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Case Study

Schletter Solar GmbH

Focus on value-adding processes thanks to modern IT infrastructure in the cloud

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Schletter logo - Proact customer

Industry

Solution provided

When it comes to solar mounting systems, customers worldwide rely on the sophisticated solutions of the Schletter Group — from Yokohama to the West Coast of the USA. Anyone who stands for the highest quality and resilience also needs stable IT systems that all employees worldwide can access while on the go and rely on 24/7. With the outsourcing of the infrastructure, the course was set anew, and Schletter Solar GmbH can concentrate on the processes that are actually value-adding for the customers and thus for the company itself.

Initial situation

“Our customers expect excellent and lasting quality of our assembly systems at a good price-performance ratio as well as competent contact persons,” says Rainer Daller, Vice President IT/ERP at Schletter Solar GmbH. “For us and our employees, this in turn means that we need modern IT without tool breaks or failures, i.e. “zero downtime”, in order to be able to guarantee this worldwide at all times.”

IT infrastructures usually grow over the years — and this is also the case at Schletter Solar GmbH. “This manifested itself in numerous places for us,” says Rainer Daller, adding, “in addition to the downtimes that came as a surprise to us, we had tool breaks, inadequate patching, access problems in old systems, shadow IT, inadequate maintenance of the complete IT and we didn’t know where all the data actually was.” Due to the accumulated structures, the company lacked an overview of the utilisation of the systems and, over time, created huge IT assets that were ultimately neither utilised nor could be reliably and efficiently maintained. “We had an imbalance in operations and really had to take action,” describes Rainer Daller in retrospect.

The challenge

When it comes to their own IT infrastructure, almost every company is faced with the question “make or buy?” at some point, and Schletter Solar GmbH made a conscious decision to outsource. The company was faced with the challenge of IT systems and processes that had grown over the years, as well as internal fears – especially in the IT department – that outsourcing could lead to job cuts.

In addition, Schletter Solar GmbH experienced a hacker attack, during which the organisation learned the implications of IT security not being guaranteed 100%. “Fortunately, we got away with only a few scrapes. Nothing serious,” says Daller of Schletter Solar GmbH, adding “However, we understood at that moment that, as a medium-sized company, we simply can’t adequately map IT security on our own anymore.”

The goal: Outsource infrastructure and concentrate on the essentials

Schletter Solar GmbH no longer wanted to have to worry about IT, but instead wanted to be able to focus on its own core competencies.

t was exactly the right decision to completely outsource our IT infrastructure. If we were faced with this question again, we would make the same choice, as well as opt for Proact.
Rainer Daller, Vice President IT/ERP, Schletter Solar GmbH

Solution

“Outsourcing of IT” was the solution, so Schletter Solar GmbH decided to opt for:
• Infrastructure as a Service,
• Network as a Service and
• WiFi as a Service.

Proact was able to present Schletter Solar GmbH with convincing approaches for solutions as early as the bidding phase. Together, they decided on the “Lift & Shift” approach, in which first the data is transferred to the Proact Hybrid Cloud (PHC) and then optimised. Thanks to the partnership-based cooperation on an equal footing, which became apparent right from the start and is still considered a key success factor for both parties today, the outsourcing of the IT succeeded to the satisfaction of all involved.

Today, IT is held in high esteem

IT – and by this we mean both the IT staff as well as the structures and processes – are held in high esteem at Schletter Solar GmbH today. Initial concerns that outsourcing could lead to job cuts in IT quickly turned out to be unfounded. “The work of our IT experts was characterised by a permanent overload. Today, on the other hand, they can take care of the value-adding tasks and are happy that all infrastructure issues have been outsourced.” Rainer Daller sums up.

Newly positioned, worldwide

The switch to an external IT infrastructure and additional applications and IT services from Proact means a more robust IT system for Schletter Solar GmbH with significantly fewer downtimes and much faster provisioning times. Thanks to Proact’s worldwide support, Schletter Solar GmbH can rely on this new standard at all 14 locations.

Performance that is worth its price

Whoever outsources services from their own company often wants to achieve savings. “However, it was clear to us that we had invested too little in our own IT and IT security in recent years. Our own investments would have been necessary now,” says Rainer Daller. “Nevertheless, anyone who makes up for this now with the help of a service provider should not expect any savings. Therefore, our expenses for IT are higher than before, but
absolutely justified. Price and performance are in harmony. In addition, we really appreciate Proact’s flexible way of working.”

Finally stable and secure

“Thanks to Proact, the issues of performance and IT security have finally been solved for us. Unexplained IT failures are now a thing of the past. Instead, we can rely on reliable maintenance including monitoring and alerting of our entire IT. All solutions run stably and robustly and are also optimally protected against external attacks. Today, our IT only deals with issues of value instead of restoring the ability to work,” says Rainer Daller. The next topic is the replacement of the ERP system in order to be able to provide a future-proof IT
platform here as well.

Benefits

  • Uniform, stable IT infrastructure worldwide (compute, storage, network and containers)
  • Ensuring IT security at all locations
  • Reliable monitoring of the hardware and software used
  • More time for support and consulting in customer projects
  • Significantly faster provisioning times for the core solutions
  • Outsourcing in line with the IT department

Key components

  • Infrastructure as a Service, compute, storage, LAN, WLAN
  • 24/7 operation of the complete environment
As a medium-sized company, we realised that we couldn’t take care of IT security to the extent that we should. Thanks to outsourcing the entire infrastructure to Proact, we were finally able to take this issue off our to-do list
Rainer Daller, Vice President IT/ERP, Schletter Solar GmbH

About Schletter Solar GmbH

The Schletter Group is one of the leading manufacturers of solar mounting systems worldwide. They develop and manufacture mounting solutions made of aluminium and steel for solar parks, flat roofs and pitched roofs. Schletter’s sophisticated solutions stand for the highest quality and resilience — wherever the sun shines. The company has over 500 employees at locations worldwide.

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