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Con-Form

Con-Form embraces the cloud with Visolit as its partner 

Con-Form is a Nordic group that delivers and assembles raw construction and production materials. It produces concrete in its six factories in Norway and Sweden. The concrete elements will then be assembled in large blocks for raw buildings.

“Con-Form is a subcontractor for large contractors such as JM, Veidekke, Skanska, AF, Consto and more. We deliver apartment buildings and some hotels and commercial buildings,” says Hans Magnus Wold, Chief Digital Officer at Con-Form. “In addition, we produce cover and wall elements, balconies, stairs and other ‘helprefab’ elements. Our factories and contractor units work closely together.”

In Norway Con-Form operates mainly in two regions: Southeast Norway and Trøndelag. 

“Con-Form employs around 120 salaried employees who work as project managers, accountants and sales staff,” says Wold. “We also have a lot of operational personnel in our factories and bases, as well as assembly managers on our construction sites. All of our users have data hosted by Visolit.” 

Con-Form and Visolit make good strategic partners 

Con-Form’s and Visolit’s relationship started in 2008, when Visolit still was known as Doorway. Wold has been involved since the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system was delivered and operations was moved to terminal servers. Doorway became TeleComputing in 2018, which then became Visolit. The relationship has now lasted for 12 years. 

At the time the terminal server environment was upgraded. The reason was not only to give everyone a common place to work with files, but also to provide a single unit to manage all systems, including the accounting system. 

Now the delivery consists of cloud services, terminal servers, Office 365, total user and license packages and IT operations. Visolit also provides service desk functions, but Con-Form performs some user support itself.

“At Con-Form we have just one IT employee,” says Wold. “As a small organization, we focus on buying services from others. IT operations are not our core business, so we need someone we can trust, someone who delivers functional and modern systems and who knows our business well through having worked with us over time. We chose to continue with Visolit due to our good relationship. I would like to bring forward our customer contact, Ruben Hansen, who has worked hard to constantly improve our business. Visolit provides great value with proactive customer contact, and prioritizes customer success, which is by no means a given.”  

Read more: Realise the full promise of the cloud – build an infrastructure for the future. 
 

The cloud as an opportunity for Con-Form 

Con-Form now has all Microsoft Office services, such as Mail, Exchange Online, Teams, Sharepoint and OneDrive. 

“We have the whole package, plus terminal servers on Visolit Cloud, and we use Project for planning,” says Wold. “By using the cloud, we have been able to further develop and innovate. Digitalization of the company has been going on for a long time, since the construction industry is going through a big change with building information modelling (BIM), apps, 3D modeling, and so on. And this is in an industry that traditionally has lagged quite far behind.” 

“The core of innovation,” he continues, “is everything related to your user, such as your email and your basic work tools. It has value in itself and is continuously updated. In an Office 365 world, you will not notice that you are upgraded - you just are. Everyone is automatically updated, everything we have is always updated, without users experiencing updates as an obstacle or delay.” 

Wold says there has been rapid development in the security area and stresses the importance of having a partner that always focuses on security.

“A lot has happened, and if you are going to use cloud solutions, you have to focus even more on security because you are more exposed, but you are also more exposed by default because those who try to attack you become more sophisticated. Being up to date on security is more important than ever. It is crucial to have a solid security-oriented partner that is always up to date. And we have found the knowledge in Visolit.”

For an IT manager, it is important that systems not only work, but that they are updated and ready for upcoming features. It frees up time for strategy, digitalization and business development. 

“This presupposes a good partner and supplier, who in addition to having updated services also have the ability to provide sound advice, something we have in our customer manager Ruben Hansen at Visolit.” 

“Visolit is a good link between us as a customer and opportunities out there. Between Microsoft’s solutions and identifying what is relevant and important to us, Visolit’s customer team supports us well.”  

Visolit's customer manager, Ruben Hansen, also praises the collaboration with Con-Form. 

“Con-Form shows a high level of trust in us, and the interaction flows very well. Both parties are solution-oriented, proactive and focus on the entirety of the delivery. Con-Form challenges Visolit with a pleasant, constructive and welcoming tone, which puts us in an excellent position to be open and honest in our communication and are able to present solution proposals that we believe provide the most value for Con-Form.”

As an IT manager, it is also important to show strategic understanding and the ability to really implement solutions.

“We have had significant reductions in fixed costs,” says Wold. “And yet at the same time, we have ensured the clean-up of users. Previously, we’ve had other suppliers to help support and setup new PCs, but now it's much easier because we have Managed Cloud Client, where you just enter your username and then you are done and ready to work. The cost we had associated with this in the past is now gone, and we like it! Visolit helps us to find the best solution and is open in dialogue with us. This leads to cost savings, and therefore makes the IT Manager much more integral, even to our business strategy.” 
 

Read more: Build resilient infrastructure shielded from threats. 
 

Visolit’s fast cloud delivery during the pandemic 


"In spring 2019, we renewed our contract with Visolit,” says Wold. “This resulted in migrating everything to the cloud, which was well managed by Visolit as a supplier. The project was about structuring Con-Form’s strategic choice - to migrate to the cloud. That turned out to be quite a prescient move because when the pandemic reached us, we were able to speed up the project.”

“The week before the coronavirus swept over Norway,” he continues, “we had begun the migration of some employees to the cloud. In March, things happened faster than ever. We soon realized that we should speed up our plans, and set up all users quickly. All users were up and running by 22 March.” 

“In the end, we got everyone onto the cloud very quickly, which showed what we are capable of delivering. It was important for Con-Form to be able to deliver even when Norway was locked down. There were crash courses in Teams, and our employees showed an enormous willingness to handle change, embracing new ways of working and new tools. Teams quickly became a favorite, and now people have completely forgotten how it was before! It's much better now. Previously, we had spent many months replacing programs. When the pandemic hit, we could implement Teams in two days.” 

Now, Con-Form is better equipped than ever to face future challenges, thanks to good preparation and good cooperation with suppliers and employees. 

“Everyone adapted to the new tools pretty fast,” adds Wold. “The key was good information, being available for questions and listening - all of which Visolit has done.” 

Wold also praises Visolit’s project manager Håkon Jonassen for both his help with the migration and his problem-solving skills. 

“Even though there were many loose ends to tie up for both Visolit and customers, Håkon made sure that this went smoothly. He made sure that, I as an IT manager, was confident that everything went as it should.”  

Wold then took the job of being the contact point for everyone in Con-Form, so the high-level collaboration with Visolit contributed to this going smoothly. 

“In projects like this, it is important to remember that there is a lot of effort coming from both customer and supplier. It’s important to maintain stability and a hands-on attitude throughout, because someone must be the link to the external organization. We have gained a lot of experience with this project, particularly around communication - that it is important for all parties to keep each other informed about any and all events, to follow up along the way, share video and training materials, and so on. Then, you have something to refer to when employees have questions. You have to take the bull by the horns.” 

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