De Rijke Group is a multinational logistics company with headquarters in Spijkenisse, the Netherlands. Formed in 1945, De Rijke now employees more than 1 300 people in seven European countries.
The company provides a broad range of logistics services, including supply chain solutions, transport, warehousing and global freight forwarding. Its customers include many from the petro-chemical and food industries.
To provide value to its customers, de Rijke needs to be able to optimise its services, control costs and intelligently manage and monitor all its business processes. To achieve these goals, it requires IT systems that are up-to-date, efficient and reliable.
Providing a solid, easy-to-manage foundation
De Rijke was managing its own IT operations in-house, but was finding this difficult and time-consuming. It had a range of different IT solutions. The IT systems could be slow, and users often had to wait minutes when starting the desktop and apps. Even with 14 full time employees, de Rijke’s IT team was always busy fixing problems with the infrastructure.
Mark van Veen, European IT manager at de Rijke, says, “When I came aboard, we made the decision to go for one solution instead of several. I see the infrastructure and server environment as providing the foundation on which to build our applications – and a decent foundation is essential.”
With around 600 own trucks on the roads across Europe, reliability is vital. Van Veen says: “We use our IT to take care of the whole logistics range for our customers. Without IT, we cannot operate.”
Outsourced hosted workspace uses best practices
De Rijke decided to adopt an outsourced, cloud-based solution for its 500 users across Europe, based on Citrix software. To build, deliver and manage the solution, it selected Netherlands-based IT company DesktopToWork, a participant in the Citrix Service Provider (CSP) Program, as well as being a recent runner up for Citrix’s ‘Top Apps and Desktops Partner of the Year’ award.
“We chose DesktopToWork so we could make sure we have a stable infrastructure,” says van Veen. “We had previous experience with Citrix with our own server environment, and DesktopToWork’s approach is simple and uses best practices – which was exactly what we were looking for.”
“We considered all options, and in our case outsourcing was the best strategy, because we didn’t have enough knowledge to run our own environment, and it wasn’t realistic to say we could develop it internally,” says van Veen.
Easy manageability frees up IT team time for the business
With DesktopToWork managing the cloud platform, de Rijke has been able to massively reduce the amount of time its IT staff need to invest in keeping the infrastructure running. Van Veen says: “We used to have five or six people working on it daily – now, our IT department can focus on improving the way our systems are used, and providing our users with new applications and possibilities.”
De Rijke now pays a fixed monthly fee per user, meaning that its expenditure is predictable. Costs have been reduced due to the reduction in IT team resource required, and the fact that de Rijke no longer needs to train its team or buy in external consultancy when buying new servers or other hardware. It has also been able to improve efficiency by more closely monitoring how many users are allowed access to the platform.
Strong, responsive partner accelerates changes
Van Veen describes how de Rijke’s close relationship with DesktopToWork enables it to keep up to date, and to make changes quickly when required. He comments: “With Citrix environments, it’s easy for us to come up with new solutions and test them.”
“A lot of companies stay on a proven version of an application for years, but I don’t believe that strategy is applicable any more – you fall behind on security and new developments,” says van Veen. "
De Rijke has also outsourced its helpdesk to DesktopToWork, and van Veen comments: “The quality of the helpdesk has improved, we have a single point of contact for all support related issues and that assists with the speed or resolution.”
Reliable, platform-independent solution meets users’ needs
With the latest versions of Citrix’s platform in place, performance has improved substantially, and de Rijk’s employees have more flexibility to choose where they work. Van Veen says: “That’s one of the beautiful things about Citrix – you’re platform-independent and it doesn’t matter which device people use to enter your environment."
“The platform has been very reliable, with no major problems – that’s a huge difference,” says van Veen. “We used to have about 150 open support calls at any time, and this is now down to 15 or 20, including onboarding new users and minor issues like printers.”
Stable, modern environment
With its basic infrastructure performing well, De Rijke is looking ahead to adding more web-based applications with the cloud platform and Citrix’s NetScaler application delivery controller (ADC). It has already set up a customer portal, which is based on NetScaler to ensure secure, reliable operation.
“Having a partner like DesktopToWork will help us with other solutions and developments,” concludes van Veen. “With Citrix, we have a stable, modern environment from a company that’s really interested in their customers.”
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