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USG People

Cloud Scalability to Complement Industry Functionality

USG People Netherlands is one of the nation’s leading Human Resources services providers. Its numerous brands include Start People, Unique, ASA, USG Engineering, Technicum, USG Professionals and Secretary Plus. Its client base operates across a wide number of sectors – from government to technology; logistics to small and medium enterprises. 

When it became clear that the company needed a high performant, future-ready, IT infrastructure, USG People began searching for a reliable solutions provider to help them migrate their entire suite of services to the cloud.

However, with a previous provider unable to migrate the environment they’d already established, USG People faced a dilemma: their entire staffing software platform needed to go live in just 8 weeks. Along with the migration was the need to support thousands of users each day, and process 20,000 pay slips every week; the pressure was on to find a capable managed services provider who could deliver the capacity, speed, security, and scalability that the business needed.

“What is unique about the service that SaaSplaza provides is the combination of Navision and Azure knowledge and expertise. This was the golden combination that our previous provider couldn’t offer and why we ultimately chose SaaSplaza.”- Hetty Braam, IT Manager, USG People

The Challenge

USG People helps more than 100,000 people per year in the Netherlands to find and secure employment opportunities. 

As part of a technology overhaul, USG People was in the process of adopting Mysolution staffing software – essentially the task was to replace costly siloed applications into one integrated staffing software solution, so that USG People could digitize all business processes and improve efficiency of all 1,500 of its skilled staffing agents within Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Navision).

While a number of its business units were actively using Mysolution, to deploy it at scale, broaden overall capacity, provide proper efficiency, and easily accommodate thousands of users each day without issue, USG People knew there was an urgency to partner with an Expert Managed Services Provider to migrate their servers to the cloud. 

Microsoft Azure was the obvious choice. Not only would it allow USG People to accelerate their digital ambitions, they’d also be able to offer a best-in-class experience for both customers and candidates – helping USG People drive more profits too. 

However, the current managed services provider did not have the essential Microsoft NAV in combination of Azure cloud capabilities to provide a 99.9% uptime guarantee. They needed a global services provider that had a proven track record with managing Dynamics NAV environments on Microsoft Azure. This was proving difficult as many providers either specialized in one or the other. 

In terms of technical requirements, there was a necessity to migrate the production environments from the current business units from one managed service provider to another in just eight weeks and to scale up to 1,500 concurrent users in Microsoft Dynamics. This means that testing, validating, and sign off would need to be completed within this incredibly short timeframe, especially given the project’s scale. 

With a large number of users waiting, go-live dates being postponed for the previous 9 months, and the fact USG People need to process about 20,000 salary slips every week, time was very much of the essence. Therefore, there was virtually no slack to defy the final go-live date.

The Solution

USG People turned to SaaSplaza to make sure everything happened on time, on budget, and in the way that it was supposed to.

After a series of discovery workshops to better understand their landscape, SaaSplaza began to create a time-critical deployment methodology to ensure USG People’s deadline could be met. 

By introducing Azure DevOps, SaaSplaza was able to give USG People additional functionality they didn't have before – including the ability to increase capacity according to the number of users, reduce the amount of time taken to troubleshoot real-time data, and speed up other aspects of USG People’s systems and its governance and security. The first step was to design a cloud native architecture for Microsoft Dynamics NAV on Microsoft Azure, before deploying Azure SQL Databases, a Dynamics NAV Service Tier auto-scaling set, and Microsoft Azure Web Apps with Azure DevOps service.

The key to SaaSplaza’s approach with its CloudCARE service: a combination of industry-leading tools, experience and expertise, international compliance standards, and a proven four-stage methodology: 

  1. Assessment & Design 

  2. Deployment

  3. Operation & Support 

  4. Continuous Improvement 

With Azure DevOps, more time was taken to design and deploy the first Mysolution test environment compared to what you would anticipate in using the traditional methods without DevOps. This approach prevented more problems from occurring when the project actually went live, ensured that the performance guarantees were in place, and that the test environments used had watertight security and stability. However, the main advantage was that Azure DevOps allowed SaaSplaza to deploy new Non-Production and Production environments with consistent quality in just four hours, instead of multiple days.

The Result 

By choosing SaaSplaza, USG People ensured their most important and business-critical applications had solid security, were high performant, and had 24/7 global support.

In addition to expertise and skills, teamwork and collaboration were also fundamental to the project’s success. Once a week, both project teams would sit together and solve problems, helping make the single largest IT project in the history of USG People, thanks to SaaSplaza, a complete success.

Ultimately SaaSplaza provided USG People with a seamless transition and peace of mind. They slept better at night knowing the team was hard at work arranging and fixing things. SaaSplaza continues to successfully manage USG People’s Mysolution Navision environment on Azure.