IT now supports the forward looking attitude of APK Group

“ In no time the benefits of the cloud through a straightforward lift & shift”

the challenge

  • business challenge: increase the satisfaction of users and customers whilst getting rid of legacy IT and reducing operational costs.

  • technical challenge: identify and use opportunities for the consolidation of distributed assets and services.

APK Group builds Smart & Sustainable Cities. This means designing, realizing and maintaining an infrastructure that makes it possible for people, goods, energy, water, and data to move around in a smart way.

APK is a genuine distributed enterprise, consisting of about 30 separate companies in six sectors with activities in Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands and over 1.000 employees. APK has a forward looking attitude, with a strong growth strategy and driven by knowledge and innovation.

‘Diversity’ is the keyword for describing APK’s competences, markets and activities. In fact, APK was an archipelago of different IT environments, originating from a series of business acquisitions and mergers. From a managing and financial perspective a significant challenge to keep up & running. APK ran into the limits of its IT infrastructure.

APK had a hybrid infrastructure, consisting of Windows Servers (on-premises and in the Overpelt datacenter) and end-user workstations. A SQL-server database was the backend for multiple applications. Remote working was only partially supported. A proprietary MPLS network provided the connectivity between the branch offices. For the communication with customers and partners third party software was deployed. This software ran on-premises in the branches.

This entire set-up proved to be slow, unstable, worn-out and expensive. It was time for a radical change. For exploring other cloud options.

the solution

Together with the APK, g-company engineered a solution, based on Google Cloud Platform, that addresses APK’s urgent needs for centralisation and uniformity, accelerated provisioning, total redundancy and cost-effectivity.

g-company leveraged its proven Lift & Shift approach to bring APK’s IT, its business critical applications and its data to the Google Cloud and to educate APK’s IT staff to use the Google innovations and applications.

the GCP solution

Google Cloud Platform provides the technical infrastructure APK needed to run its business software reliable, fast and at scale. Google’s flexible and innovative pricing with sustained and committed use discounts, and per-second billing allows balancing and reducing IT costs dramatically. Also, Google’s market leadership in big data analytics and in machine learning is an important factor in the future strategy that has been laid out with APK.

Google Compute Engine offers high performance virtual machines, customer-friendly pricing, fast networking and a carbon-neutral impact. Large workloads can be run on VMs Using Google's Infrastructure. For connectivity, g-company has created a hybrid network using Google Cloud VPN.

future proof

By bringing its data to the Google Cloud, APK has now the capabilities to leverage Google’s solutions for Business Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Guided by g-company, APK is exploring the universe of Google Cloud solutions for enhancing its business. Just a few examples: For QJobs, APK’s business for temporary employment and payrolling, the Google Cloud Jobs API offers an attractive value add. And Machine Learning can be leveraged for managing the image files of APK’s engineering. A data lake may be created to capture, process and analyze the large volumes of structured and unstructured data that are associated with APK’s many business processes.

”Our IT has turned from a potential point of failure into a stable innovation engine.”
— Annemieke Kinoo, IT Manager APK

the results

As the infrastructure is progressively migrated, the benefits of Google Cloud Platform are increasingly felt as flexibility and stability is now a key characteristic of the infrastructure. APK is ready to further scale the business in the coming years, implement cloud native services and further reduce costs by fully embracing the benefits of Google Cloud. The company has gained competitive edge by increased flexibility and reduced IT spend.

  • Centralised IT management

  • Better security

  • Uniformity and consistency in assets and policies

  • Accelerated provisioning

  • Redundancy for high-availability

  • Flexible scaling

about APK

APK Group connects people, businesses and governments with each other. The company provides a total solution. By building future-proof roads and installing utilities, networks and data cabling. APK also takes responsibility for the management of the networks. The services offering is built on three pillars: connecting, managing and maintaining. APK is doing this for over 50 years, with a staff of over 1,000 people.