With a wide range of small home appliances, prevention and (fire) security products and lighting, Smartwares facilitates comfortable and safe living. Both in and around the house. Pim Poll has now been with the company for 15 years, and has been responsible for the Business Systems department since 2017. This includes the entire IT operation. INTERSTELLAR was brought in to modernize the IT landscape. Pim: “In a very short time, we have made huge strides.”
Smartwares is a dynamic and international organization with various sales offices in Western Europe. The company also has its own distribution center. “The role of IT has automatically been growing along with this,” says Pim, “We are always looking at how IT can best be aligned with the business strategy.”
After the merger of Smartwares and Tristar in 2016, the past few years have been about integrating the two organizations to make them one company, both at the front and back end. Growing the business and migrating systems created both maturity and scale for other core systems, such as the e-commerce platform. At the same time, they were also dealing with a relocation of warehouse and office to the new distribution center on Swaardvenstraat in Tilburg. “This meant it was time for the next step: linking up with commerce. For this, we wanted to modernize the IT landscape. We had to because a lot of hardware was end-of-life,” Pim says.
Better cooperation was a key focus, and was given an additional push by the COVID crisis. A modern workplace was chosen with the associated cloud migration, and security was also an important component. INTERSTELLAR companies have played a major role in this. Meanwhile, a new ERP system – Microsoft 365 F&O – is also being implemented.
INTERSTELLAR was selected to implement and properly set up Sharepoint for Smartwares. This makes it easier for employees to collaborate, and administration is better automated. It also provided the initial impetus to set up an Azure environment and include certain security components. “Collaboration, including with colleagues abroad, is a lot better and easier thanks to the cloud strategy,” explains Pim. “We are now working with a 2.0 version, in which Sharepoint is integrated with Microsoft Teams, and we can manage roles and permissions more easily. The next step is to shape the information security policy; we are in the middle of that now.”
Everything to the Azure environment
Smartwares’ current ERP system was also going to run on Azure, so it was important that the Azure environment would be both secure and properly set up. “Multiple companies from the INTERSTELLAR collection collaborated on the ‘final lift and shift’, so that everything is now working well in the cloud,” Pim says. Finally, Teams telephony was implemented.
But the project is not yet complete. In the coming period, INTERSTELLAR companies will work to take the security model to the next level and establish a data recovery plan. Adoption of the new work environment is also receiving extra attention this year. Pim: “It’s great that INTERSTELLAR now offers so many different areas of expertise. With the help of SCCT, AskRoger, Pinewood, DataByte, Datamex and Exite, we established a solid foundation in a very short time. With this foundation, we will ensure increasing synergy between the business objectives and the IT landscape in the near future, so that we can strengthen each other and grow the business as a result.”