Case Study: Building a Cloud Journey
See how WatServ worked with EFC to help them stay agile, prepare for the future and take full advantage of the benefits offered by the cloud.
EFC services global industries with high-quality rare gases and fluorocarbons purified to the highest specifications.
For over 60 years, Electronic Fluorocarbons LLC (EFC) has been a leading global supplier of high-quality specialty gases and advanced materials, providing innovative solutions through novel chemistry and leading technologies with a total commitment to its customers, employees, and the environment. From its corporate headquarters in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, and its plant in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, EFC supplies North American, Asian, and European gas distributors with quality products and unparalleled service.
“When we first came to WatServ, it was on a recommendation from our Dynamics partner,” says Melissa Perkins, General Manager at Electronic Fluorocarbons. “As a team, we were fairly early in the process of implementing our first ERP system and didn’t know what to expect. With WatServ, we were able to keep up with emerging customer demands and therefore survive in the face of the future. And it’s been a beneficial and positive relationship since then as we’ve scaled, added, and changed services. We have a great working relationship with WatServ; they have always been proactive around evolving business conditions, making sure we were able to anticipate risk and respond on time.”
87% of manufacturing business strategies now rely on the cloud1
Optimizing the existing use of the cloud is the top initiative for the year ahead (61%), followed by migrating more workloads to the cloud (59%)2
Like many manufacturers, the team at EFC understood that to remain competitive, be more agile, and scale for the future, they needed to take advantage of the benefits that the cloud offered. However, the EFC team needed guidance on the best path forward.
“Too often, companies embark on cloud adoption without a consistent strategy, which can lead to disappointing outcomes or a hodgepodge of small or unfinished projects,” says Serge Maric, Director of Customer Success, WatServ. “Cloud journeys can be especially tricky for manufacturers, as they usually face increased network complexities from interfacing plant equipment and corporate applications. A trusted and knowledgeable partner can work with a company to determine business needs now, as well as develop a transformation strategy toward a future state that is enabled and supported by technology.”
Watserv has provided Electronic Fluorocarbons with access to IT resources, thought leadership, and delivery support since 2017 to provide best practices and faster business outcomes.
Creating a cloud strategy and then getting there
“WatServ, with its Dynamics, Microsoft 365, and cloud expertise was the right partner to help us plan our future state and develop our cloud strategy,” says Mark. “We worked together to create a two-stage IT transformation plan that would be smooth and effective with little to no downtime.”
In stage one, for ease of management and cost effectiveness, WatServ helped EFC lift-and-shift their existing workloads to Azure Cloud Services. WatServ also assisted with implementing a disaster recovery strategy, providing detailed instructions for data protection and regaining access to IT infrastructure in case of an accident.
Moving EFC from on-premises Exchange to the Microsoft 365 applications suite allowed better performance and integration with Azure. During that move, WatServ provided consulting and assistance to migrate company data from Dropbox to SharePoint.
WatServ also aided the migration of a third-party database (ISO Software) from local on-premises SQL to Azure SQL.
“In transformations, often there are other vendors involved, sometimes even competitors. It’s about getting the job done on time and budget and giving clients a great experience,” says Serge Maric. “With WatServ, it’s never an us-or-them scenario. We welcome collaboration with other vendors when it benefits our clients.”
In stage two, WatServ assisted in upgrading from Dynamics NAV 2017 to Dynamics BC 14, creating a new server instance and migrating critical data with no downtime. WatServ helped with pre-testing and preparation and supported the EFC team as they brought the new systems online. Various WatServ teams assisted with critical project goals as the new server instance went live.
“I was talking to Serge [Maric] just before our big migration from NAV to Business Central. He pointed out to me that a complete, straight migration might not be possible and that we need to build new servers to accommodate the requirements for Business Central,” says Bakour. “That’s something that wasn’t on the radar. If he didn’t bring it up, we would have been much deeper into the migration process before we realized we had a problem. He saved us weeks in project delays and damage control.”
Free to scale into the future
“When I joined EFC in 2018, the team was 20 people, and now we are around 80. The company has snowballed, and as our products are ever-increasingly in high demand, further growth is inevitable,” says Bakour. “The company needs to scale up, but the IT budget and department don’t scale at the same pace. So having a Managed Services provider like WatServ, and being in the cloud, ensures we can keep up with the company’s needs. We can scale efficiently as the business expands, unencumbered by the limitations of physical devices or storage walls.”
The partnership between EFC and WatServ has continued to grow over the years. WatServ has proven its services reliable, with more software and databases moving under WatServ’s Managed Services umbrella.
Along with offering SharePoint and Teams training for EFC admins, migration mapping and consulting work, and cloud strategy and journey support, WatServ:
- Provides Managed Services for Azure
- Hosts and manages Microsoft Dynamics Business Central and third-party applications in Azure
- Manages disaster recovery
An added result is improvements in EFC’s ISO compliance process. The high level of security for EFC’s servers and disaster recovery plans, all managed by WatServ, has enabled EFC to meet some of its top-end customers’ strict data backup, storage, and recovery requirements. “With WatServ’s services, we are exceeding our customers’ compliance expectations, which makes them, and in turn us, very happy,” says Bakour. WatServ is a proven partner that would welcome the opportunity to make your team and customers as happy as those of Electronic Fluorocarbons LLC. To learn more about WatServ’s managed services, click here.