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Office 365 fits perfectly into the growth strategy of Agfa-Gevaert

The challenge

On the one hand was there a deprecated Lotus Notes. Agfa was looking for a new solution. On the other hand, was there a reorganisation of the Healthcare IT department. One was searching for innovations on the market for a distinct anticity to create more value.  

Top of mind, Agfa-Gevaert has been on that spot for the last decennia, in the field of analogue and digital imaging systems and IT-solutions. The multinational develops, produces and supplies a diverse portfolio of product, especially in the graphical industry, healthcare and for specific industrial applications. To support its growth strategy worldwide, was the corporation looking for a new collaboration tool.

At Agfa goes affordable technology together with an innovative way of working together. To succeed, is it essential for the group to understand their customers well. Also investing in innovation and the delivery of solutions of high quality. Flexible and pragmatic. This culture has the same values as Spikes, Agfa could experience this from the beginning of the partnership in 2017. We at Spikes had the opportunity to guide the group through their (digital) transformation.  

From Lotus Notes to Office 365 

Before the effective collaboration came around, went Agfa through a preliminary stage for some years. The reason to search for a future oriented partnership was two typed. On the one hand, was there the question that came out of lifecycle management: ‘How long will our Lotus Notes last?’ Innovation imposed itself. 

On the other hand, Agfa was in a split off in their organizational structure. The group wanted to evolve from a cost reduction strategy to a growth strategy. To create a better and faster growth in the Healthcare IT department, did the company choose to let it functionate as a different entity. Instead of the effective split off, did the company look for innovative solutions on the market, for added value creation. 

“The full project that we started, contained three main stages”, tells Fri Van Raemdonck, Manager ICT applications. “First of all, the question if a platform as Office 365 was the right choice for Agfa. Later the question: do we choose for Microsoft or Google? Finally, the actual out roll. At every of these phases was Spikes involved.” The department of Risk Management created a proof of concepts (PoCs), to have an overview of differences between the solutions of the diverse suppliers, such as Microsoft, Google and IBM. The team decided to work with Microsoft – the other providers had functional gaps. Agfa had a specific preference for Spikes, because of their expertise and experience, which made them making the decision to start the partnership.  

“Their positive approach and decent input for our PoCs were the trigger for the partnership. They turned out to be the ideal partner for an Office 365 out roll in the context of our transformation.” 

“During the reference case about the migration from Lotus Notes to a Microsoft environment, made Spikes an excellent expression,” goes Fri on. “Their positive approach and decent input for our PoCs were the trigger for the partnership. They turned out to be the ideal partner for an Office 365 out roll in the context of our transformation.” 

Lean & mean – Greenfield approach

It started with the design of the project. Agfa was looking for a collaboration model with key positions for internal people (technical and business profiles) and for Spikes specialists. Mostly through the principle of ‘training on the job’ and ‘lean & mean’, that they could keep the project in house. This was a change for the Spikes team and they needed to make some adjustments, but the responsibilities were quickly granted and the scope flexible adjusted where needed.  

We at Spikes took the lead. Our IT engineers and architects built the technical infrastructure and created the basis of the project. The Agfa environment got synchronized with the Cloud environment. 

Later followed the out roll in different batches. As they progressed between January and June 2018, started Agfa to be the biggest player, we kept on giving the necessary support. If there was more knowledge training needed, could Agfa always rely on us. A perfect example is the specific education around security.  

Office 365 had been made available for all the employees and displayed empty. “We choose for the Greenfield approach”, tells Caroline Van Rompuy, CIO of Agfa. “We didn’t integrated calendars and mails and started with empty mailboxes. Technical seen was it easier and Lotus Notes was still accessible. We are now trying to get the hybrid system out.” 


About 1/3 of Agfa works with Office 365 now. This part matches with the part of the organizational split off. Initial did the attention go to personal productivity tools, now it is shifting towards organizational productivity. Agfa wants to focus on Teams and SharePoint. 

After a period of 3-4 months, did the current end users in Agfa absorbed the deploy well. The tools are used as they should. They got the full support of the President of Agfa HealthCare. He made videos about how to out roll and he was part of the first pilot group for migration. His engagement was a critical success factor.  

“The out roll was very successful”, concludes Caroline. “There are some point of attention that we needed to communicate to the rest of the organization after the first start, but they are not Spikes’ fault. Because of Office 365 can we now better work remotely. At the office, at home, at the airport, everywhere. The tool brings a new atmosphere of innovation and pushes to work better together. Spikes always handed us proactive solutions.” 

Fri agrees to: “There was a match in cultures. Without any problem did they think with us to create a win-win situation for both parties. Which they did formal if necessary, informal if it was possible. They put in all their efforts to make it a success. Pragmatic, with the right goal, and within the agreements.”  

Agfa 250


The Agfa-Gevaert group with their headquarters in Mortsel develops, produces and supplies a diversity of analogue and digital imaging systems and IT solutions, primarily in the graphical industry, healthcare and specific industrial applications. They have resellers in 40 countries and got worldwide more than 10.000 employees with a turn-over of almost 2 billion euros in 2015. 


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