Two decades of growing collaboration have made us the go-to integration partner for this sprawling multinational. Among the highlights of our work are: aligning and integrating internal systems, helping shape companywide e-invoicing and e-business, and 24/7 monitoring and managing of IBM and SAP platforms.
The challenge: integrating a dynamic conglomerate
Our customer is a world-leading manufacturer of industrial tools, developing industrial equipment such as assembly lines or power tools with a superior efficiency.
Today the company has about 40,000 employees and is active with customer centers and production sites all over the world. Many of these started as independent companies and were acquired over the years.
This allowed the company to become a market leader in new regions and markets. But it also came with a challenge: how to integrate the various digital landscapes that had developed separately?
That integration is where today Brainsquare plays a key role, with a sizable team of experts that implements, supports and monitors systems around the clock.
But our involvement started out small. In fact it started with one consultant.
From one consultant to a multi-role team
In 2010, the Belgian IT division of the group asked us for an onsite expert to complement their integration team. They were using IBM Integration Broker to knit together various systems, and we had quite some experience with that IBM platform.
From there on, the integration team – including our Brainsquare consultant – kept on setting up links between systems.
But it became gradually more difficult for them to work on new integrations and at the same time monitor and support all the links they had already established. It simply became too much and too complex.
So they knocked on our door again. They had had a taste of our work elsewhere, had seen it work, and wanted to set up a more extensive collaboration to support their integration efforts.
As a result, Brainsquare added four offsite experts and a service delivery manager. To knit the team together and have them collaborate seamlessly from their various locations, we also introduced a suite of highly-effective collaboration tools.
As the integration efforts proved successful and still more systems had to be integrated, the Brainsquare team was gradually extended and some of our support people moved on to integration development.
Today, the Brainsquare presence includes a 5-person support team, a 5-person development team, and a number of project managers. We offer 24/7 support and are present on-site and off-site on four sites and three continents, effectively blending in with our customer’s IT division.
From supporting one platform to many
Brainsquare started out by supporting the IBM Integration Broker used at our customer’s, and by helping extend its use to more and more integration cases. Later, we were also asked to set up 24/7 management services.
But there was more to integrate and manage. A number of divisions, for example, had started to use SAP PO (Process Integration & Orchestration). But they had done so independently from each other and from the central IT services. So at one moment Brainsquare was asked if they could streamline and monitor the use of SAP PO, and further develop it as a company-wide tool.
We accepted the challenge and brought in some new profiles. Today, the Brainsquare team is developing, monitoring and managing both the IBM Integration Broker and the SAP PO system. Our people now work with both systems, including e.g. solving performance issues and applying security patches.
Starting with the COVID pandemic then, there was a sudden rise in the demand for e-business and e-invoicing solutions. We had already implemented EDI solutions but not for the scope and demand that was now showing. So our customer set up a new program to cope with the required external integration, and naturally Brainsquare was asked to help shape and implement the program. We added a PM-team that was tasked with overseeing the necessary development and monitoring the effectiveness, seeing where problems arise and proposing solutions.
A common thread: trust
If there is a common thread running through all the projects we did, in fact through the partnership we grew during two decades, it is Trust with a capital T.
Brainsquare’s ambition is to build long-term partnerships based on mutual trust. In the fast-changing world of digitalization, trust is necessary to build a secure, stable environment. An environment that will deliver value for a long time to come and allow our customers to meet their goals.