Niek Vaessen, Head of Service Management en Operations Bridgestone
Digital transformation is simply a must for companies to stay ahead of the pack. And still, most IT departments spend 80% of their time keeping their IT processes running instead of thinking innovation. To free up time, cut costs and improve their services, the IT team of Bridgestone Europe turned to managed IT services.
Bridgestone EMEA, with headquarters in Belgium, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyobased Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest tyre and rubber company. Bridgestone EMEA operates in more than 60 countries and has over 18,200 employees. Across the region it has 14 tyre and tyre related plants, a major R&D Centre and a proving ground. The 150-strong IT team is charged with providing all business units with the best in IT services – a huge undertaking.
“For a number of years we have been systematically implementing managed services for our different technology and application offerings. Until last year, the Microsoft-based applications were supported by different partners, including some offshore suppliers. This approach didn’t deliver the efficiency gains we had hoped for, as the follow-up was complex and time-consuming,” explains Niek Vaessen, Head of Service Management and Operations. The lack of standard reports, SLAs and procedures, e.g. for incidents, also hampered the efficiency and even the quality of the IT services the team delivered. Consequently, it was decided to entrust a single partner with the support and evolutive maintenance of all the Microsoft-based applications (numerous applications in multiple technology stacks).
Following a thorough tendering process, Cegeka won the bid. Niek: “The proposal clearly demonstrated their dedication to take full responsibility for, and ownership of, the applications. In addition, we knew they had the required know-how to master all the technology stacks. Next to this, as we only have a limited number of first-line business partners, having the right cultural fit is just as important. Since Day One of our cooperation, The Cegeka team has proven to be pragmatic, responsive, open and constructive.”
These qualities proved very useful as early as the migration phase, which was quite challenging, as Cegeka had to work along with the multiple existing suppliers to ensure continuity of service. Since early 2017, the support and maintenance tasks for all applications have been in the hands of the Cegeka team: a Belgian service delivery manager, three Belgian business analysts and an autonomous, self-governing Italian team for support, development, further analysis and deployment. They work together with the inhouse IT teams and business owners as well as with third parties – a challenging context in which Cegeka’s collaborative problemsolving capabilities are a major asset. “Of course there are occasional hiccups which is perfectly normal, but whatever happens, Cegeka is always ready to help and join forces with everyone concerned to get to the best solution.”
To cut costs and improve the quality, performance and availability of IT services: these are the reasons why Bridgestone has entrusted the support of its MS stack to a single supplier. Standardization was one of the keys to achieving these objectives. Cegeka complies with the harmonized Bridgestone reporting, standard SLAs, KPIs and cSLRs and standard ITIL-based processes for all applications. In addition, there is increasing maturity on the level of DTAP and ownership of the code repository. In the case of IT issues, Cegeka comes to the rescue.
The partnership is bringing stability to the Bridgestone IT team and helps them lift IT services to the next level. “Furthermore, this contract means that we can direct more energy into developing innovation in our own core business areas. Here, too, we expect our partners to play an important role by tapping into their experience and expertise to think along with us,” Niek concludes.
"The partnership brings stability and helps us lift IT services to the next level. Furthermore, we can direct more energy into developing innovation in our own core business areas. "