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AtéCé opts for the Thinkwise Platform to modernize its legacy IT environment
Apeldoorn, 12 July 2022 – AtéCé Graphic Products, vendor of graphics consumables for printers, modernizes its legacy IT environment with the Thinkwise low-code platform. In doing so, AtéCé aims to support the further development of its IT environment and the continuous growth of the organization.
AtéCé Graphic Products is a Dutch family business and has been an established name as an international vendor of graphics consumables since 1977. The company operates in around 80 countries in Europe, North and South America, the Middle East and Asia. Along with its wholesale business the company has also been manufacturing paints and chemicals for printing since 2008. This comprehensive combination of services has resulted in a considerable growth in company sales, accompanied by a similar growth in the IT environment, comprising three different customized legacy solutions for ERP, CRM, and WMS. Despite the functional maturity of the IT environment, the speed of development no longer satisfied modern requirements to be able to quickly innovate and support new functionality or new processes. Furthermore, the obsolete technology posed an increasing business risk regarding to continued development. Following an extensive search for a suitable solution to modernize the IT environment, AtéCé chose the Thinkwise low-code platform.
Cees-Jan Rijke, ICT Manager at AtéCé: “We were particularly impressed with Thinkwise after the first presentation. An extraordinarily strong feature of Thinkwise is that you only have to model your entire business application once and that is then supported not only by the current technology but will also be supported by the technology of the future.”
Successful Proof of Value
The AtéCé IT environment has been continually expanded and modified over many years to suit the organization's unique requirements and processes. Due to the considerable number of customizations and the close interdependence of the ERP, CRM, and WMS applications it was extremely difficult to find a suitable IT solution to replace these legacy systems. Cees-Jan examined various traditional software vendors such as Exact and Unit4, but also solutions such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. However, no solution met all of AtéCé's needs without requiring various add-ons and customization. Furthermore, it proved difficult to deviate from the established practices of these software packages.
“Our unique business processes would never fit in a standard solution,” Cees-Jan explains. Jeroen Beukman, Financial Director at AtéCé adds: “Our company philosophy, and strength, is a high degree of flexibility, both internally as well as towards our customers. We would lose that flexibility by transitioning to a standard software package.”
Thinkwise proved to be the perfect solution with a high speed of development, flexibility, and sustainability. Following a first introduction it was quickly decided to start a Proof of Value project, during which Thinkwise modeled a number of applications within a few weeks.
“We wanted to test the limitations of Thinkwise,” says Cees-Jan. “We wanted to see whether it was possible to model three complex components of our system, which included a barcode-scan application, a purchasing analysis program, and a graphical production planning. This was achieved within a few weeks, which gave us a good impression of the power of Thinkwise, and it gave us confidence that it would be a success.”
The modernization of AtéCé's IT solutions is now underway, and we are aiming to complete this project at the start of 2023. This is exceptionally fast for the redevelopment of a system this complex with three custom applications programmed using Unix, and other similar technologies. This high speed of development is partly due to the Thinkwise Upcycler, with which the existing applications can be automatically imported into Thinkwise.
“We are very pleased with the development process, and the cooperation with the Thinkwise experts,” says Cees-Jan. “I have programmed many of the existing applications myself, but I am looking forward to applying my current knowledge and expertise to learn how to work with the Thinkwise Platform.”
The intention is to adhere to the existing functionality and processes of the existing software as much as possible.
“Our people are familiar with the old systems and can work quickly with them, and of course, we want to retain that,” Cees-Jan decides. “But after the first version is completed, we then want to improve the environment and further optimize and digitalize our operational processes. In time, I also want to participate in this process, and I am really looking forward to that.”