An Azure Cloud Modernization Journey With Milwaukee Tool and OmniData

Milwaukee Tool is a global manufacturing company focused on producing the coolest, most functional, durable power tools on the planet. 


Milwaukee has gained a leadership position in its space by leveraging innovation, agility, and creativity in its unique information technology strategy and corporate culture. 


At its core, Milwaukee Tool considers itself a solution provider, not a power tool company. And if you've seen or used some of their industry-leading, innovative products, you would probably agree with that assessment. 


Milwaukee Tool has invested over $350 million in factory and facility expansions over the last five years alone. They have invested enormous amounts of capital in R&D, plants, facilities, and technology. The company has over 7000 employees, over $6B in annual sales, and manufacturing facilities worldwide. 


The company summed up its growth strategy in a recent press release:


“Throughout the last decade, Milwaukee Tool has experienced rapid growth across the globe, with sales growing more than 20% each year. Amid this growth, we’re going to continue aggressively investing in our product development, and diversifying our manufacturing base through expansion projects in the United States,” said Joe Galli, Chief Executive Officer at Techtronic Industries [Milwaukee’s parent company].

In the last five years alone, Milwaukee has invested $368 million in domestic expansion projects and now employs more than 7,600 people in the U.S.

Currently, Milwaukee has manufacturing, distribution, and operations presences across the nation in…The company is also building a new hand tool manufacturing plant in West Bend, WI, which is anticipated to open in 2022.


That’s impressive growth for sure. Part of the transformation that has helped sustain the company’s innovation and explosive growth has been on the information technology side of the business’s operations. And at OmniData, we’re proud to be an integral part of Milwaukee Tool’s digital information transformation leveraging the Azure Cloud


As Azure Data Analytics partners, we simplify complex information ecosystems. 


Our goal is to help our clients, like Milwaukee Tool, maximize the value of information by building a Modern Data Estate. Companies partner with OmniData to empower their workforce by accessing business insights using Azure Power BI analytics, Azure Synapse, and the power of the Azure Cloud. 


What exactly were the technology challenges that Milwaukee Tool faced as it embarked on its transformative IT journey to the Azure cloud?


They had a very typical legacy IT environment. Information was locked inside expensive data silos and isolated applications like Oracle, SQL Server, NetSuite, DB-2, etc. 

This type of segregated data structure did not lend itself to Milwaukee’s culture built on agility, collaboration, and shared business insights across all levels of the organization and management.

Milwaukee Tool realized its critical business information was essentially locked inside these isolated silos and inaccessible to stakeholders. Trying to share information was next to impossible. According to Joshua Van Heirseele (Josh), Director of Milwaukee’s Data Analytics Team, the on-premise, hosted infrastructure model was simply “not delivering” from an agile perspective.


The IT team was spending way too much time on non-core business tasks like infrastructure management, maintenance contracts, license management, security, etc.

The Milwaukee IT team formed an architecture council to address potential solutions. The team ultimately decided that moving to the Azure Cloud was the future direction for enterprise IT. But there were obstacles to overcome.

Legacy data centers, limited Azure cloud presence, and limited cloud skill sets were significant challenges the IT team would need to overcome quickly and seamlessly.

The Milwaukee Tool IT team needed a go-to partner they could trust. They needed a Microsoft Gold Partner with the Azure cloud experiential expertise to launch their cloud journey and help bring it to fruition. That partner was OmniData. 

OmniData had the Azure skills and expertise to hit the ground running. The Milwaukee architecture and analytics teams worked closely with OmniData to develop an implementation strategy. The goal was to migrate critical information from disparate database applications into a centralized Azure Data Lake Store (ADLS) architecture. 

The collaborative process and architecture goals utilized several best practices recommended by OmniData. The objective was to increase migration speeds and expedite the export from on-prem data silos to the ADLS. Innovative migration tools included using serverless compute for SQL queries and an advanced Azure Key Store to enable massive parallel processing. The Key Store’s ability to calculate surrogate keys in advance accelerated migration to dedicated Azure Synapse pools from on-prem resources.

Milwaukee was able to leverage OmniData’s expertise withAzure architecture options, cloud infrastructure design/build processes, and enterprise-scale data migrations. 

The result is a shared, dynamic data lake architecture incorporating an enterprise data warehouse, analytics framework, and data mart. Azure Synapse Analytics serves as the enterprise data analytics framework. 


From the data warehousing and analytics experts at Azure


Azure Synapse Analytics is a limitless analytics service that brings together data integration, enterprise data warehousing, and big data analytics. It gives you the freedom to query data on your terms, using either serverless or dedicated options—at scale.


Azure Synapse Studio generates the Enterprise Power BI data sets deployed as enterprise data assets. These data assets are at the core of the reporting and business analytics that give Milwaukee users their competitive, innovative edge.    

Now users can access critical data using Power BI across the enterprise for the business intelligence insights they need to maintain maximum agility.

So what does the future hold for Milwaukee Tool and OmniData?

The future looks bright. Milwaukee has a solid data aggregation and analytics foundation built on a partnership with Microsoft Gold Partner OmniData. Future projects will include bringing new plants and facilities online globally, additional focused analytics integrations, like finance and supply chain initiatives, and some really cool advanced IoT integrations.

Omnidata will be an integral part of Milwaukee Tool’s future planning and direction. And with the foundation in place, the sky’s the limit with future agility and innovation. 

We've worked hard to gain the respect of the world's leading technology innovators. We’ll work even harder to earn your business. Our team thrives on partnering with companies that work across industries and around the globe. In a nutshell, we help our clients conceptualize, design, and implement solutions to complex business information problems.

Do you have data analytics or data science projects you’d like to discuss? Maybe you have questions related to business information analytics and the Azure Cloud? Wherever you are in your cloud journey, we’re here to help.

Give us a call at 866.587.1760 or get in touch online. Let’s unleash the power that’s locked inside your business information together.