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Take major steps towards cloud computing to increase effectiveness through the use of AI and big data.

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Production chains are becoming intelligent networks with real-time track-and-trace systems.

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Customer Testimonial - Sonepar France

Cegeka enables future-proof omnichannel platform with iPaaS for Sonepar France

Key challenges

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Complex application landscape

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Legacy applications

Results

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Global omnichannel platform for all operational companies

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Future-proof integration layer

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More insights about customers

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Wider range of products offered

After numerous acquisitions, Sonepar faced the task of integrating the complex application landscape of its various operational companies. The French subsidiary of the global distributor of electrical products, solutions and related services turned to Cegeka for help with this task. Thanks to the integration layer that Cegeka implemented for Sonepar France, the company now has one global omnichannel platform with a future-proof architecture. 

Sonepar is an independent family owned B2B distribution of electrical products, solutions, and related services. It has a dense network of 100 brands spanning 40 countries, with 45,000 employees worldwide. However, these operational companies often had their own ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), PIM (Product Information Management), WMS (Warehouse Management System) and e-commerce platform, as well as their own website. “These were really data silos: the systems of different operational companies didn’t communicate with each other. And if they did, they were using point-to-point integrations, which was becoming complex”, summarizes Olivier Thivent. 

The Head of Digital Transformation at Sonepar France explains that the Sonepar group had a clear strategy to migrate to one global omnichannel platform: “Sonepar started to develop a cloud-based future-proof omnichannel platform, Spark. Our job at Sonepar France was to help build this platform and roll it out in France. So, we needed to integrate our own systems into Spark.”  

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Integration Platform as a Service 

There were several options available, and Sonepar France decided to set up an integration platform to connect all underlying systems centrally instead of using various point-to-point connections between systems directly. To implement this, Sonepar France chose Boomi, which provides an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) and uses a low-code development approach. 

“We were looking for a European IT integrator, and we had already worked with Cegeka in Belgium, so we knew they could help us deliver our objectives on time”, says Olivier Thivent. “Sonepar France issued a tender, and Cegeka convinced us with their experience and won the tender. Not only did they have experience with the Boomi integration platform we used because they’re a Boomi partner and distributor, they were also eager to work with the scaled agile framework (SAFe) methodology that we used. And when we started collaborating, they picked up our methodology quickly.” 

Cegeka designed the architecture and developed Sonepar France’s integrations using Boomi. As the distributor was using a best-of-breed approach, it needed to integrate systems from various vendors. Some of these systems were running on-premise, others in the cloud. Cegeka also replaced some legacy software with SaaS software, and added end-to-end integration monitoring. Cegeka could also rely on its subsidiary NSI, from the French-speaking part of Belgium. They assisted with project management for the integration project. 

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More insights, higher sales 

Spark was successfully rolled out in France in November 2021 (“on time, as Cegeka promised”, adds Olivier Thivent), and gradually more integrations and more branches were added. In September 2022 the full scale of the platform was launched. Spark now offers a fully digital and synchronized experience to all Sonepar’s customers and employees. 

“Our CRM, PIM and ERP systems and our e-commerce platform Spark are now interconnected centrally and are using the same database instead of having their own data silos”, says Olivier Thivent. So instead of having to consult various databases for an information request, all these data are combined in one place. As a result, Sonepar now has more insights about their customers. 

The integration of various PIM and ERP systems has another advantage: Sonepar is now able to offer a wider range of products to its customers on its web site. This results in higher e-commerce sales. 

“Our CRM, PIM and ERP systems and our e-commerce platform Spark are now interconnected centrally and are using the same database instead of having their own data silos.”

Olivier Thivent, Head of Digital Transformation Sonepar France

An ongoing journey 

A big integration project like this one is never complete, so Sonepar is still adding new features and integrating new operational companies continuously, explains Olivier Thivent: “We’re now working on a marketplace on top of our e-commerce platform. This allows external vendors to sell their products on our platform. Track & trace is another feature we’ve planned.” 

Now that the integration layer is ready, this also makes it easier to modernize Sonepar’s applications because they’re decoupled from each other. Individual components can be phased out and replaced by modern implementations without a big impact on the other components. This also supports a shift to the cloud, which makes the architecture future-proof. 

One team 

According to Olivier Thivent, working with Cegeka didn’t feel like they were in a contractual relationship with a European IT integrator; it felt more like collaborating as a team: “Throughout the project, we’ve been in close contact with Cegeka. In close cooperation transcends the boundaries of physical or digital interactions. Cegeka has demonstrated that, regardless of the circumstances (such as COVID), they consistently embody and practice what they stand for, day in and day out. All the time there was one team spirit. Everyone’s mindset was focused on how to solve the problem, not on who to blame when something goes wrong.” 

“Cegeka has demonstrated that, regardless of the circumstances, they consistently embody and practice what they stand for, day in and day out.”

Olivier Thivent, Head of Digital Transformation Sonepar France

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