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Royal FloraHolland is the largest horticultural marketplace in the world. For more than 100 years the cooperative has been bringing growers and buyers together. Whereas the trade was originally carried out mainly via the auction clock, Royal FloraHolland is now a digital B2B platform where service provision is central. Smart solutions for growers, buyers and partners make ordering, payment and delivery possible.
At the heart of the digital service provision is Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM. HSO supports Royal FloraHolland from the start of their digital transition in the implementation and development of Dynamics 365. We chatted with Tom Koeleman, Product Owner CRM at Royal FloraHolland, about the strategy of the organization, the digital ambitions and the collaboration with HSO.
360-degree customer view forms the basis of the service
The choice for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement was made at the time partly for technical reasons, because the legacy platform was outdated. But there were also strategic reasons: to be the worldwide market leader it is necessary to have a central customer view and a relationship administration in which all customer data comes together. In other words, insight into all the data of suppliers (growers), distributors and buyers.
The CRM application is then the basis for a large number of processes and applications with which Royal FloraHolland delivers its services. Tom Koeleman: “As a result, Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement has become the source of customer data, service agreements, case management, sales processes and more within Royal FloraHolland. The system facilitates business processes throughout the entire organization and supply chain worldwide.”
Development and optimization a constant process at Royal FloraHolland
It is clear that the digital landscape of Royal FloraHolland is all-encompassing and complex. And there is also the challenge of technology developing at a rapid pace. Which software do you use for a particular aspect of your service? Which applications do you have to update, upgrade or replace? Also themes such as integration and exchange of data are issues which concern Tom and his colleagues on a daily basis.
When Tom started working at Royal FloraHolland a few years ago his task was to implement CRM further in the organization and to attract more user groups. Tom: “For example, we have worked on further optimizing case management. The objective is to resolve questions as soon as possible, and thereby realize a short as possible lead time. Our people in customer service are very knowledgeable, but if they are not able to provide answers we have to be able to quickly switch over to the logistics teams. We have made many improvements to our processes, as well as to the accessibility of knowledge and information.”
“We remain attractive to our partners only if our services stand out from the rest.”
Tom Koeleman, Product Owner CRM at Royal Flora Holland
Innovative platform supports Royal FloraHolland in new way of working
Tom: “Technology is essential in this and CRM plays an important role here, because this is the source system for all other applications and processes. The customer information that is registered here has to be communicated to many systems. For example, CRM provides SAP with master data. As we have an innovative platform, our organization automatically looks at processes in a different way.”
In order to continue providing service that stands out from the rest, the development and optimization of the CRM application therefore never stands still. What’s more, the possibilities of the Microsoft Power Platform are also used. Tom: “In actual fact, we are constantly implementing improvements. We do a release at least once every three weeks. If you consider how large our platform is now and the number of users we have, this is quite an achievement.”
A particular focus of Tom and his team for the coming year is the further reinforcement of the sales process, whereby quotes and order processes can take place in the app. Tom: “In addition, the customer portal is being improved, so that customers can benefit from our services 24/7. We are also working on an innovative customer service app, connected to the latest telephony solution. Another important topic for our team is the setting up of modern customer screening, because we also provide financial services. As the CE app is responsible for the master data, this will also go through the CE app (Power Apps Portals).”
My Royal FloraHolland portal connects partners in the chain
If you think about Royal FloraHolland you probably imagine large halls with trolleys full of flowers and plants, and those famous auction clocks. But these days much of our services are carried out digitally. This led to Royal FloraHolland developing the portal My Royal FloraHolland together with HSO. The portal, developed with Power Apps portals, now has many users. Buyers, suppliers and third parties, such as logistics providers, here have access to their own data and various tools.
Tom: “Via My Royal FloraHolland we make a digital self-service portal available for our customers. The management of company data or customer starting service provision by the customer himself is central to this. These processes are supported by Dynamics CE and data is distributed to associated domains.”
The foundation of Royal FloraHolland’s strategy is Floriday: the digital B2B platform with the largest, most sustainable supply of flowers and plants worldwide for direct and indirect trade. Growers, buyers, software suppliers and service providers all come together here. Tom: “We work together with them on developing and continuously improving the platform. In this way, we want to make Floriday an attractive platform for all growers and buyers, both big and small. We use the latest technologies (API connections) in order to together create the digital infrastructure for the sector.”
Tom: “The strength of HSO lies in that you can put together a multidisciplinary team with a lot of expertise. That is fine, because we therefore don’t have to disappoint internal clients and can speed things up if necessary. The core team is compact and constant. The solution architect is involved right from the beginning of the project, which is great for the continuity. And the team can be expanded if necessary. There is now for example a finance consultant in the team, a customer service engineer, an expert in the area of Dynamics portals.”
“From the very start we worked on the basis of Scrum. In this way we could carry out many controlled releases. We are increasingly transitioning over to a DevOps way of working. This means that development, optimization and management are increasingly proceeding hand-in-hand. At present we are working on outsourcing 24/7 monitoring. This will allow us to discover patterns and thereby identify faults. This gives our customer service engineer more time and space to develop incident management, and our development team can focus on the gaps in the product itself, and therefore on optimizations. In this way we continue to improve the collaboration with HSO and the processes.”
When Royal FloraHolland HSO chose the implementation of Dynamics 365 CE, the parties entered into a long-term partnership. There were, of course, numerous challenges. At the same time as the replacement of the legacy applications and implementation of Dynamics 365, many changes took place in the organization itself, as a result of the strategic course that Royal FloraHolland was taking. At times this meant delays, and other times acceleration. There were also challenges in the area of integration. This is certainly no surprise, given the complexity of the IT landscape.
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“HSO is an involved partner that displays great commitment. We consider it important to take time to prepare well and discuss things. This eventually produces good results.”
A look at the digital strategy of Royal FloraHolland