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This case study highlights the modernization of Relais Colis towards new analytics and AI capabilities. From the challenges they faced to the establishment of a secure cloud infrastructure on Microsoft Azure. Discover how our team collaborated to successfully deliver a robust, cost-efficient, and scalable analytics platform. This transformation has paved the way for the company to leverage advanced AI and analytics use cases, empowering them to stay ahead of the curve in an increasingly competitive market.

Key challenges & Context:

Relais Colis, one of the leading parcel delivery companies in France, manages a network of 7,500 relay points, and efficiently distributes 43 million parcels annually, covering 92% of the population. Their ambitious expansion plan aims to increase the relay points to 10,000 by 2024, emphasizing their commitment to enhancing service delivery across the nation.

Utilizing SAS 9.4 for analytics and decision-making, the company faced the need for advanced analytics and AI. Thus, they embarked on modernizing their infrastructure by migrating to the advanced, cloud-based SAS Viya 4 platform.

This migration posed several challenges for our client:

  1. Migration necessitated cloud infrastructure and specialized skills, absent in-house. To successfully complete this migration, they needed to find a reliable partner who could provide the necessary expertise and resources.
  2. Relais Colis needed Remote Managed Services (RMS) including the Hosting (HMS) on Microsoft Azure (Remote Managed Services entail remote monitoring and management of the analytics environment, while Hosting Managed Services refer to the provision and management of the cloud infrastructure). This meant that they not only had to migrate their existing SAS environment to the new platform but also set up a new cloud architecture to support it.

In addition, the company had no existing cloud infrastructure and needed to migrate to the Azure cloud to proceed with the migration. This added an extra layer of complexity to the project, as they had to consider the design, implementation, and management of a new cloud environment.

Therefore, Relais Colis wanted to have a single point for the modernization process toward AI and Analytics use cases, such as forecasting, predictions, and recommendation engines. This meant that the chosen partner had to be able to manage the migration, licenses, and infrastructure, ensuring a smooth and efficient transition to the new analytics platform.

Our Approach to this Migration to SAS Viya:

In order to overcome our client’s challenges, we took care of:

Project planning and scoping

Workshops were conducted to grasp client needs, harmonize the migration plan, and outline milestones. This step allowed us to customize the solution to the client’s specific requirements and develop a clear roadmap for the migration.

Assessment of the existing SAS environment

Our team of experts conducted a thorough evaluation of the client’s current SAS 9.4 environment to identify key components for migration, understand their dependencies, and assess the potential challenges and risks involved in the process.

Cloud infrastructure setup and preparation

We designed and implemented the client’s new Azure cloud infrastructure to host the SAS Viya 4 environment, ensuring that all security, compliance, and performance requirements were met. This new cloud architecture provided a scalable and flexible environment for the client’s future data and analytics projects.

Data and application migration

Our team executed the migration of the client’s data and applications to the new Azure-based SAS Viya 4 environment, ensuring that all data was securely and efficiently transferred. This included transforming data and processes to fit the new cloud architecture and testing the migrated components for quality assurance.

Post-migration support and training

To ensure a smooth transition and maximize the client’s success with the new environment, we provided ongoing support and training on the new SAS Viya 4 platform. This included addressing any post-migration issues, training the client’s team on the new features and capabilities, and providing guidance on best practices for leveraging the new environment.

Benefits for Relais Colis

The successful migration of the SAS environment to a new Azure-based architecture brought actionable benefits to Relais Colis:

  1. Streamlined project management
    With a single point of contact for the migration, licenses, and hosting managed services, Relais Colis enjoyed a smooth and well-coordinated project, reducing the complexity of managing multiple vendors and communication channels.
  2. Upgraded analytics & AI capabilities
    By moving to the extensible SAS Viya platform, Relais Colis gained access to advanced analytics features, AI, and machine learning capabilities, enabling them to make better-informed decisions and improve their operations.
  3. Cost efficiency
    The migration was completed in just 20 days, significantly reducing the overall project costs and allowing our client to quickly realize the benefits of the new platform.
  4. Scalable and flexible infrastructure
    With a web-based and scalable data and analytics platform, Relais Colis can easily adapt to future growth and changing business needs. The cloud infrastructure also offers the possibility to scale up or down according to their requirements, optimizing resource usage and cost management.
  5. Improved data security and compliance
    The new cloud architecture was designed and implemented with security and compliance requirements in mind, ensuring that our client’s sensitive data is well-protected and compliant with the relevant regulations.
  6. Future-proof platform
    The migration to SAS Viya 4 on Microsoft Azure not only addresses the company’s immediate needs but also positions them to take advantage of emerging technologies and trends in the data and analytics landscape. This allows Relais Colis to stay ahead of the competition and continue to innovate in their industry, with a particular enhancement in their ability to manage over 43 million parcels annually through an expanding network of relay points​.

Team Involved in this Migration to SAS Viya Project

The project’s success relied on the expertise and collaboration of a diverse team of professionals, each bringing their unique skills to address various aspects of the migration. The team consisted of the following key roles:

  • Project Manager: Oversaw the project coordination, managed timelines, and facilitated clear communication between team members, ensuring that all objectives were met.
  • Data Architect: Assessed the existing SAS 9.4 environment, designed the new data architecture on the SAS Viya platform, and ensured that the new solution met Relais Colis’ requirements and was optimized for performance and scalability.
  • Cloud Architect: Designed and set up the Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure, ensuring that security and compliance requirements were met, and provided guidance on best practices for cloud deployments.
  • SAS Migration Specialist: Executed the migration process, including data migration and transformation, and provided training and support to Relais Colis’ staff for a smooth transition to the new platform.

Technologies Used

Our team leveraged state-of-the-art technologies to execute a seamless migration, ensuring that the new platform met Relais Colis’ needs for advanced analytics and scalability. The main technologies used were:

  • Microsoft Azure: The chosen cloud provider, offering a range of services and tools for building, deploying, and managing the SAS Viya environment, with features like global infrastructure, security, and scalability.
  • SAS Viya: The latest version of the SAS analytics platform, providing advanced analytics capabilities, AI, and machine learning features that empower businesses to make better decisions and improve operations.