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Sometimes, you do not need a catchy headline with dual meaning. Sometimes, the core is so solid and simple it carries the story on its own. That is the case for this story. 

Since the writing of this story, Niels Mørch-Christensen has changed positions. However, that does not change the facts of the story or Tvilum’s approach to the task/project.

This is a story about how an IT collaboration can develop when everything just works out. When financial, skill, technical, and business parameters all align and form a constellation of dedication, loyalty, honesty, and courage. This is when the great strategic collaboration between customer and supplier emerges.   

The Danish furniture manufacturer, Tvilum, has turned its eyes out into the world, in more than one sense. The business is global and the organization is international. However, the world in its physical sense was also an absolute focus. “As a global furniture manufacturer, we are at the pivot point of an important strategic adjustment. We have an outspoken green profile and we want to deliver sustainable furniture at sustainable prices,” Niels Mørch-Christensen, IT Manager at Tvilum, explains and adds: This creates requirements for all aspects of our business and most certainly also for our IT in that it has to support our entire business. Therefore, we need a partner that both understands us and that can provide us with guidance.”

When you make an adjustment, you need to continuously keep up. Therefore, it would be contradictory to say that you ever actually reach the finish line. However, being in the game and on the cutting edge is another matter. “We get help from CO2 neutral computers and most recently, CO2 neutral shipping. That supports our mission. As a company and IT department, we are not where we want to be, but we are making great headway at getting there,” Niels says.

Bringing along a Collaboration

It is a fact that a great collaboration tends to be tied to great relationships and networks. That also applies to our collaboration with Tvilum. ”I have brought the collaboration with them along with me from my former places of employment. I have had a long-standing strategic collaboration with them and I have now transferred that to Tvilum,” Niels says. “I am focused on the digitalization of the company and this is where our own talented specialists will team up with their talented specialists and then the magic happens. They are great at selecting the right people for the tasks and at maintaining focus on the task at hand”.

Once again, Niels emphasizes that IT on its own is not the core of the collaboration. “They support us in our ideas of where we want to be. They help us by supporting our global strategy. That is very critical. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the communication was the key to our success. There is a big difference between communicating and just providing information. They have truly grasped that difference. I get the feeling that many companies focus on the software prices and the hardware. However, we focus on a great collaboration to ensure that we are in sync through the journey. It also helps that they know what they are good at and they dare to say no if something is not their area of expertise.”

Keeping the Focus on IT

Keeping a constant focus on strategic efforts, there is of course another constant focus on IT and the technical side. There are many tasks and they are all different in nature, Niels indicates. “Among other things, we use them for the slightly bigger infrastructure projects, but we also use them for knowledge-sharing quite often. We bring the best out in each other and that generates results,” he says and adds: “Naturally, we have projects with clients, PC’s, and virtual meeting rooms, but in the server room and in the operations aspect of things, you will truly see the magic unfold. Not too long ago, we went through an efficiency upgrade of our server room during which they helped us switch to a hybrid setup. Previously, we would have been defined more as on premises, with the exception of our Office 365.” Through this, Niels also explains that the technical side is one thing, but the understanding and insight of the older systems that are not suitable for the cloud at the onset, is something completely different. “What distinguishes them from the rest is that they understood our need. In a project such as this, they arrived with a few employees who understood Tvilum’s strategy and they made everything efficient and relatable. Others who bid on this project rolled in with big heavy-hitting teams.”


HPE Aruba and the Good Network

The same scenario occurred when Tvilum’s large manufacturing facility needed to roll out a secure network. “Through our journey, we have outgrown our existing Wi-Fi and network solutions and the new choice became HPE Aruba which edgemo (now Danoffice IT) were very good at. We needed to tie our production facilities together on one network solution made ready for the future. We are talking more than 200,000 m2, and the answer to this was HPE Aruba,” he says. “What was so wonderful about a project like this is that it does not flow through me. In our organization, we have clearly defined roles so in this instance, HPE Aruba, edgemo (now Danoffice IT), and our own network specialists all took the ball and scored the goal. At that point, it is less important whether it involved HPE Aruba 305, 365, and 7005’s, even though that is all great equipment. The excellent process and the measurable value of a completed installation are what matter most.”

Excellent View

Organization and roles are Niels’ top skillsets. As the IT Manager, he has the overall responsibility for the digitalization and cyber security of the company and he distributes the relevant knowledge to management and the board of directors. “I am responsible for making sure that three teams in our IT department are running smoothly and this is where our knowledge-sharing with them has played a key role,” he confirms. “I expect that we know 80-90% in any area of expertise. The last percentages we will buy our way to and then when the job is done, we get even smarter ourselves. That said, I do expect that every person in our IT department spends a whole day a month on knowledge-building. Therefore, we also have quite a few updated skills in-house.”

Headlights On

Modern IT moves fast. A few years ago, IT projects, including the contracts, were often heavy and locked in for several years which could lead to many unwillingly and constantly being behind on the progress of IT. The trend of leaning towards a far more agile way of viewing IT, is one that Niels and Tvilum have adopted for quite some time. “We place our focus on strategic collaboration and we view things in the long term. They do as well. Together, we continuously take smaller steps because then, we will hit the partial goals without becoming outdated. It is all fine and well to have an expensive product delivered, but if it does not suit us in three years, we are no further along,” Niels Mørch-Christiansen, IT Manager, Tvilum A/S, concludes.  

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