Published on 23/04/2014 in Customer Stories
Flamant carefully assesses the needs of its IT systems. For its ERP environment, the company designed a system with redundancy that combines its own data centre with Belgacom’s services. At the same time, Flamant decided to switch to Microsoft Office 365 for email.
The history of Flamant goes back to 1978, when Alex Flamant of Geraardsbergen, Belgium, took over his father’s antique shop. His brothers Geo and Jacques joined him, and the business began to see impressive growth. The company opened its own shops, first in Belgium and later abroad. Today Flamant has sixteen concept and flagship stores: nine in Belgium, four in France, two in Germany and one in Italy. They offer a wide range of solutions for interior decoration, from furniture to every imaginable decorative object. In Geraardsbergen, Flamant has expanded its head office, which includes a large showroom for professional customers. Worldwide, the company serves more than five hundred B2B clients from its logistics base in Poland.
Availability thanks to redundancy
ICT support for the entire organisation is provided from Geraardsbergen. At its data centre, they have implemented an ERP solution by IBS on which nearly all of the company’s activities rely: from managing the logistical processes in Poland down to the cash registers in the shops. “ERP is crucial for our business”, says IT manager Tom Van Bockstaele. “In order to guarantee the system’s availability we have designed a solution using redundancy.” An exact copy of the ERP environment is kept at a Belgacom data centre. If a problem should occur in Geraardsbergen, users switch over without any data loss to the system housed at Belgacom.
After streamlining the ERP solution, Flamant looked at how the company could further optimize its IT environment. “In the first place we moved over to a virtual server farm”, says Tom Van Bockstaele. At the same time, the Exchange environment was ready to be replaced. Flamant was still working with Exchange 2003 and needed a new, up-to-date solution. This gave rise to a new issue: “We weighed up the options of an “on premise” system, a hybrid model such as our ERP package, or switching over to the cloud.” Flamant investigated the market and compared the various offers available. The choice fell ultimately on Belgacom’s proposal: a solution based on Microsoft Office 365, implemented by the Belgacom partner IT-Care.
“Email is a crucial business application”, explains Tom Van Bockstaele. “Microsoft guarantees the availability and security of the solution in the cloud.” At the same time, Flamant can easily conduct its own user management. The company no longer needs specialised Exchange knowledge. Another important factor is that Office 365 can easily be integrated with the company’s other IT applications. “Email is among other things closely intertwined with our ERP solution, which transmits information in this way.”
With Office 365, Flamant has in the first instance limited itself to cloud-based email. In the shops, Office applications are also linked to the system. “The cloud model not only provides a much simpler management, but we also have a better overview of the costs”, continues Tom Van Bockstaele. “Instead of investing in hardware, software and licences, we pay a monthly subscription per user.” Meanwhile, Flamant is reviewing its business security and safety needs for its other applications. “Whenever we need to change servers, this issue is back on our agenda.”
Flamant is known for reinterpretation and its own designs for antique furniture and decorative objects, suited to contemporary interiors. The Geraardsbergen company now has sixteen shops: in Belgium, France, Germany and Italy. Flamant has a turnover of +/-35 million euro with a team of 300 employees.
Microsoft Office 365 offers Flamant:
For more information on Office 365, visit the Belgacom website or contact your Account Manager.