Focusing on chocolate perfection, with hosted applications driving the business and a Citrix Service Provider partner managing IT

Known for exquisite chocolates, premium chocolate producer and distributor Pierre Marcolini Haute Chocolaterie needs to let premium boutique staff focus on selling chocolate instead of managing IT systems. Hosted desktop solutions from Net Computer Group allow the chocolaterie to focus on producing and marketing chocolate, while still running a growing worldwide business.

The Challenge: Reliable IT for a growing boutique business

The business of award-winning Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini has grown to 14 stores worldwide including boutiques across Belgium and in fashionable destinations such as Paris, London, Monaco and Tokyo. With a quest for excellence in the collections, the producer gathers exquisite ingredients from around the globe to create the delicacies of a customer’s dreams. Managing IT servers doesn’t fit into the core competencies of the firm. In-house servers had been located in less than ideal locations and required a significant amount of capital expenditure, as well as maintenance time and budget. With stores open 365 days a year, IT challenges on weekends caused significant problems for the staff. The firm needed IT systems to support commerce and wanted to focus on the core business of transforming the cocoa bean to chocolate delicacies.

The Solution: Hosted IT solutions allow IT functions - without IT experts

“We aimed to externalize the IT competence to a hosted solution,” explained Geoffroy Timmermans, head of business development for Marcolini.  “We needed access to solutions via any computer in any country through an Internet connection. If someone was entering or leaving the company, we needed a flexible solution to give rights or access to data.”  After researching options, Marcolini chose the Cloudbizz™ virtual datacenter solution from Net Computer Group in Brussels. As a Citrix® Service Provider partner, Net Computer Group could use Citrix XenApp® to provide hosted desktops and applications. With the hosted option, the Marcolini boutique staff can focus on their role as experts in chocolate and fine confections, yet access critical store reporting systems in a simple and consistent manner. “Like everyone in the company, we don’t understand much of informatics – the less we hear about it, the better we can focus on our core competencies,” Mr. Timmermans said. “We can now focus on producing and making chocolate.”

Key Benefits

Worldwide consistent access to critical reporting systems

Whether staff is in Belgium or abroad, they have access to the critical applications that run the business, like Microsoft Dynamics or Cylande. “From a click on their desktop, we wanted them to have an easy experience,” Mr. Timmermans said. Hosted application solutions deliver store information back to headquarters, including inventory, current product catalog, sales and reporting.

Scalable solutions for potential growth

“For us, the key advantage to hosted solutions is growing the business. You decide to stay small or grow. If you choose to grow, you need to be scalable and follow your rhythm,” Mr. Timmermans said. “In retail, you don’t always define the rhythm yourself. If you find a new location for a store, you might have to be very reactive to get it. As a business, we need to be very reactive to opportunities. You plan, but the infrastructure has to follow you along the way. If we added 5 to 7 new stores next year, they would be very convenient to open through Cloudbizz.”

Smooth transition to hosted IT solutions

Moving from internal systems to a hosted infrastructure was a smooth transition for Marcolini. “There was a low cost of migration,” Mr. Timmermans said. While day-to-day operations are not low cost, he described the costs as acceptable. “With the ease of use and the fact that we don’t see or hear about the IT infrastructure much anymore, it’s acceptable,” he said.

Looking Ahead

Marcolini looks to partner with Net Computer Group using Cloudbizz™ to continue to provide IT hosting options for critical functions to expand the business. As Pierre Marcolini’s celebrity grows, the business will grow as well.  His citation as World Pastry Champion and appearances on television, including a role in the jury of the France 2 competition show “Qui sera le prochain grand pâtissier? (Who will be the next great pastry chef?),” increase the global recognition of the brand and also the business development rhythm--and IT needs to follow.

About Citrix

Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) is the cloud company that enables mobile workstyles—empowering people to work and collaborate from anywhere, securely accessing apps and data on any of the latest devices, as easily as they would in their own office. Citrix solutions help IT and service providers build clouds, leveraging virtualization and networking technologies to deliver high-performance, elastic and cost-effective cloud services. With market-leading solutions for mobility, desktop virtualization, cloud networking, cloud platforms, collaboration and data sharing, Citrix helps organizations of all sizes achieve the speed and agility to succeed in a mobile and dynamic world. Citrix products are in use at more than 330,000 organizations and by over 100 million users globally. Annual revenue in 2012 was $2.59 billion. Learn more at www.citrix.com.

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Industry

  • Fine Foods

Key Benefits

  • Focus on producing and selling chocolate, not IT systems
  • Consistent access to critical IT systems
  • Scalability for growth

Citrix Service Provider Partner

  • Net Computer Group, hosting the Cloudbizz all-in-one solution 

Citrix Products