SoftwareOne case study

On the test stand

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Modernizing business-critical apps and the company-wide intranet opened new ways to communicate and work together at VdS

Since 2015, VdS Schadenverhütung GmbH (VdS), a Germany-based company focused on fire and burglary protection, natural hazard prevention, and cyber security, has continuously modernized its company-wide intranet several times with the support of SoftwareOne. To provide all employees with access to optimal working conditions, modern tools and applications, VdS decided to proceed with further modernization of its intranet and selected business-critical applications by moving to the cloud with Microsoft 365 and Microsoft .NET.

To be successful on this journey, VdS needed help to implement M365 Power Platform and Teams services, and support to optimize work processes and create new communication options. With consolidation of its previous SharePoint environment in the cloud, VdS aimed to minimize costs and administration efforts. As a long-standing trusted advisor for VdS in the SharePoint environment, SoftwareOne was once again the partner of choice to support the move to the M365 cloud.

In addition, VdS leveraged SoftwareOne’s Application Modernization Services to automate and streamline a critical analog application. The resulting “MyCertification” web application built by SoftwareOne simplifies the handling of certification applications for VdS customers while reducing time and costs for VdS.

VdS Schadenverhütung logo
VdS Schadenverhütung
Modernization of the intranet and several business applications by migrating from SharePoint to SharePoint Online; Implementation of additional Microsoft 365 services such as Teams and Power Platform; SoftwareOne Application Modernization Services engaged to develop the “MyCertification” web application to improve processing of customer applications; Continuous operational support from SoftwareOne for all implemented Microsoft services
We have been working successfully with SoftwareOne for many years. Its IT specialists convinced us to implement our company solutions in a constructive workflow. The switch to a modern cloud architecture fully met our expectations. We are very satisfied and look forward to future joint tasks.

Peter Vaskó
Head of IT Department, VdS Schadenverhütung

About the client

VdS Schadenverhütung GmbH (VdS), and its 500 employees are headquartered in Cologne. Part of the German Insurance Association (GDV), VdS is globally renowned for corporate security, focusing on fire and burglary protection, natural hazard prevention, and cyber security. Its services include risk assessments, systems inspections, and certification of products, companies, specialists, and a wide range of educational services. Customers include industrial and commercial enterprises from all sectors, from leading international manufacturers and system houses to specialist companies, as well as banks and insurers.

The challenge

A close and trusting collaboration between SoftwareOne and VdS since 2015 has focused on SharePoint and SharePoint-related topics. These have included conceptualization, implementation, and long-term operational support.

Previous engagements helped VdS to modernize the company-wide intranet and several business applications based on Microsoft SharePoint and NINTEX (workflows and forms) technology. SoftwareOne advice, design, and professional services have helped VdS plan and implement extensive migrations of the SharePoint farm from versions 2010 through 2013 to 2016.

The insurance company’s strategy has always centered on the continuous development of modern technologies that meet new requirements and help it remain competitive in the market as an attractive employer. Several factors motivated VdS to move to the cloud to create conditions that continue to offer first-class customer service and optimal working conditions for VdS employees. A cloud move would bring significant scalability and high availability improvements while reducing ever-increasing costs and management overhead. Even with its continuous automation of manual work processes in a business-critical application, VdS had finally reached SharePoint technology limits.

As a result, VdS planned to gradually consolidate SharePoint, SQL, and NINTEX using Microsoft 365 cloud technology for Software-as-a-Service. The change would reduce expenses for VdS’ IT and create the best possible working environment by giving all employees access to high-performance applications and modern communication tools. In addition, VdS asked SoftwareOne to develop an individual web application to automate and simplify the time-consuming, analog processing, provision, and modification of specific customer applications.

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The solution

As a trusted SharePoint advisor and Microsoft Gold Partner, SoftwareOne was the VdS’ choice to help move to the cloud. The collaboration delivered ongoing operational support, advice, conceptual design, and implementation.

Modernizing the intranet with Microsoft SharePoint Online & Teams

Migrating its SharePoint 2016 farm to SharePoint Online, VdS created a future-proof intranet for company-wide exchange with modern collaboration tools such as Teams and other Microsoft 365 services. All relevant content could be transferred to the new scalable environment, and the cost-intensive private cloud supporting the old SharePoint environment could be switched off. The collaborative M365 services are now used company-wide.

Improving business apps with Microsoft Power Platform

Individual business applications and portal solutions used in different VdS departments gradually moved from SharePoint 2016 to Microsoft 365. The specialist applications, mainly based on NINTEX technologies, were migrated with the Microsoft Power Platform. Utilizing cloud-based tools such as Power Automate and PowerApps, automated workflows and user-defined applications have been seamlessly integrated into the new IT environment, making them quickly available to VdS employees.

App development with Microsoft .NET

Previously, to receive product certifications, VdS customers had to submit applications on paper. These were manually transferred to other specialist applications such as SAP, SharePoint, or Active Directory.

This procedure was very time-consuming, resource-intensive, and error-prone. It was not transparent to customers, and an attempt to automate the process flow as a portal using SharePoint had not been sufficient. Processing certification renewals for customer products would ideally allow the holder to view, renew, or change online directly. However, with the 7,000 to 8,000 certifications VdS currently issues, SharePoint reached the limits of assigning sufficient user authorizations for both the customer interface and VdS.

To streamline this time-consuming and resource-intensive process, SoftwareOne's Application Modernization Services developed the web-based app “MyCertification.” Based on Microsoft .NET it digitizes, simplifies, and transparently presents customer applications, replacing the previously analog processing. The change significantly reduces time required to manage the data and automates test procedures to ensure better data quality. For customers, the Microsoft .NET web application “MyCertification” can grant all required user authorizations and provide a complete overview of the status of their certifications, including an online application for changes or extensions. For VdS, the new application means reduced processing time, cost minimization, and improved customer-friendly service.

The result

  • Modernized intranet: VdS has converted from classic SharePoint and NINTEX technology to cloud-based Microsoft 365 services, including SharePoint Online with powerful collaboration tools such as Teams and Power Platform. These provide VdS a scalable, highly available, robust, and future-proof IT environment and create conditions for a modern, user-friendly intranet as a company-wide communication and collaboration platform.
  • Empowered business apps: Several VdS departmental business applications were migrated from SharePoint to SharePoint Online and from NINTEX to the Microsoft Power Platform or Azure technologies such as Logic Apps, Azure Automation, and Azure Functions have enabled VdS to minimize costs from third-party providers. This enhances performance and significantly optimizes the availability of applications using cloud technology.
  • Reduced costs: The move to Microsoft 365 as Software-as-a-Service and the gradual reduction and consolidation of the SharePoint on-premises environment have substantially reduced unnecessary costs.
  • Improved productivity: Microsoft 365 services in the cloud optimize communication, work processes, and collaboration. The use of modern featured tools, regardless of time and location, improves the efficiency, productivity, and optimization of services for VdS customers and partners.
  • New web app “MyCertification” for customers: The development of the individual web application “MyCertification” by SoftwareOne enables VdS to process its customers' certification applications more quickly and in a more customer-friendly manner. Automation accelerates processing, and the web as an interface offers customers direct, quick, and easy access to their data, including full transparency of certifications status and a renewal option. SoftwareOne continuously maintains this solution.
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