„I am fully convinced of Microsoft 365 / Office 365 and our corporate group benefits from this high-performance platform for information management. With Shareflex ECM Online we have a flexible and efficient ECM and document management system that integrates seamlessly with Office 365. I am thrilled by the very user-friendly interfaces (Modern UI technology) and the easily configurable workflows.“
The Feddersen Group
With six divisions and more than 30 subsidiaries, the Feddersen Group is excellently positioned globally and in various industries. Around 1,100 employees worldwide work every day to ensure the continued success of the entire Group. Its expertise includes the distribution of polymers in Europe and Asia as well as foreign trade in chemical and technical products. The Group is also involved in stainless steel trading, the development and production of polymers, the construction of extruders and compounding plants, and engineering services.
SharePoint as the central information and document management system
For many years, the Feddersen Group has strategically used SharePoint as its central information and document management system. This system, with its various specialist applications, is currently being gradually migrated to the Microsoft 365 cloud platform. One of the main objectives is to integrate the existing ERP and financial accounting systems of the various companies, while ensuring compliance with legal requirements.
Enterprise Content Management with Shareflex and Microsoft 365
The Feddersen Group benefits from the fact that it has been using the SharePoint-based ECM and document management system Shareflex ECM Online for years. The migration of data, documents and processes to the cloud can therefore be carried out step by step. In cooperation with Portal Systems AG, a solution was developed that enables access to business-critical information (customers, suppliers, employees, products, offers, orders) in Microsoft 365 and SharePoint Online. In addition, it was possible to automate important business processes through workflows.
All information and documents are provided with company-specific permissions and can be found easily and quickly. This gives Feddersen Group employees full transparency of data, documents and processes. And all information is available to them at all times.
Challenge: Limited access to information
The owner of the Feddersen Group companies is K.D. Feddersen Holding GmbH. The sole shareholder of K.D. Feddersen Holding GmbH is the non-profit K.D. Feddersen Foundation. The companies in the Group worked with different ERP and financial accounting systems. As a result, a lot of information was only captured for specific departments or subsidiaries. In addition, there were many different systems and siloed applications, which limited the availability of key information to subsidiaries and the holding company.
The main objective of a unified, company-wide information and document management system was to create maximum transparency for the subsidiaries and the holding company. Another important objective was to promote collaboration to avoid redundancies, exploit synergies and improve the performance of the entire group.
Audit-proof archiving and new middleware development
Today, the Feddersen Group is pursuing a cloud-first strategy. As part of its enterprise-wide digitisation, it has set itself the goal of archiving business-critical information in a complete, legally compliant and transparent manner. The company’s growth has put a premium on scalability and the rapid implementation of ever-changing business requirements.
One challenge was to develop new middleware to integrate the different ERP systems INTEGRA and Infor COM. Master and transactional data as well as outgoing ERP documents (such as order confirmations and invoices) are transferred and stored in customer, supplier, quotation and order files. At one of the subsidiaries, quotations are not created via the ERP, but in a user-friendly way via the document management system. Here, the ERP data is available in real time via the middleware for efficient data entry.
Digital Product File and Workflows
This subsidiary has also implemented a product file that stores all product-related data and documents. The file solutions are complemented by workflows, e.g. for quotation release and approval, onboarding of external users or the release of datasheets in the product file. And there are already plans for follow-up projects. One is to migrate the existing business applications for contract and quality management as well as incoming invoice processing, which are still based on SharePoint 2016/2019, to SharePoint Online and thus to Microsoft 365.
Solution strategy based on Microsoft 365 and Shareflex ECM Online
The Feddersen Group has a strategic focus on SharePoint Online and Microsoft 365. The aim was to provide a cloud-based ECM and document management system. This was achieved with the introduction of Shareflex ECM Online by Portal Systems AG.
Shareflex offers all necessary ECM functionalities. These include file management, capturing, workflow management and ERP integration. But also services for electronic signatures or document generation. All this is complemented by the seamless integration of Microsoft 365 functionalities, such as audit-proof archiving, document management, full-text search or collaborative document work.
Building a self-service customer portal
Another goal is the efficient exchange of data and documents between customers and Feddersen subsidiaries. This is to be achieved through a self-service customer portal that integrates various systems within the Feddersen Group. It also digitises and optimises business processes and meets all compliance requirements.
Modern, up-to-date Enterprise Content Management
By introducing the Microsoft 365-based ECM and document management system Shareflex ECM Online, the Feddersen Group was able to provide a uniform, central and modern system. The group’s various ERP systems are fully integrated. And all data and documents are made available in files in accordance with compliance and legal structures. Key business processes are automated through workflows. In addition, a range of out-of-the-box business applications are available.
“I am fully convinced of Microsoft 365 and our corporate group is benefiting from this high-performance platform for information management. With Shareflex ECM Online, we now have a flexible and efficient ECM and document management system that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft 365. I am enthusiastic about the very user-friendly interfaces (Modern UI technology) and the easily configurable workflows,” says Joachim Friedrich, Chief Digital Officer at K.D. Feddersen.
Reduced costs and increased functionality
As a result, the Feddersen Group did not have to purchase a traditional ECM system. And all information is now centrally available in Microsoft 365. In the long term, this will lead to significant cost savings, while at the same time providing new, modern ECM functionality.