The way people work today is undergoing a fundamental change. Work and office environments are changing as a result of digitalization, new leadership, organizational cultures and the growing importance of the home office. One company that has been shaping this change for a long time is the Austrian Bene Group. The international office expert is specialized in furnishing modern office and work environments. Bene develops innovative concepts with high design quality and provides tailormade solutions for all sizes of companies — from start-ups to mediumsized businesses and global corporations.
Bene’s company history goes back well over 200 years. The company originally emerged from a joinery founded in 1790. But today Bene is anything but a traditional company. The manufacturer relies on agile methods and lean, order-driven just-in-time production that can be quickly adapted to changing market and customer requirements.
“End-to-end digitalized processes with highly flexible data organization are a key prerequisite for our strategy,” explains Joerg Baumgartner, CIO at Bene GmbH. “This is the only way we are able to offer our customers such a varied product range at competitive costs”.
The digital “customer journey” begins with the first consultation. Thanks to state-of-the-art planning software with support for virtual reality and augmented reality, customers can get an early idea of their future office environment and take a virtual look around the planned rooms. As soon as the order is signed, all necessary data is transferred to production planning and production starts. In just-in-time production, all work processes are highly automated and connected — even beyond the company’s borders: many of Bene’s suppliers are also integrated into the order and production process via digital interfaces.
“Consistent digitalization at all levels also means for us that without a functioning IT system, our production comes to a standstill very quickly,” says Baumgartner. “If a critical application were to fail for more than 24 hours, there would already be noticeable delays in delivery and loss of sales”.
Bene must therefore ensure that all important IT resources for development, design and production are available without interruption if possible — not only at the headquarters in Waidhofen an der Ybbs, but also in the more than 20 other branches worldwide. The company was therefore looking for a powerful backup solution that would reliably protect the company’s digital processes. The software previously used for this purpose could no longer keep pace with the growing requirements.
After evaluating different solution variants, Bene decided to use Veeam® Backup & Replication™. “The overall package convinced us from the very beginning”, reports Baumgartner. “Veeam combines in one solution all the functions we need for the simple and reliable backup and recovery of our workloads. It not only allows us to maximize the availability of our IT resources, but also to significantly reduce our operational expenses”.
Bene initially implemented Veeam Backup & Replication as a backup solution for its virtualized infrastructure based on VMware vSphere. Today, more than 200 virtual machines with a total volume of around 160 terabytes are delivered with high availability using this solution. In addition to the systems in the two main data centers in Waidhofen, this includes data and applications from all other company locations. These are regularly transferred to Waidhofen and backed up there with Veeam Backup & Replication.
With this solution, Bene ensures that all employees always have access to their business applications. Should the planning software fail, for example, the IT organization can restart the affected virtual machine directly from the backup. Veeam’s Instant VM Recovery® technology reduces the recovery time from hours to minutes, ensuring that Bene employees can resume their work very quickly. Accidentally deleted files or folders on file servers can be made available again in no time.
The new solution also makes work easier for Bene’s IT experts. Many processes related to data backup have been automated with Veeam. For example, manual backup and recovery tests are no longer necessary — Veeam’s SureBackup® technology continuously checks the recoverability of backed-up IT resources in the background. “This alone saves us many hours of work every month,” confirms Baumgartner. “At the same time, the detailed reports give us the certainty that all backup jobs have really been successful”.
Bene therefore soon extended the Veeam solution to the remaining physical servers. Today, the company’s central Oracle cluster is also backed up with Veeam technology. Depending on this system is, among other things, the technical configuration software that generates the digital parts, lists and work plans. A failure would quickly bring furniture production to a standstill. The Veeam solution, on the other hand, guarantees smooth, secure operation. The IT department is thus able to create transaction-consistent backups of the Oracle cluster and reset the database to a specific point in time if necessary.
“It is a great advantage for us that we do not have to operate different backup solutions for physical and virtual IT,” says the CIO. “With Veeam we now have a central solution to protect our digital business processes from planning, to production and logistics and to bring the availability of all applications to a higher level”.
Bene therefore also relied on the support of Veeam for the introduction of Microsoft Office 365. Around 550 office users in the group now use services such as Exchange Online, OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Teams for their daily work. All data stored in the Microsoft cloud is automatically backed up with Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 in Bene’s data center. Should important e-mails or documents in the cloud be accidentally deleted, IT can restore them at any time using the familiar functions of Veeam.
“Especially since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft’s cloud services have played an important role in virtual collaboration at Bene,” reports Baumgartner. “Users can use them to communicate and exchange information with internal and external contacts very easily, even in the home office. But location-independent working must not be at the expense of data security. This is why we decided to use Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365. It gives us full control over our data and allows us to decide where and for how long we want to keep it”.
Bene is a specialist in the design and furnishing of modern office and work environments. The company defines the office as living space and convincingly implements this with its concepts, products and services. More than 230 awards in recent years underline Bene’s design and innovation competence. The international office expert with headquarters and production in Waidhofen an der Ybbs/Austria is represented in over 40 countries with its own showrooms and a selected dealer network. As a strong brand, Bene stands for innovative concepts, inspiring offices as well as high design quality and product functionality.
In the ultra-modern production hall in Waidhofen, Bene manufactures around 600,000 individual pieces of furniture and 35,000 running meters of wall systems every year. Customers can choose from a variety of design options. The company relies on highly available IT applications to control its flexible just-in-time production. Only in this way can the agreed delivery dates be reliably met.