July, 1 2021
Innovating IN DE MICROSOFT CLOUD.
Five years ago, Jumbo Maritime, a specialist in heavy sea transport and offshore installations, decided that IT had to make a difference. They wanted to move away from dealing with daily management details and instead provide added value in work and sales processes. Jumbo’s IT organisation is on a mission to ensure that their support keeps Jumbo ahead of the competition.
Jumbo was founded when founder Hans Kahn came up with the idea of equipping heavy transport ships to handle cargo that did not fit on pallets or in containers. It was a choice against the trend, which changed the maritime transport world forever in 1968. Since then, the company has never stopped innovating.
IT AS A DIFFERENTIATING FACTOR
And it is precisely this innovation that the IT organisation wants to facilitate. The idea is that projects, collaborations, and sales processes will improve when IT can ensure perfect online collaboration and smooth internal processes. The time to market and time to value of new Jumbo services can be reduced in this way, and the speed and quality of service will increase.
The foundation in order
But the basics are also important. Telephony, digital collaboration, remote work, file sharing… The things that just need to work before you can start thinking about innovation. Or, as Carlo van der Stoep, IT Manager at Jumbo, puts it: “If I want to talk about innovation, I can’t have someone say: nice story, but my phone isn’t working. So, you end up with a kind of two-tier IT, a landscape of two speeds. On the one hand, you want to move forward, but on the other hand, you’re always dealing with maintenance.”
“IF I WANT TO TALK ABOUT INNOVATION, I CAN NOT HAVE SOMEONE SAY: NICE STORY, BUT MY PHONE ISN’T WORKING.”
ADOPTION? NO PROBLEM
As an organisation, Jumbo has made significant progress in digital collaboration. This is particularly evident in adoption processes. Even significant changes can happen quickly at Jumbo. Take, for example, the new Document Management System (DMS) that we rolled out. This DMS was the successor to an earlier system that also ran on SharePoint. We incorporated all the lessons learned from that first system into the new one. This made it a real step forward for users who were already accustomed to SharePoint. The adoption process could therefore be short. Two one-hour sessions, to be precise.
An entire organisation that is accustomed to the cloud and moves with change… That is not only a pleasant customer to work with, but also living proof that adoption is always more important than technical innovations. You can roll out beautiful technology, but if people can’t or won’t use it, your projects will always be difficult.
SMOOTH REMOTE WORKING
Jumbo’s advanced cloud adoption also helped during the COVID-19 crisis, when everyone suddenly had to work from home. Jumbo carries out large projects with many large files and works closely with external contractors and customers. That’s why they had already thought about effective sharing of files and data. The Microsoft cloud proved to be the right solution for this, and when offices had to close everywhere, remote working was hardly an issue. We, as a partner of Jumbo, also notice that online collaboration runs smoothly.
Due to the open, honest and transparent atmosphere, Jumbo is a good launching customer for new solutions. Together with Jumbo, we developed our product Guest Hub and ironed out the bugs. It was a fruitful collaboration that remained positive and future-oriented even when the first versions didn’t quite do what they were supposed to do.
Efficiency and curisioty
Innovation in IT is not an end in itself for Jumbo. As mentioned, the IT department is focused on supporting and improving the business process. However, there is a program for exploring technical possibilities. A first experiment with the HoloLens was a success and received many positive reactions from the industry and customers. Although projects always aim to increase Jumbo’s efficiency, curiosity is also an important driver. Demonstrating innovation and new technology also helps with marketing and recruitment.
“Don’t keep us talking for too long, because we are half of the IT department,” Van der Stoep and his colleague, application manager Ralph Jansen, like to joke when they are in a meeting together. And it’s true. Jumbo’s IT department doesn’t just execute its strategy with a lot of vision and enthusiasm, they also do it with very few people. This originates from a well thought-out partner strategy. “If you want to be agile, you have to work with partners. You don’t want to spend your day keeping your existing things in the air,” says Jansen.
Most of the “daily IT work” at Jumbo is therefore done by partners. With Portiva Managed Services, we contribute daily to the smooth running of the company. Jumbo focuses on long-term relationships with partners that fit well with the company’s culture and can also work well with other partners. That makes us extra proud to have been a partner with Jumbo for so long. That appreciation is mutual. Jansen puts it this way: “They really listen. That’s what I think is most important. We can put everything on the table and discuss it very openly.”
“IF YOU WANT TO BE AGILE, YOU HAVE TO WORK WITH PARTNERS. YOU DON’T WANT TO SPEND YOUR DAY KEEPING YOUR EXISTING THINGS IN THE AIR.”
THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL COLLABORATION
In early 2021, we were at Jumbo for a session on the next step in remote work and digital collaboration. Microsoft Teams is not yet widely used within Jumbo and video meetings are still often done with Zoom and Cisco hardware. Our challenge is to integrate that hardware, and the many mobile devices that Jumbo works with, with Teams. This is now becoming technically possible. The further rollout of Teams is in an initial exploratory phase. Adoption is increasing and people are satisfied with it. Teams is mainly seen as a less strict and structured alternative to SharePoint and the DMS where you can collaborate, communicate and work on draft documents. Users have a lot of freedom on Teams. This does raise important questions, which we will help Jumbo answer in the coming time: what do you use for what? When do you put something on the intranet and what can be put on a public site? When do you use OneDrive, when do you use SharePoint, and when do you use Teams?
Power automate, azure and more
Improving business processes is an ongoing process at an ambitious company like Jumbo. During the initial assessment, we identified 20 flows within the company that were eligible for automation using Power Automate, all of which have now been completed. There are still steps to be taken in the cloud as well. In the first phase, a number of applications were migrated to the cloud without significantly altering the application itself. This ‘lift & shift’ approach has the advantage of minimising technical risks by avoiding significant changes to the code. At the same time, it misses out on some of the benefits of the cloud, such as flexibility in scaling up and down, maintenance, and adding functionality. In this part of the cloud business case, Jumbo will be able to achieve significant gains in the coming years, in collaboration with Portiva.