issues and complexities but also understood and executed on the urgency and what the end state needed to look like.

PolarSeven balanced all of this very well.

Key to the success was PolarSeven’s methodology.

In a Lean and Agile manner where we are constantly learning and iterating on everything ­ we started small, and grew from there.

This allowed PolarSeven to learn about Kaplan’s IT challenges, but also learned how the business operated.

From Polarseven’s perspective these methodologies are key running successful projects and its something we live and breath everyday.

How would you describe the project in terms of success? Was business value realised?

Absolutely. It met all our key objectives and more.

The move to AWS and using PolarSeven as our consulting partner allowed us to execute on our
strategy and meet the business need.

AWS reduced our operating costs significantly and has completely removed the capital refresh cycle for core infrastructure.

We knew ­ if the project was successful the numbers were going to be good, but it turned out far better than anticipated, not only that AWS keeps dropping their costs, their whole operating model is really unprecedented in the IT industry.

Any Unanticipated Benefits?

Disaster recovery wasn’t unforeseen but it turned out to be a lot easier.

We don’t need high end and expensive DR solutions it’s all part of the architecture philosophy (design for failure) and platform capability. By leveraging different zones and regions within AWS we achieved our disaster recovery goals with minimum investment.

The move to AWS has allowed IT to be agile and meet the business need, spinning up environments as needed in an automated and repeatable fashion. IT is definitely enabling the business and supporting rapid growth and constant changes, which has been a complete transformation.

 

 

About PolarSeven

PolarSeven’s vision is to be a customer centric, Amazon Web Services consultancy, where cloud computing is seen as a key enabler to our customers needs and challenges. “We help our customers achieve amazing things.....”

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