To the cloud… or not? Many companies like Caldic struggle with this dilemma. Cloud technology has undeniable advantages, such as scalability, flexibility and applications that are always up to date. But there are also drawbacks, such as less freedom to modify the software. Moreover, what are the risks of a migration, for example for your data?
Caldic offers full-service solutions for food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and industrial markets worldwide. The company has been working with HSO for quite some time now. For example, HSO supported Caldic in the implementation of AX2012 and its international rollout to Caldic organisations in more than 25 countries in EMEA, APAC and USA/Canada. The company is seeing increasing opportunities for IT as a business enabler, but this is placing new demands on the application landscape. A migration to Microsoft Dynamics 365 was already on the cards. And in order to gain good insights in advance of the implications, opportunities and possible risks of switching to the cloud, HSO carried out the standard migration assessment for Caldic.
Caldic: strong history and solid growth strategy
“Caldic is a company with a strong history,” says Ton, “which has been around for more than 50 years. Since 2017, Goldman Sachs has been a shareholder and the company has been more committed to growth than ever, in breadth and depth, particularly through acquisitions. Caldic wants to continue to develop into a full-service solution provider, adding more value for our customers through new services and technology.”
Q: Can you tell us more about the role of IT and the IT strategy at Caldic?
“Caldic is not an IT company,” says Ton, “but IT is getting a more prominent role in the business. We see IT more and more as a business enabler, facilitating our services. We also see plenty of opportunities to use technology to develop new business models, together with our supply chain partners.
As far as our IT organisation is concerned, ‘one-size-fits-all’ is our starting point. So AX is the same for everyone, worldwide. With the standard we try to meet everyone’s wishes as best we can. Our group IT centre, here in Rotterdam, directs and assists the local teams. HSO supports us in this by managing the rollouts to all our regions and countries based on the standard template we have defined together. One very good aspect of this is that people from HSO can help on the spot.
As a rule, we do a lot ourselves because we find it important to have knowledge in house and to understand how the system works, so that we can make full use of the possibilities. But our suppliers, such as HSO, play an important role in this, because we can hitch a ride on their knowledge, as it were. In the case of HSO, their experience with international rollouts is very relevant for us. Moreover, if we expand our application landscape to include portals, for example, and continue with chain integration, it is important that our supplier has knowledge of this and understands where we want to go.”
Q: What is your vision on the cloud in your IT strategy?
“The cloud has undeniable advantages,” says Ton. “For example, hitching a ride on the Microsoft ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy. Cloud technology is scalable and flexible. But at the same time you are dependent on your supplier when it comes to aspects such as pricing and the possibility of possible adjustments. For this reason, we want to examine the pros and cons carefully before we actually move our data and applications to the cloud.”
Standard Migration Assessment starting point for cloud analysis
Q: What are your experiences with the standard migration assessment?
“We were keen to switch to Microsoft Dynamics 365,” says Pieter, “but we wanted to have a good advance understanding of its impact on our IT landscape and organisation. Together with HSO, we therefore carried out the standard migration assessment. The assessment looked as aspects such as the functional and technical implications of the migration, a possible migration approach and the possible business benefits of Dynamics 365. We now know that the management of our AX servers is becoming increasingly complex. In that respect, the cloud would certainly offer advantages. And the scalability would come in handy if we experience rapid growth. One of the results was that we want to stay closer to the standard functionality.
The assessment certainly helped us further. We gained a number of new insights into, for example, the consequences of a cloud migration from a technical point of view, but also into the possibilities of the Power Platform. These insights enabled us to make a good comparison of cloud vs. on-premise.”
"We needed a good advance understanding of the impact of a cloud migration"
"The assessment certainly helped us in gaining insights into, for example, the consequences of a cloud migration from a technical point of view, but also into the possibilities of the Power Platform. These insights enabled us to make a good comparison of cloud vs. on-premise."
- Pieter Mourik, Manager ERP at Caldic
Implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 started at Caldic
“Meanwhile,” says Pieter, “the rollout of Microsoft Dynamics 365 has already started. Initially with the technical migration and the transfer of the data. We expect to go live with the first business units in the summer of 2021.
“Adoption is a point of attention for us,” Ton explains. “After all, it is only after acceptance that we can actually extract value from the systems. Organising sufficient internal support will be important at that time. For this we will be relying on Pieter’s team and on HSO, especially when it comes to 24/7, global managed services.”
Q: Looking ahead to the future, what possibilities do you see for the Power Platform?
“We see a lot of opportunities for applications of the Power Platform and for example Power Automate, but we are really still at the beginning here,” says Pieter. “We also want to supervise the use of these to prevent the proliferation of all kinds of apps. I myself would like to develop a proof of concept for the process of releasing orders. In our system, orders are regularly blocked automatically due to all kinds of rules, such as rules on hazardous substances, credit information and so on. Managers who need to check and release these orders now have to do so entirely in AX. With a Power App we would be able to set this up much easier and faster, so that they would also, for example, be able to release orders while in the field, using their smartphones.”
"It is a great advantage that HSO can operate internationally and organise support worldwide."
HSO reliable partner of Caldic
Q: Can you tell us more about the role of HSO as a partner?
“Although Caldic operates worldwide, we are essentially a Dutch company,” says Ton. “That fits well with HSO. We operate in the same waters and are in the same phase of growth. This means we are able to add value to each other. For us it is a great advantage that HSO can operate internationally and organise support worldwide. Both in the global rollouts of our Dynamics 365 template and afterwards with support for users.”
“The cooperation with HSO is generally going very well,” says Pieter. “As I mentioned, we like to do a lot ourselves, but HSO is ready to help where needed. We will also certainly be relying on the teams of HSO for the international rollout of Dynamics 365.”
“Moreover, HSO has sufficient knowledge and know-how in many disciplines, not only ERP but also CRM and business analytics, for example,” explains Ton. “And precisely because all technology and applications are increasingly being integrated, we need a partner who has all this knowledge in-house. A partner who understands our strategy, understands what is needed, and at the same time is able to provide the right support hands-on, worldwide.”