From the physical to the digital marketplace. With absolute peace of mind
IT environments often provide years of good service, but that all changes when they become outdated. The result: unnecessary disruptions, time-consuming updates, patchwork maintenance, and expensive repairs. Meanwhile, your market demands more flexibility, scalability, and sustainability, and therefore an IT environment capable of handling all this. Sound familiar?
Retail, Food & Agri
24 februari 2021
That was certainly the case for the Dutch cooperative Royal FloraHolland, the largest flower auction in the world. The company was struggling with an outdated and complex IT landscape. In 2016, the cooperative decided it was time to change course. With a bold and clear programme: ‘Building the future while renovating the core’. Although Royal FloraHolland initiated the innovation into a digital marketplace, it contacted Conclusion for the renovation of the core. We moved the on-premises IT landscape to the public cloud, including all applications. This complex operation ultimately resulted in the efficient and flexible landscape with which Royal FloraHolland can position itself innovatively on the international market.
The starting point: Flowering the world together
Royal FloraHolland is the world’s largest flower and plant auction. More than 4,000 growers are affiliated with this traditional Dutch cooperative, which processes more than 100,000 transactions per day and has an annual turnover of 4.6 billion euros. The auction supplies the world with fresh flowers and plants every day. This giant enterprise makes a considerable contribution to the Dutch economy, and the responsibility for the continued existence of the company is equally large.
The ambition: lasting worldwide relevance
Royal FloraHolland traditionally uses 38 auction clocks to sell flowers and plants worldwide. Buyers compete for the lots, both on location and remotely. Nevertheless, more and more buyers and growers were dealing with each directly outside the physical auction. This revealed an opportunity to help them with a digital platform, and in this way keep them 'on board'. ‘We noticed that our processes weren’t up to this task,’ says André van der Linden, CIO at Royal FloraHolland. ‘As a consequence, there was a risk of us failing to realize international growth. Our global relevance in the floriculture sector was in danger of a decline in the long term.’
It was therefore crucial to streamline the entire process more, from auctioning to logistical and financial processing. The goal was a zero-risk digital transformation that allowed the organization to remain operational 24/7 and created a dynamic floriculture platform.
''Our vision was for a dynamic floriculture platform, and a digital, data-driven marketplace. However, our application landscape turned out to be unsuitable for that purpose.''
- André van der Linden, Royal FloraHolland CIO
The choice: the benefits of working with Conclusion
Royal FloraHolland chose Conclusion as its partner to build this digital trading platform. The task was to transform the current IT into a state-of-the-art IT environment that would allow good compatibility with Floriday, the name of the trading platform. A fully scalable IT environment, completely in the public cloud, with all the reduced costs and other advantages that this entails. This put Royal FloraHolland in a position to set up a platform that successfully brings together the physical and digital worlds.
Why choose Conclusion?
Modernizing your entire IT landscape requires an extensive transformation process. Why choose Conclusion? For three reasons. In the first place, we share the drive to make a solid transformation to the cloud. Secondly, Royal FloraHolland was attracted by our ecosystem. In addition, alongside the expertise in the required infrastructure, network, and applications, they also wanted to make long-term use of other specializations in our Conclusion ecosystem. That was the third reason: from the outset, the joint intention was to look beyond a project with a limited timeframe.
Royal FloraHolland also wanted to embed future resilience and agility, and stay on top of innovation opportunities. For all these reasons, the company entered into a lifetime partnership with us for its digital transformation. We accepted responsibility for transforming the application landscape, the networks, the public cloud, and the on-premises infrastructure.
The deal: 100% trust
Andre van der Linden: ‘Conclusion played a decisive role in the strategy, realization, and execution of our platform. All applications, including the commercial, logistics, and financial systems, have been modernized. Our partnership proved to be an essential precondition for successfully navigating the road to a digital trading platform.’
Conclusion played a decisive role in the strategy and execution of our platform.
Royal FloraHolland has to be able to trust its technology 100%, so Conclusion shouldered the responsibility for this part. Digital process outsourcing. Creating peace of mind for our customers. One of our showpieces.
What we did, what we do, and what it yields.
- With the help of cost management, we broke down the significant expenditure on IT into application-specific costs. This puts control into the hands of the business product owners.
- By introducing scaled agile concepts, Royal FloraHolland can direct events to reflect its priorities much more directly and quickly. Team backlogs can also be coordinated according to strategic priorities.
- Because we work under architecture, we always keep our focus on the main objectives. This ensures that all activities contribute to those objectives, and we avoid legacy.
- The application of security by design significantly increases the security of the entire IT landscape.
- We continuously look six months ahead. In this way, the ideal team composition in terms of capacity and expertise is guaranteed at all times.
- To reduce the large number of disruptions, a professional 24/7 operations centre was started from day 1. It manages disruptions, and ensures they don’t reoccur. Crucial: continuous learning problem management and lifecycle management on all components.
- We also safeguard cooperation at a tactical and strategic level. This ensures that even difficult decisions are made on the right grounds, and that together we continue to strive for a strategic win-win.
- You know where you stand. You can count on predictable technical capabilities and resolution times in case of incidents.
In this way, we worked towards future-proofing together
Transformation to public cloud
Together with Royal FloraHolland, we migrated and transformed the complex IT landscape to the public cloud: we streamlined 300 business applications back to 140 business applications in the Cloud, 50 SaaS, and 10 on-premises. It marked the end of duplicates and unused functions, and greatly simplified the complexity of the landscape and management.
Van der Linden: ‘The application landscape is the bedrock of our work, and is therefore business-critical. Everything has to be available, agile, and resilient at all times.’ The entire application landscape was rationalized: standard apps, custom apps, old, new, everything. All applications were then updated, modernized and scripted to be automatically tested and rolled out. The often outdated and highly intertwined infrastructure, which caused multiple complex failures, was unravelled in the cloud and separated into autonomous blocks, so that a failure in one component doesn’t take the entire landscape down with it. This major intervention took 20 months of work to complete, but the result is fantastic. The landscape is now scalable, and therefore ready for the future of the digital auction.
The following Conclusion ecosystem business units worked or are still working together on this part:
- Conclusion Enablement: migration to AWS Cloud and continued development of applications.
- Conclusion Mission Critical: setting up and further developing a 24/7 operations centre, and proactive monitoring of all applications, networks and infrastructure.
- AMIS Conclusion: essential assistance with cloud architecture, conversion applications, and CI/CD (continuous integration, continuous delivery).
- myBrand Conclusion: migration of SAP applications to the AWS Cloud and technical application management of the SAP Hybris Billing chain.
- Conclusion Low Code Company: transferral of applications to a Mendix environment.
Creating peace of mind
Conclusion Mission Critical, part of our ecosystem, manages the business-critical IT landscape of Royal FloraHolland 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a result, the IT system is always protected against cybercrime, and agile for future improvements. This ensures the auction remains operational around the clock, both now and in the future.
The following Conclusion business units worked together on this part:
- Conclusion Enablement: optimization of security and management of applications, accelerated implementation of changes in apps, and brainstorming about new technologies such as IoT.
- Conclusion Digital Resilience: assurance of security and privacy standards, and prevention/monitoring of security incidents.
- Conclusion Mission Critical: chain management applications and management of IT services. Responsible 24/7 for the availability, agility and resilience of the entire IT environment.
Conclusion and Royal FloraHolland have entered into a lifetime partnership to work on digital transformation, where our unique ecosystem, consisting of more than 28 independent business units, bears responsibility as the technology partner for Royal FloraHolland. Depending on needs, Conclusion can scale up or down where necessary, in line with Royal FloraHolland’s wishes. Thanks to this lifetime partnership, Royal FloraHolland can guarantee delivery reliability and minimize disruptions, and has prepared itself for the digital future of Floriday. That was, after all, Royal FloraHolland’s ultimate goal.
All relevant Conclusion business units are involved in the Lifetime partnership.