It is already difficult to modernize an IT department. But what if one also has to deal with an international takeover, the merging of a fragmented work environment and systems that contain defense-sensitive data? Cegeka helped Fokker Technologies with this very complex challenge.
Fokker is without a doubt the biggest name in Dutch aircraft construction history. The company built many classic aircraft in the last century, the most famous example being the Fokker F27 ‘Friendship’, for a long time the best-selling Western European turboprop passenger aircraft ever.
Unfortunately, the curtain fell for the aircraft manufacturer in 1996, but a relaunch was made under the name Fokker Technologies, and today the company still supplies aircraft parts. For example, for the F-35, better known as the Joint Strike Fighter.
This also creates additional IT complexity. National security requires that access to the defense-sensitive data on Fokker Technologies’ systems is strictly monitored. This was just one of the many challenges associated with modernizing and centralizing the work environment.
In addition, there was, for example, the takeover of the British industrial comrade GKN Aerospace, which formed the basis for the task. Through the acquisition, Fokker became part of a global conglomerate, which operates with 15,000 employees from 40 locations in 16 countries and 3 continents.
During the merger, the IT departments of four Fokker subsidiaries were quickly merged, but there was still a fragmented work environment: Each Fokker company had its own IT infrastructure, workstations and applications.
That had to change. Given the complexity of the problem, Jan van de Erve, IT Business Partner at Fokker Technologies, quickly realized that it would be better to engage a specialized party.
“We are an aircraft manufacturer, not an IT company,” says Van de Erve. “We keep a close eye on trends in IT, but it will never be our core business. If you want to add value to your business from IT, it is of great importance that you work with a specialized IT partner who can help your company with the latest solutions. ”
This was Cegeka. “In previous projects, Cegeka has proven that they have the right answers to our questions,” says Van de Erve. “They think with you. If there is a problem, they respond quickly and come up with an appropriate solution.”
“We no longer have a supplier relationship, but have really become partners,” he adds. “Cegeka knows our people and our culture. It helps a lot in the collaboration. ”
IT professionals thoroughly screened
The IT service provider helped Fokker thoroughly review its outdated, decentralized Dutch IT environment. Due to the work that the airline performs for the defense, Cegeka’s seconded IT staff had to be thoroughly screened.
Van de Erve: “We supply both civilian and defense products. Compliance plays a big role in this. Due to laws and regulations, we are not allowed to allow just anyone to enter our systems.”
The complexity is saved
After Cegeka’s design for the audit was approved, the IT specialist’s engineers were able to begin implementation. The ambition was to create unity in the work environment and ensure that all applications are accessible everywhere.
“Cegeka knows our people and our culture. It helps a lot in the collaboration. ”
This required some adjustments to the networks, firewalls, applications and of course the workstations themselves. After 100 pilot users had been transferred to the new, central work environment, the other 3,000 employees followed. Each of them got a new account. The operating system was also updated from Windows 7 to Windows 10.
When it came to a rather complex project, it also saved Fokker Technologies a lot of complexity.
For example, any central change from GKN without a central workplace would have had to be implemented separately on each company. Applications should be built and tested in the four separate environments, and the administration environments and backend systems should be upgraded separately.
Aviation of the future
Free of this complexity and thanks to the update, Fokker’s strength and productivity have been given a big boost, says Cegeka. The new working environment will also form the new starting point for the many technological developments that await us in the coming years.
Cegeka points to ‘Industry 4.0’, the new technological era in which machines, employees and systems will increasingly be connected.
Against this background, Cegeka and Fokker are already jointly investigating the possibilities for implementing Office 365 and a migration to the cloud, to the extent that the compliance rules allow this.
In any case, Van de Erve is already looking forward to the future. “The aviation industry faces exciting challenges. Flying on electricity, flying on hydrogen. That means different engines, lighter materials. As Fokker, we look forward to making a major contribution to this. ”
He also sees an important role for Cegeka in this. “IT must create the conditions for this. I am convinced that together with Cegeka we can continue to achieve great success and thus continue to build the aviation of the future. ”