Toll’s ambitious challenge: Keeping business moving through an innovative and complex migration to the cloud

Toll Global Forwarding has excelled at solving shipping, transport, and supply chain challenges for more than 130 years, but migrating its CargoWise One system to the cloud remained a very ‘hairy’ challenge requiring specialist expertise. 

Toll Global Forwarding serves its 20,000 customers across 150 countries through its ‘CargoWise One’ application, one of the largest logistics applications in the world. At any one time, the system is being used by more than 2,500 customers and employees for bookings, customer clearance and invoices. This adds up to a staggering one billion transactions every day. 

The problem was that the 20-year-old legacy infrastructure behind CargoWise One was now outdated and slow. It contained 25 different integrations that had been stitched together over time. It was unwieldy and unscalable, and disaster recoverability was a significant risk.  

Security and stability as catalysts for change 

The scale and complexity of CargoWise One meant the decision to migrate it to the cloud was pivotal. And two cyber-attacks in early 2020 provided the incentive and momentum needed to modernise and safeguard CargoWise One for the future.  

Following a global search for the right partner, Toll chose Australian-born cloud consulting specialists, Versent.  

Toll chose AWS to build a well-architected and advanced platform to unlock immediate and long-term value so that, as iterative updates are made, CargoWise One can quickly support changes and add value across business users in near real-time. 

Versent deployed a highly collaborative, multidisciplinary team who worked alongside Toll’s global team throughout the project, on a shared mission to achieve success. 

Versent used a tailor-made discovery and assessment process called Yellow Brick Road to delve deep into the business and identify key priorities for the transition. This included improving the security and stability of core applications and modernising operations and ensuring scalability. 

This collaborative effort spanned 12 months, with the first three months wholly dedicated to exploration and solution development, before gradually building up the new cloud-based system in a development environment and testing it rigorously, to ensure a seamless transition. Toll and Versent then migrated CargoWise to the more modern, scalable cloud infrastructure of AWS.  

Collaboration was key to success 

Michelle Shirton, Head of Digital, Toll Global Forwarding said: “Toll’s IT strategy is focused on changing the way that we operate and how we provide services for our customers. This includes reducing waste and modernising legacy systems to ensure we are financially fit, technically fit and future fit.   

“We knew that we were going to be the pioneers in this space. Working with Versent it became apparent quickly that they were not only going to help us migrate to the cloud, but they were also going to help improve how we operated. 

“We built a really strong and collaborative working relationship with Versent, which helped us accelerate and make faster decisions. They took lot of time to help us build our capability, which is enormously beneficial for us. This was a milestone project for us to change the way we operate for our customers.”  

Justyn Green, Versent Cloud Practice Lead echoed the importance of this collaborative approach: “We had one objective, one main goal, and we succeeded together. At Versent, we see big challenges and we’re not scared by them, we are excited. This project wasn’t just a technology change for Toll, it was about helping them unlock value for their business, and we’re so proud to have worked with them to make it a success.”  

The benefits of the cloud transformation  

Bringing CargoWise’s different databases together has delivered a range of benefits for Toll: 

  • Greater energy efficiency: CargoWise’s storage footprint has been reduced by 40% 
  • Improved user experience: Users report that the system is faster, smoother and easier to use 
  • Faster reporting: Reporting that used to take Toll hours to run can now be completed in 15 minutes 
  • Real-time analytics: Toll is enabled to make data-driven decisions that enhance service delivery 
  • Bolstered platform stability: Fewer issues, and better risk mitigation and disaster recovery capability in the event of a major issue or outage. For example, the migration reduced disaster recovery timing from weeks to less than two hours. Further, Toll went from little infrastructure and application performance and uptime visibility, resulting in troubleshooting taking hours, to immediately pinpointing and fixing problems in minutes. 

Justyn Green, Versent Cloud Practice Lead said: “Working with Toll was exciting because no one else in the world had attempted to do something of this scale before. The solution needed to be robust and resilient. CargoWise was migrated in quite a cutting-edge way.” 


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