Van MoerVan Moer is a fully-integrated logistics group with a focus on transport and distribution, warehousing, storage, freight forwarding and special services. Van Moer started out, in 1990, with a one-man business. Since that time the company has grown into a group with 1,100 employees, 380 trucks, 400,000 square meters of warehousing space and 130 million euros in turnover. Van Moer is active on twenty sites in Belgium and three in Romania. It’s particularly since 2012 that the group has known remarkable year-over-year growth. “Till that time we had been mainly operating at two sites in the Port of Antwerp”, recalls ICT manager Joris Emmanuel. “The ICT support for that had been developed solely in Zwijndrecht.” All applications were deployed in the group’s datacenter: ranging from email and finance to WMS and transport planning.
From on-premise to the cloudVan Moer dutifully replaced the hardware in the datacenter every five years. “When that exercise next came up, we considered the problem in a new way”, said Joris. “In terms of network connections at Zwijndrecht, there was considerable room for improvement. The continuity of the power supply to the datacenter was another headache.” Above all, the company was having great difficulty – against that steep rise in growth – to design a datacenter that would meet all its needs for the next five years. “And as if that wasn’t complex enough, we also had – at the same time – to replace all the software”, Joris continued. “We were, at the time, still working with a Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009, whose support was about to be withdrawn.” Instead of investing in a new, enlarged on-premise datacenter, Van Moer decided to take a different tack with his ICT policy. “We opted resolutely for the cloud”, said Jo. “We wanted a futureproof and scalable ICT environment, that would allow us to adequately support the group’s growth path.” Van Moer decided to phase out the old datacenter in Zwijndrecht set up a partnership with Arxus as its ICT partner (a provider of cloud services from the Uptime Group). Van Moer gradually migrated all its applications to Arxus’ datacenter.
Infinitely scalableOne of the main challenges for Van Moer consisted in the support of email, as its own mail server also needed replacing. The company tried to estimate how big a mail server had to be to stay the pace, for five years, in a fast-growing company. “It was at that very time that many new sites were joining the group”, Joris recalled. “We could not predict the size of that new mail server, that was clear.” So Van Moer decided to switch to Microsoft Office 365.