The service group Mensura has just completed a major merger with industry counterpart Adhesia. This is also one of the reasons why the company placed a strong emphasis on outsourcing nearly all of its IT infrastructure needs, according to CIO Christophe Vanneste. “The IT infrastructure constitutes a heavy component in the type of company that we are, but it’s not our core business,” he explains. “We are also involved in a substantial change process because of the merger with Adhesia. That means that outsourcing certain IT components has a certain value.” Vanneste provides a very concrete example: when two companies merge, there are also two datacenters running, one of which often becomes superfluous. Costs like that can be a considerable burden in respect of a merger. For this reason, it was decided to renew, renegotiate and expand the existing contract with Proximus that had been running since 2007.
Outsourcing, of course, has had an influence on how the IT department works. “On the one hand, a complete team has been let go but, on the other hand, a major source of worry has also disappeared,” Vanneste explains. “Having your own datacenter is more than just sticking a pile of servers in a room. You find yourself dealing with issues of business continuity, with guaranteed uptimes, high availability, redundancy and backup strategies. That demands a huge amount of resources (all sorts of hardware, but also people with specific knowledge) and that is a very expensive business. Moreover, we also immediately outsource the risks, which is another worry that vanishes.”
With regard to team management, not much has changed since 2007, according to Vanneste. The composition of the team has more or less remained the same. That doesn’t mean that nothing is being done differently. “Communications with Proximus, for example, are much less ad hoc and more streamlined. And separated worlds such as software, telephony, communication and IT have now grown much more towards each other and are managed both by us, and at Proximus, by the same team.”
At Mensura there is a five-man team that is responsible for the communications with Proximus. Vanneste is one of them. There are regular operational, tactical and strategic meetings. “There is a constant flow of information,” Vanneste reports. “Our people and the Proximus people know each other very well. Everyone has the same information at the same time and at all levels. And that goes really far, right up to future projects and the impact on the finances. However, that’s very important for the quality of our service. I also consider it as more than an ordinary outsourcing contract, this is a true partnership.”
Christophe Vanneste is an experienced ICT consultant who has worked for various Belgian and international companies. He has previously been employed by P&G, Canon, Fortis, Novartis and Exmar. His specialization lies in optimizing IT departments, for example during very large change processes, mergers, etc
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