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Bausch & Lomb defies conventions and moves securely to public cloud

Varsha Chidambaram | Jan. 16, 2014
The riveting story of how the king of eye-care, Bausch & Lomb, moved its entire IT to the public cloud and why it was possibly the best IT decision it ever made.

The riveting story of how the king of eye-care, Bausch & Lomb, moved its entire IT to the public cloud and why it was possibly the best IT decision it ever made.

Public cloud computing is arguably the least trusted technology we have today. Despite a stupendous promise, the technology continues to be under-utilized and viewed with suspicion. But there comes a time in business, when companies need to make some hard decisions, defy conventions, and take the road less traveled. That's exactly what Bausch & Lomb did when it decided to move its entire IT into a public cloud.

In the business of providing best-in-class eye-care for over 150 years, Bausch & Lomb's move to a public cloud shouldn't come as a surprise. A peep into the company's history is enough to understand that it has always had an innovative streak. For starters, it was the first company to manufacture x-ray glasses used for aviation and the 'aviator' glasses made famous my Tom Cruise in Top Gun. It was also the first to mass manufacture microphones and microscopes. In fact, it is the only company outside the film industry to have got the Oscar for manufacturing 70 mm screens way back in 1954.

The company flaunts a proud lineage based on innovation primarily in three verticals—pharmacy (deals with eye related disease products), surgical (machines for doctors to perform surgeries) and vision care (deals with contact lenses and lens care products).

Five years ago, the Indian wing of Bausch & Lomb was the hub of IT deliveries primarily for India operations only. It was quite neglected in terms of IT investments and more importantly not utilized for any global operations. But great ideas are often born out of the darkest recesses and by raising awareness of the huge talent pool that the country possesses.

Taking Baby Steps
The APAC region of Bausch & Lomb started toying with the idea of cloud computing in 2008. The business case was fairly obvious: Cloud would give it the best scalability, reliability, and availability that its budgets could buy. It gave the company the much needed bandwidth, without which it couldn't support business.

It was a critical call. Bausch & Lomb's business in India was growing at 16 percent year-on-year, and the company had already captured close to 60 percent market share in one of the business areas. But unlike its IT counterparts in other geographies, money wasn't flowing into IT. "Budgets were tight, but we couldn't sit with our hands tied and refuse to support business because money wasn't coming in," says Shuchi Nagar, former IT Director, Bausch & Lomb. But the problem was that there was a lot of negativity around cloud computing. However, it was still the company's best bet. Nagar was ready to place the gamble, but not a blind one.


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