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‘Smart savings’ due to Office 365 at multinational A. Schulman Plastics

3.000 users, spread over tens of locations, migrate to Outlook and Skype for Business in Office 365. Read more.

The challenge

The decentralized Lotus Notes servers could no longer guarantee reliable email traffic, while document sharing was difficult.  

3.000 users, spread over tens of locations, migrate to Outlook and Skype for Business in Office 365: even for a multinational such as A. Schulman Plastics is it an ambitious project. The project was, thanks to the flexibility and technical know-how of Spikes, successful. A. Shulman Plastics can now start the next phase of the project: together with Spikes is SharePoint implemented to guide work processes and document management in the right way. 

A. Schulman, Inc.issince 1928 a worldwide active supplier of plastic components, additives and colour concentrates. The company brings innovative solutions to please the demand of the client, and today can one find products of the company in applications such as food packaging, artificial grass and dashboards for cars. Different acquisitions in the past years contribute to the strong growth of the company. A. Shulman Plastics has today around 5.000 staff members worldwide spread over 61 production sites.  

From the Londerzeel office provides Wim Nagels, ICT Director EMEA, the IT policy for 18 locations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Until 5 years ago was the IT infrastructure of the group strongly decentralized and driven from the countries: no less than 26 Lotus Notes-serves functionated independent of each other. Wim Nagles: “As a company is it difficult to function smoothly even when the email traffic between branches themselves is not reliable… Sharing documents also didn’t go smoothly.” 

To a centralized IT infrastructure with Office 365 

By making the decision to replace Lotus Notes for Office 365, would A. Schulman Plastics from now on start from a more centralized regionally driven approach. The intention was to replace the email applications of Notes with Outlook, and the Workflow/ Document Management part with SharePoint. From his home base in Londerzeel, was Wim Nagels assigned the management of the global project: “The assignment was subdivided into 3 phases: the introduction of Active Directory, the migration of e-mail to Office 365 and finally the introduction of Microsoft SharePoint for document management and workflows. Firstly, the migration to Active Directory was successfully completed. According to Wim Nagels, the result is that the IT environment is much safer today than before.  

Flexibility as asset 

The migration of the full email environment from Notes to Outlook in Office 365, was the second phase. More than 3.000 users and the inevitable security requirements of a multinational, took some time; fortunately, were a lot of the users already used to Outlook, which resulted in an easy transition. Wim Nagles immediately points to a crucial success factor for a project of such a size: according to him, both his own organization and the future IT partner must show the necessary flexibility during the implementation process, whereby sudden changes and course changes are inevitable. Immediately was this also a determining factor for the choice of the IT partner: “I have experienced, in the past, with shame that large integrators inspire less confidence than smaller IT companies, who often have a much more flexible attitude. Partly on the advice of Microsoft, did we choose T-Bench to guide the migration to Outlook. A decision that we have not yet regret!” T-Bench did not mind an effort more or less and did not even hesitate to take a flight to the USA to discuss the project with the senior management there.  

‘Smart Savings 

Wim Nagels counts for the total migration of Office 365 on a lead time of 1 year. Today the assignment has already been completed for just over 2.100 of the 3.00 users in EMEA, US and APAC (Asia-Pacific). Wim Nagles: “Not only the fact that we can always use the latest version of Outlook with Office 365 is a major advantage; thanks to Skype for Business do we expect to be able to realize a lot of ‘smart savings’ in the field of telecom and travel expenses.” 

SharePoint athird phase 

The third and final component of the ambitious project at A. Schuman is the introduction of SharePoint together with IT partner Spikes. Around 20 active Workflows have been identified within the company. Today it is being evaluated which processes will be transferred to SharePoint. Even though the implementation is still in full swing, everything suggests that the user acceptance process will be very smooth. In the first phase wants one to use SharePoint for team and project sites, in a second phase for a full intranet platform and finally plans the company a supplement with Enterprise Social Media.  

Smooth collaboration with T-Bench (Spikes) 

Wim Nagels already looks back with satisfaction on the route that has already been completed: “We already feel the unmistakable power of the Azure platform today. Collaboration with our IT partners has also been a pleasant experience: T-Bench is committed to the IT project as if it were for their own organization, with great flexibility and technical know-how. This strengthened the collaboration between the regions themselves.” 



A. Schulman Plastics produces and sells plastic components, additives and colour concentrates.


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