"Sentis has risen to the occasion time and time again. No helpdesk request is too small or too complex, and Sentis’ staff not only understand our IT requirements but don’t ever speak in jargon."
Fluenta, a global leader in flare gas meters, servicing many of the world’s oil rigs and refineries, often in some of the world’s most challenging environments. Fluenta understood that leading the way with innovative technical change in their industry would require an IT partner that could step up to the plate and deliver a solution that worked for every function across the business, wherever they may be located.
With offices in Cambridge, the USA and Poland, alongside a far-reaching remote workforce across the Middle East, Europe and South-East Asia, the business’ needs of an IT infrastructure had to be more robust and stable than most.
Julian Dudley-Smith, Supply Chain Director at Fluenta, explains: “Fluenta was essentially acting as three independent businesses operating in three different countries, running across multiple systems and with an infrastructure that wasn’t as scalable as we needed it to be.”
Fluenta has previously been provided with a multifaceted IT infrastructure, comprising of an inappropriately assessed cloud-based ERP server, in house servers and networks which were optimised for group level activities. The company also relied on other software, such as Salesforce, as well as Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint, to fulfil all of its business requirements.
Combining all of these services into one managed solution was proving to be a challenge. Julian elaborates: “The company that provided the original cloud IT services hadn’t thoroughly assessed the requirements our business might have in the future, which resulted in a provision that ultimately didn’t meet our needs.
“Sentis, and Neil Homer in particular, took the time to understand our requirements when it came to setting up appropriate cloud solutions. We were impressed with their pragmatic approach to designing a robust and scalable solution. We’d spoken to other providers during this process but Sentis was the only one that came up with an honest and fair commercial offering.”
Neil Homer, Sentis’ Director, commented: “Working with Fluenta on their requirements was a pleasure. Right from the beginning they knew their challenges and they knew what they wanted from an IT platform.
“By taking a ‘do it once, do it right’ approach, we designed and implemented a custom Hybrid Cloud solution, which combined the best of the Microsoft Cloud and Office 365 with Private Cloud and custom integration technologies. The result is a fully managed Desktop as a Service solution, with a seamless user experience (UX) across both laptop and remote desktop.”
Sentis Managed Solutions managed the migration of SYSPRO ERP to the new cloud hosting environment.
Cloud hosting offered real-time access to critical data, designs and engineer’s notes, which has proven invaluable to Fluenta’s growing business demands.
Fluenta has three offices – in Houston, Cambridge and Gdansk – and approximately half of the workforce travels one to five times a month. Furthermore, the company’s service engineers spend up to 80% of their time travelling to sites. This meant that access to the latest designs, notes and job information at any time was a critical factor in ensuring that Fluenta’s engineers could complete a job successfully.
Delving further under the hood, Sentis provided a bespoke package that met the needs of Fluenta’s remote workforce and, in particular, their engineers. Julian elaborates: “When our engineers are out doing the commissioning and installation of our products, which could be anywhere in the world on an oil rig or platform, they need access to updated plans and drawings. They’re relying on drawings, designs and information that might not be the most up-to-date, which is a huge risk to successfully delivering our projects.
“Sentis came up with a fantastic solution for this which enabled continuous synchronisation between identified files, the shared servers and individuals’ local drives. Every time an engineer logs off, there’s a backup made of their live files, meaning that they always have access to updated technical drawings from a central database.”
Fluenta also noticed an opportunity to further strengthen its delivery process by both streamlining data entry and stronger working practices.
“One of the things we wanted of our new ERP was the ability to join offices together and automate some of our processes”, Julian adds. “We had an issue where the different offices weren’t communicating exceptionally well, and we had multiple datasets stored in different places. What we wanted was something that we came to refer to as the single version of the truth, with one source of data using a hybrid cloud solution for us to work as one international business.
“It allowed multiple staff in different locations to work to a standardised process, which has been very well received by our workforce. Whereas we’d previously run into issues where the three different offices would end up quoting three different prices for the same job, this standardisation has transformed the business in terms of working cohesively as a worldwide business.”
With the system now fully functional, Sentis continues to provide ongoing platform management and support services to Fluenta. Martin Philips, Fluenta’s Marketing Manager, adds: “As we’ve now moved from the implementation phase to having a managed service, Sentis has risen to the occasion time and time again. No helpdesk request is too small or too complex, and Sentis’ staff not only understand our IT requirements but don’t ever speak in jargon.”
For Julian, it was an important project to get right: “We hadn’t anticipated quite how much Sentis really understood what we wanted and what we required in order to achieve a unilateral, sturdy infrastructure. Having this platform has been nothing less than transformational for our business.”