Liquit as a strategic tool

Verhoek Transport

Verhoek Europe renews datacenter and workspace with Liquit

Verhoek Europe wanted a future-proof infrastructure, standardized, and centralized with workplace independence for all employees. A group of employees were testing Liquit   when Covid-19 changed the world in March 2020. By accelerating the rollout of the platform, Verhoek Europe employees were able to efficiently do their work from home as if they were in the office.

Verhoek Europe was founded in 1953. The family business started with the transport of reeds and rushes and then specialized in the carpet industry. Meanwhile, Verhoek Europe has developed into a professional and versatile international service provider. With a total of thirteen branches, they are active throughout almost all of Europe. In addition to roller transport, Verhoek Europe has expanded its activities and is a specialist when it comes to warehousing and the transport of long goods such as industrial doors and awnings. The fleet consists of 425 trucks and 550 trailers. The organization is currently under the leadership of the third generation which proudly and passionately use all their knowledge, experience, and equipment to make service provision as simple as possible for everyone.

IT supports mission

Rudy Selles, IT Manager at Verhoek Europe: “In order to realize Verhoek’s future strategy, our IT platform needed to be addressed so that it could support our ambitions. In an internal IT session, we defined two subprojects. The first project was related to the outdated data center infrastructure. This had to be replaced by a new environment, and the data center had to become future proof. The second project focused on workspace independence; personal work environments had to be available anywhere, anytime and from any device. Within our company, everyone was still working on an individually installed PC; there was hardly any standardization”. Martijn Dunnink, System Administrator explains: “The existing platform had performance issues. It was used for application virtualization but was not suitable for providing a complete work environment for the users”. “Based on the three starting points, working centrally, virtual workstations and uniformity, we started looking for a solution,” continues Rudy. “Roughly 90% of our company consists of ‘transactional employees’ and 10% of employees who need an IT environment that is more customized. We wanted everyone to eventually ‘land’ on the same central environment”.

In connection with the specific knowledge in the field of workspace design, Verhoek Europe entered into conversations with Netflex. During an inspiration session it was agreed to set up a proof of concept based on remote desktop services from Microsoft. Liquit was added to the demo environment as the ‘glue’, to also improve the ability to work from home and to create a central work environment for employees. “Liquit helps us to realize our strategic principles”.

Liquit as a strategic tool

Verhoek Europe opted for a hybrid solution consisting of a small  VMware environment for power users and remote desktop services from Microsoft. Liquit Workspace in combination with Liquit Release & Patch Management functions as the strategic platform on this landscape. FSLogix has been chosen for profile management. Setting up the demo environment was done in one morning. “The Liquit software was installed on the server within fifteen minutes and then we started testing with a test user,” says Martijn.

The complete project started at the end of February and in March, part of it ‘ran’ on four hosts. “When Covid-19 made sure that we had to work from home as much as possible in March, we accelerated the rollout of the platform,” says Martijn. “We transferred as many people as possible to the platform and started experimenting with Liquit. People who do very specific work could now do it from home via Liquit. The flexibility of Liquit in the workspace is unbelievable. It does everything we wanted, even more. With the help of Liquit we were able to get a lot of people to work from home very quickly”.

“We started to give a large part of our customer service employees the opportunity to work from home and was soon followed by employees from other departments. When the initial chaos had subsided a bit, we expanded the capacity of the platform and started making more applications available. Netflex advised us to introduce roll-based access: meaning that based on someone’s role, a set of applications is necessary and that determines whether a user can use standard Remote Desktop Services or has specific requirements and therefore needs a personal environment based on VMware. Liquit gives us the flexibility to deal with these distinct roles when it comes to the platform and set of applications. We take care of everything, such as specific settings for applications. Users don’t notice anything, the software itself is very user friendly”.

Verhoek now has 80 to 90 ‘concurrent connections’; users who are active at the same time daily. There are 190 people in total who have access to the platform. Martijn: “Liquit Workspace is simple and accessible on the management side, applications can be delivered quickly. When you create an application, you are dealing with a so-called “swim lane”. That means a process from development to test to acceptance to production. You can quickly restore a previous version; a user presses a button and is back to the earlier situation. If something goes wrong in the phase from test to production, you can easily go back to the old version. That is what we like, software that does things differently from the established order. That is very powerful”.

Further refinement and development

“We were delighted with the strategic choice we had made earlier,” says Rudy. “Liquit has helped us incredibly, otherwise it wouldn’t have been possible for our employees to work from home. The accelerated roll-out of the platform has been at the expense of further refinement, but we are now working on that”.

With Liquit Workspace, the new implementation offers a uniform interface and a lot of flexibility. Martijn: “With Liquit we want to offer users even more self-service. If something does not work, they can solve it themselves in a few steps (without a helpdesk). Sometimes an application does not work in our network. That is possible because we have locations all over Europe. If there is no response, Liquit closes the application and restarts it, which is much nicer for the user. We have also been able to drastically reduce the logon times with FSLogix. It does not matter which server you end up on, you can continue where you left off. This is an addition to the full project thing, where it normally took from first click to fully loaded 30 seconds to a minute, it now takes 8 seconds”.