Today, the distinctive Baumit logo can be seen on construction sites all throughout Europe. The Baumit Group supplies its customers with a wide range of high-quality building materials, from exterior plaster to wall paint for interior finishing, in 25 countries. Sustainability and environmental protection are top priorities for Baumit. When developing new products, Baumit always pursues the goal of creating healthy and energy-efficient living spaces. To this end, the group operates its own research park, where the impact of building materials on indoor climate and living quality are studied from a scientific perspective.
“The building materials industry is actually a rather conservative sector. But in recent years, the pace of innovation has accelerated enormously, especially due to digitization,” said Thomas Wöhrer, CIO of the Baumit Group. “Even though it was common to order building materials by phone or fax until just recently, the trend is now clearly moving toward digital procurement through business to business (B2B) platforms and mobile apps. As Baumit’s IT organization, we are creating the right conditions for this.”
Previously, IT at Baumit was largely organized on a decentralized basis. Their individual subsidiaries and national companies operated core applications like ERP software on their own. Only certain services like Microsoft Exchange were centrally available. As part of their new digitization strategy, Baumit is now introducing a central ERP system for their entire corporation and setting up EDI interfaces for data exchange with customers and suppliers. In addition, Baumit’s IT organization is supplying all sites with predefined solutions for their online stores, mobile applications and digital customer workflows.
Microsoft Office 365 is now used as the digital workplace solution for the Baumit Group’s 2,800 IT users.
“We had already started the changeover at the end of 2019 and implemented it faster than planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Wöhrer. “However, we also needed a secure backup solution for this. We use Microsoft Office 365 services to manage business documents, some of which are very sensitive. So, from the very beginning we had to make sure that these documents were backed up reliably and were protected against data loss.”
Baumit evaluated three different backup solutions for Microsoft Office 365 and ultimately decided on Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365.
“The Veeam solution was able to meet our requirements best; we were particularly convinced by its ease-of-use and granular recovery options,” said Wöhrer. “What’s more, we had known and appreciated the manufacturer for many years. We use Veeam Backup & Replication to back up our entire virtual server infrastructure, which consists of a total of over 350 VMs based on VMware vSphere.”
Baumit implemented Veeam together with their Microsoft Office 365 services. In the first step, Baumit made Microsoft Teams and OneDrive for Business available to their users. All data that was stored in the Microsoft cloud is now also automatically backed up in Baumit’s data center and is stored there for the long term.
“The free choice of storage location was very important to us,” said Wöhrer. “We wanted to be able to decide for ourselves whether we wanted to back up our data to Azure, AWS or our on-premises infrastructure. Unlike other manufacturers, Veeam gives us this option. “
With Veeam, Baumit has full control over the security of their Office 365 data. The value of this technology can be seen, for example, in the company’s use of OneDrive for Business. Baumit replaced its existing filesharing solution with OneDrive and now uses the Microsoft solution for the secure exchange of documents with internal and external contacts. Time and again, users would accidentally delete documents in OneDrive for Business. Microsoft only keeps these files in the OneDrive recycle bin for a few days before they are permanently deleted. On the other hand, with Veeam, IT can find and recover even older deleted files within minutes.
The new solution proved its worth particularly under the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When around 1,000 of our employees had to work from home on short notice, we could be sure that their data was secure, no matter where they were working from,” said Wöhrer. “It was one less thing we had to worry about.”
Meanwhile, securing Microsoft Teams data also plays an increasingly important role for Baumit. The company is currently using Microsoft Power Apps to set up several workflows that are directly integrated into Microsoft Teams. Among other things, the entire process of creating new products is now mapped digitally. From the initial request by a sales representative, through the various development and release stages, to the publication of the article number, all work steps are included. The Veeam solution backs up all chats and documents in these workflows, helping to bring new products to market faster.
From the CIO’s point of view, the digital transformation at Baumit is currently picking up speed.
“Our employees are discovering what is possible with Microsoft Office 365. We are now rolling out SharePoint Online as a central information and knowledge platform as well as preparing the switch to Exchange Online,” said Wöhrer. “Thanks to Veeam, we can approach these projects in a relaxed manner; after all, the backup concept for protecting our data is already in place.”
Baumit is one of Europe’s bestknown and most successful building material brands. Headquartered in Austria, the Baumit Group offers a comprehensive and innovative range of products, from facades, plasters and screeds to products for gardens and area design, plus solutions for interior construction. Today, Baumit consists of 45 different companies across 25 countries. Over 4,300 employees currently generate annual sales of over 1.3 billion euros.
The digitization of business processes at Baumit has accelerated enormously, which was driven by new market requirements, but also by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, the Baumit introduced Microsoft Office 365 into their environment as a digital workplace solution for around 2,800 users. Baumit therefore needed a solution to reliably protect sensitive company data while using cloud services.