The customer | Carmeuse
Carmeuse is a leading Belgian mining company that produces lime and limestone for applications in a wide range of markets: from the steel industry to construction, water treatment, agro-food, and the chemical industry. Choosing to operate close to its customers, the Carmeuse Group has a global presence with production sites in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
The challenge | Elevating digital knowledge management
The expertise within the Carmeuse Group is highly specialized and knowledge management is of essential value. The importance of a successful and flawless digitization cannot be overestimated. To consolidate their initial digital knowledge base, which was built on SharePoint 2007 and 2013, to SharePoint Online (Microsoft 365), they wanted a partner to accompany and guide them on this journey.
Even though Carmeuse had worked with another IT integrator for their last migration project in 2016, they were inspired by Xylos’ enthusiasm and know-how, which were on display during the annual Xylos Inspire event that Carmeuse attended. François Collet, IT and SharePoint expert at Carmeuse, identified Xylos as a partner that could offer the quality of advice and communication required for this company-critical undertaking that he and his colleagues, Sandra Flamand (Knowledge Management Business Partner) and Diana Chira (SharePoint Admin) were looking for.
The process | Agile project delivery with a can-do mentality
The SharePoint Online migration project was executed based on a clear delivery plan and an agile approach. A total of 18 sprints allowed Carmeuse and Xylos to smoothly execute the migration. Each sprint in the project represented the migration of a bundled entity, more or less corresponding to various departments at Carmeuse. Two migration phases were planned and executed per sprint:
- A full migration phase, in which the Xylos and Carmeuse IT teams would work closely together: preparing the migration of the sites, mitigating the risks, performing the migration, rebuilding the workflows, testing and validating.
- An incremental migration phase, fully executed by Xylos, based on the successful formula of the first step, to migrate the remaining components.
Sandra Flamand was very satisfied with the experience: “What worked well from our point of view was the fact that Xylos and Carmeuse always spoke the same language. It was a natural collaboration. Also, if there were any technical obstacles, Xylos would come up with a modernized solution. As a result, the project never got stuck, and we were able to stay on schedule.”
François Collet agrees: “The people at Xylos not only showed a lot of competence, but also a fantastic mentality. Never once did they say that something could not be done.”
Azure DevOps brought clarity
One aspect that Carmeuse also found particularly enriching was the use of Azure DevOps to fully support the agile approach. Xylos’ setup of the tool proved to be powerful and efficient: perfect for Sandra and her team to report to their management and help them to really understand the status of the project.
“We were able to visualize the project in a clear matrix. One that would give our management immediate clarity about any delays, for example. But also: why something was delayed, what the consequence was, and what needed to be done to overcome it. Xylos’ Project Management Lead Tom did a great job of communicating the methodology to our management.He kept everyone on the same page.”
Safe access to the digital workplace
Carmeuse’s goals were twofold: technical and business-related. On the one hand, they wanted to continue to guarantee a high level of data security. From a business perspective, they wanted to improve the knowledge-sharing mindset within the organization and increase efficiency.
Previously, users always had to go through a VPN in order to access their digital work environment. Blue-collar workers typically had to access shared accounts. That is no longer the case with SharePoint Online and the introduction of a Microsoft F1 license. With two-factor authentication and personal accounts, everyone can access their digital workspace more securely and flexibly than ever before.
The result | Delivering real business value
Early on after the migration, François and Sandra noticed that the number of modified documents on SharePoint are triple the number of modified documents on OneDrive. “This shows that we are steadily moving towards our goal,” says Sandra.
François and Sandra confirm that they are seeing real engagement with Carmeuse’s digital workplace: “Employees from plants outside Western Europe are proactively asking for workflows and sites to be created on SharePoint now. That is a very good sign. It’s remarkable, because when we were working with on-premises versions of SharePoint, we tried to explain to people what was possible, but it hardly seemed to catch on. Now, people are experiencing what the possibilities are, and we get requests every day.” Sandra adds: “This is also exactly the next step in our collaboration with Xylos. We are confident that they will help us continue to add value to the business.”
Xylos is more than happy to roll out new features of SharePoint Online. The Carmeuse Group has different digital user personas. The Xylos experts will be working with various departments around the world to understand their needs and challenges. Something that Lynn Franceus, Project Manager at Xylos, doesn’t take lightly:
“During this successful as-is migration, we have come to understand the way Carmeuse works quite well. We’re looking forward to delving even deeper into everyone’s daily reality. From management and employees who use SharePoint Online to collaborate and manage projects, to operational employees who play a vital role in feeding and interpreting information. We want to empower them to do even better reporting with Microsoft 365 tools. We can’t overlook external contributors, such as geologists and engineers. It has been a fascinating and a great, educational experience for all of our consultants.”
The unique strengths of Xylos
At Carmeuse, there’s no doubt that Xylos is worthy of their trust. Sandra Flamand and François Collet sum up the unique characteristics of Xylos in three words: customer service, expertise and fun.
“The common thread throughout the project was that the Xylos experts added value to what we were expecting. What’s more, it didn’t feel like two separate companies working together, but rather like people from the same team. It was a pleasure to meet and talk to each other every day. We had a lot of fun and even laughed a lot. That helped us all to be successful.”