Carmeuse digs Xylos’ customer-centricity during worldwide SharePoint Online migration

Agile, Azure DevOps, Migration, Modern workplace, SharePoint Online

Carmeuse is a Belgian, industry-leading mining company that produces lime and limestone for applications in diverse markets: from the steel industry to construction, water treatment, and agrifood, to the chemical industry. Choosing to operate in proximity to its customers, the Carmeuse Group is spread worldwide. It has production facilities in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia and Africa. The expertise within the group is particularly specialized. Knowledge management is of essential value. Therefore, the importance of successful and flawless digitization is impossible to overestimate. To consolidate their initial digital knowledge base, which was built on SharePoint 2007 and 2013, to SharePoint Online (Microsoft 365), they wanted a partner that would accompany and guide them on this journey.

An inspiring partner for the journey

Even though Carmeuse had worked with another IT integrator for their last migration project in 2016, they were triggered by Xylos’ enthusiasm and knowhow, displayed during the yearly Xylos Inspire event that Carmeuse attended. François Collet (IT and SharePoint expert at Carmeuse) identified in Xylos a partner that could offer the quality of advice and communication, required for this company-crucial undertaking that he and his colleagues – Sandra Flamand (Knowledge Management Business Partner) and Diana Chira (SharePoint Admin) – were looking for.

Agile project delivery combined with a can-do-mentality 

The SharePoint Online migration project was executed based on a clear delivery plan and an agile approach. A total of 18 sprints between October 2021 and June 2022 allowed Carmeuse and Xylos to realize the transition fluently. Each sprint in the project represented the migration of a bundled entity, more or less corresponding to various departments at Carmeuse. Two migration steps were foreseen and executed per sprint:

  • A “full migration”-step in which close collaboration between Xylos and Carmeuse’s IT teams would take place: preparing the migration of sites with mitigation of risks, execution of the migration, rebuilding of workflows, testing and validating.
  • An “incremental migration”-step, fully executed by Xylos, based on the successful formula of the first step, to migrate remaining components.

Sandra Flamand was very pleased with the experience: “What worked well from our point of view was the fact that Xylos and Carmeuse were always speaking the same language. It was a natural collaboration. Also, in case there were any technical impediments, Xylos would come up with a modernized solution. As a result, the project would never get stuck, and we were able to respect the foreseen timeline.”

François Collet testifies along the same lines: “The people at Xylos not only displayed a lot of competence, but also a fantastic mentality. Not once did they say something was not possible.”

A great experience with Azure DevOps, allowing for clarity

One aspect that Carmeuse also found particularly enriching was the use of Azure DevOps to fully support the agile approach. Xylos’ setup of the tool proved to be powerful and efficient: perfect for Sandra Flamand and her team to report to management and help them truly understand the status of the project.

“We were able to visualize the project in a clear matrix. One that would provide our management immediately with clarity about any delays, for instance. But also: why something was delayed, what the consequence was, and what needed to be done to overcome it. Also, Xylos’ Project Management Lead, Tom, did a great job communicating about the methodology to management. It kept everybody on the same wavelength.”

The digital workplace, catching on

Carmeuse’s objective was twofold: technical and business-related. On one hand, they wanted to continue guaranteeing high quality data security. From a business point-of-view, the aim was to further enhance the knowledge sharing mindset throughout the organization and increase effectiveness.

Previously, users always had to go through a VPN in order to access to their digital work environment. Blue collar workers would generally need to access shared accounts. That is no longer the case with SharePoint Online and the introduction of a Microsoft F1 license. Thanks to two-factor authentication and personal accounts, everyone can access their digital work environment more securely and flexibly than ever.

From the earliest stage after of the migration, François Collet and Sandra Flamand were able to identify, that the amount of modified documents on SharePoint are triple the amount of modified documents on OneDrive.

“That shows we are steadily moving towards our goal,” says Sandra Flamand.

François Collet and Sandra Flamand confirm they are seeing real engagement with Carmeuse’s digital workplace: “Employees, from plants beyond Western Europe are proactively asking for workflows and sites on SharePoint to be created, now. That is a very good sign. It’s remarkable, because when functioning with SharePoint on-premise versions, we tried to explain to people what the possibilities were, but it barely seemed to catch on. Now, people experience what the possbilities are and we get requests, every day.” 

Sandra Flamand adds: “This is also exactly the next step in our collaboration with Xylos. We are convinced they will help us continue to deliver value to the business.”

Clearly, Xylos is more than happy to roll out new features of SharePoint Online. Within the Carmeuse Group reside diverse digital user personas. The experts at Xylos will be engaging with diverse departments worldwide and deep dive into their needs and challenges. Something Project Manager Lynn Franceus doesn’t take lightly:

“During this successful as-is migration, we have come to understand the way Carmeuse works quite well. We’re excited delving into everyone’s daily reality even more, as we continue. From management and white collar profiles that use SharePoint Online to collaborate online and manage projects, to operational workers that fulfil a vital role in feeding and interpreting information. We want to empower them to conduct even better reporting with Microsoft 365 tools. Not to lose out of sight, are external collaborators. For instance, geologists and engineers… It’s all fascinating and a great, instructive experience for all of our consultants.”

The unique strengths of Xylos

There’s no doubt in people’s minds at Carmeuse, that Xylos will honor their trust. Sandra Flamand and François Collet summarize the unique attributes of Xylos in three terms: customer service, expertise and fun.

“The common thread throughout the project has been that they brought additional value to what we expected to be delivered. On top of that, it wasn’t like two separate companies working together, but rather like people from one and the same team. It was a pleasure to meet and speak to each other every day. We have had many enjoyable moments and even laughed quite a lot. That absolutely helped us all to be successful.”


Community event - 17/10/2023
Back-up & Disaster recovery: Uitdagingen en oplossingen