Wesfamers & Coronado: A smooth demerger & IT transition

Wesfamers & Coronado: A smooth demerger & IT transition

IndustryResources
Core BusinessMining
Number of employees1800
Geographic areaAustralia
Workloads MigratedWindows & SQL servers to Azure

Case study approved by Wesfarmers Resources and Coronado Global Resources for work conducted in 2018.

In December 2017 Wesfarmers announced that they had sold their Curragh mine to Coronado. This case study tells the story of the demerger’s smooth IT transition with both organisations partnering with Codify.

Separate and set up IT systems within a tight
transition time frame

In this acquisition, Coronado purchased a fully operating business (the Curragh mine) from Wesfarmers Resources Limited (WRL). Included in the acquisition were ‘functional IT systems at the moment of handover’ – without any disruption to the running of the mine. The timeline from sale to transition was just 3 months.

Meanwhile, the small team that was staying with WRL (i.e. not part of the Coronado purchase) also needed new systems set up and ready to go. A time critical, double-pronged challenge for Codify. “The project team led by the Resources business needed to ensure an effective separation,” said Mike Dixon, CFO WRL. “We needed a setup that could work for the team staying with WRL and to ensure we handed over fully operational IT systems to the buyer (Coronado).”

The critical thing was timing from a contractual point of view. We had a specific time period within which the transition had to happen. There could be no compromise on the outcomes due to the many obligations at play.

Conrad Gagner, Technology Manager, Coronado Curragh (who was with WRL before the transition)

A two-phase process supports the transition for both WRL and Coronado

The WRL transition team selected Codify as the IT partner, based on both their pre-existing relationship and the experience Codify had with similar projects.

“We wanted to ensure that we employed someone that could deliver the outcomes we needed in the tight time frames,” said Mike Dixon, CFO of WRL (part of the transition team that stayed with WRL). “With these sorts of projects, you don’t have the opportunity to do it again. We had confidence that Codify could deliver the results.”

Codify completed two phases of works to support the sale of Curragh to Coronado. In Phase 1 they delivered a new cloud environment for WRL and helped to identify and migrate data to new Office 365 and Azure platforms. Phase 2 was the migration to a new Office 365 tenant for Curragh post sale. A critical success factor of both phases was that there be no outages.

“The implementation happened over a weekend,” said Rochelle Jones, Senior, Service Delivery at Curragh (part of the WRL transition team). “It was all hands on deck, trouble shooting and identifying any issues. This was done by our internal team and Codify and was a very smooth process.”

One of the big risks was the potential loss of any Curragh data. Our own core team was busy with day-to-day operations. This all had to happen in addition to business-as-usual, so we needed a partner that could deliver this while minimising the reliance and impact on our day-to-day people.

Conrad Gagner, Technology Manager, Coronado Curragh

An uneventful implementation brings sigh of relief

The changeover was smooth from all perspectives. Mike Dixon was initially concerned that the new resources office for WRL wouldn’t be established
quickly enough, but this was happily not the case. The implementation resulted in a number of benefits including:

  • Smooth changeover: “It was all very uneventful which is what we wanted,” said Conrad Gagner. “There were no negative consequences which to us means success, as the risks were significant.”
  • Process automation saves time: A key additional benefit was the automation of the set-up process, such as helping staff get up and running with new email addresses. “We didn’t have to do it manually which saved us so much time,” said Conrad Gagner. “Codify set up scripts which ran in the background to minimise the work required.”
  • Cloud environment brings simplified IT structure: In helping to set up the new IT environment for the WRL team, all parties involved got an insight into the benefits of a cloud-based IT environment, including advanced features around reporting and security. “For our smaller team now, from the day-to-day perspective, the experience is better,” said Mike Dixon of WRL. “We now operate in a cloud environment and access all our applications that way. It is much simpler. We have no need for on-premises infrastructure.”
  • Best practice model for future projects: The process has ‘demystified the cloud’ for the team at Curragh. “We learned a lot from the process,” observed Rochelle Jones. “We now have a vision of where we want to get to and have seen what it looks like. We aim to build on what Codify has created for us here at Curragh.”

We wanted – and got – a fit for purpose solution. We wanted something that would work well and delivered a great experience to the team in a way that made sense for an organisation of our size. Codify delivered on this.

Mike Dixon, CFO, Wesfarmers Resources Limited

Words of advice

Planning well, planning early and finding the right IT partner are all crucial to the success of a project like this, according to all the key personnel involved.

“Select a good partner vendor if you have not done this before. Make sure you plan for the worst-case scenario and communicate to the business throughout the process, so you can manage problems as they come up. And prioritise your users and workflows to ensure that the critical elements are looked after first,” said Conrad Gagner.

While Mike Dixon added: “Plan early. Give yourselves as much time as possible to plan to tackle the problem and then resource accordingly.”

Looking ahead

A priority for Curragh is to learn from their new knowledge around cloud infrastructure and Codify will likely be key in any further developments on this front.

The team at Codify is really good. Free flowing communication, a lot of knowledge transfer, nothing is too much trouble. Our experience with them has been, and continues to be, excellent.

Rochelle Jones, Senior Service Delivery, Coronado Curragh