“Kambium’s knowledge and guidance in establishing security and access best practices around how the sites should be managed was key.
This, with training for our people, was essential, as our core reason for engaging Kambium was our desire for a standardised best practice SharePoint hub.
And they did that very well.”
Technology Change – SharePoint
Adoption Change Management
Freshmax Group is a major fresh produce marketing and distribution operation in the Southern Hemisphere. Integrated throughout the supply chain of Fresh Produce, from field to fork, Freshmax constantly seeks to drive innovation and achieve efficiency, a philosophy which has delivered the scale maintained by the business today.
Already equipped with Microsoft 365, international fruit and vegetables leader Freshmax Group saw an opportunity for retiring legacy data storage and sharing services while improving communication and collaboration across its network of worldwide locations. The Melbourne, Australia-headquartered company engaged Kambium for support and guidance for a scaled migration to SharePoint, benefiting from best practice structure, security and site management – and today enjoys reduced cost of ownership, a simplified environment, and more effective data exchange contributing to greater convenience and ease of communications across the business.
Commercial relationships across the world
boxes of fresh produce moved safely from growers to customers each year
When Microsoft 365 hit the market, Freshmax quickly adopted what could be called the more prosaic productivity applications formerly known as Office – Word, Excel, Outlook, and of course a little PowerPoint here and there. While SharePoint was included in its licensing, the presence of an existing solution for data exchange and collaboration meant SharePoint went unused. Freshmax Group IT Manager Rob Nicholls explains: “Basically we had multiple data storage services and were paying for the privilege of all of those. When we went onto Microsoft 365 services 5 or 6 years ago, we didn’t use SharePoint as we had another service running document sharing across the group and externally. And to be fair, that service was working just fine.”
While ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ is a generally sound philosophy, Nicholls notes that Freshmax – which is all about efficiency in rapidly moving perishable goods across its physical networks – soon spotted an obvious opportunity. “If you’re getting that service in SharePoint and you’re paying for something else, you’re paying too much. Even though there weren’t any issues with the legacy system, we saw the advantages of consolidating down and using Microsoft 365 as a central hub, maximizing the benefits of the suite, and saving money at the same time.”
As it happens, the eventual exercise exposed collaborative features of SharePoint exceeding those of Freshmax’s legacy applications.
“One of the key reasons we changed was due to the collaboration and integration functionality across all the M365 Suite,” comments Nicholls, “And we weren’t disappointed.”
With Freshmax Group comprising some seven entities, each of which required a SharePoint instance and subsequent migration, there was a lot at stake. Nicholls says the data involved – some 3 to 4 terabytes of it – includes all crucial information for day-to-day operations, including trading documents and information relating to finance associated with produce trading, and accessed by some 200 people across the company and its global operations.
Out with the old and in with the new has delivered multiple advantages for Freshmax, with the primary goal of bringing the group together and enabling greater collaboration across the group.
With one collaboration platform, we have a single source of truth. There’s no combination of different storage structures across cloud and on premises, that’s all gone.” It doesn’t hurt, either, that there is some saving in legacy services and subsequent reduced costs both in terms of licensing and simplified support.
The business’ perspective on collaboration has improved, too. “We’re enjoying the ability to view and work on documents at the same time. And our security is improved too, with ‘site champions’ for each of the seven entities owning their sites. This moves responsibility from IT to the business in terms of protecting their own data, and it has the business more comfortable knowing they have ownership of their data security.
“With everything part of the Microsoft 365 suite, our people aren’t spending time going from one system to another to get data. Sharing is easy with multiple ways of doing it, from the app, from a web service, within Teams…it makes things flow better.”
Consolidated information, and a broader appreciation for the Microsoft ecosystem, also has Freshmax eyeing up further developments including PowerApps for workflows and automation.
“This project has opened up new possibilities and opportunities. And that’s a bit exciting,” Nicholls confirms.
He says Freshmax couldn’t have got there without Kambium.
“Kambium have been responsive and did what they said they would. Thanks to the training, we have happier users. And it is thanks to Kambium that we’re now looking at additional Microsoft capabilities – after all, you don’t know what you don’t know. It’s been a massive learning experience for me and our IT guys, and we’re seeing potential now where we didn’t before.”