Customs company DKM-Customs enjoys worry-free cloud migration

“When we had to decide on a new server in 2015, I was not convinced of the benefits of the cloud,” says Luc De Kerf, CEO of customs company DKM-Customs. “But in the meantime, I’ve completely changed my mind. We now have more flexibility, more possibilities and we have to care much less about our IT environment. A lot just happens automatically.” Safe-Connect ensured that the migration to Azure cloud for DKM was completely seamless, while strengthening cybersecurity and building in additional functionality for their core applications.

Who is DKM-customs?

DKM-Customs is a neutral customs agent. The Antwerp-based company handles all types of customs documents for various types of companies: importers, manufacturers, forwarders and private individuals. DKM-Customs is an expert in a niche of the transport sector and relieves its customers through its knowledge of customs formalities, VAT and customs legislation. Every year, the company produces 160,000 documents for its clients.

"At one point we had a problem that no one was getting fixed. We brought in Safe-Connect and they fixed it right away. And we've been working with them without interruption ever since. They constantly think with us about solutions to our challenges, they monitor our environment and intervene when necessary. I know I can rely on them, they switch very quickly and they are as no-nonsense as I am."
Luc de Kerf DKM
Luc De Kerf
Owner DKM-Customs

Flexibility, ease of management, continuity

“IT is vital to us,” says Luc De Kerf. “We receive data from customers, scan documents, send data to customs, get messages back from customs, … Without IT, we can’t do anything at all. Just because IT is crucial for us, as owner of DKM-Customs I also want to be involved in IT as much as possible and keep control of it. In 2015 I still thought cloud computing lacked transparency, but now that we have migrated I can see the benefits of it.”
The migration occurred when the company found that its own IT infrastructure could no longer keep up with the company’s growth. Furthermore, support was needed for the offices in Morocco and Bulgaria. “When we hire new people, they can be added to the system immediately, which gives us extra flexibility,” says Luc De Kerf, who also points out the convenience of online backups versus making copies on tape. “We once experienced that the power was completely off in our office in Antwerp. We couldn’t continue, but our branch offices didn’t notice anything. With a local server, our entire business would have been down.” Another convenience of the cloud: upgrades and updates to software are completely automatic. “That all goes with the flow, and Safe-Connect can make interventions remotely.”

Cybersecurity is crucial

Digital processes easily give rise to cybercrime, but DKM-Customs feels completely secure. “You constantly hear of companies being hacked, or unable to work for a month after a ransomware attack. But we feel completely protected,” says Luc De Kerf. For example, the company uses Microsoft’s multi-factor authentication with the Microsoft Authenticator. And last year, the company’s entire security was reviewed by Safe-Connect and Microsoft, including recommendations to get cybersecurity all the way up to scratch. DKM-Customs recently switched to Azure Virtual Desktop, which gives employees much more flexibility, a better work-life balance and employee experience and also contributes to greater security, thanks to built-in multi-layer security.
Cybersecurity illustratie
Microsoft-Azure-Logo

Seamless migration

The migration to Microsoft Azure went smoothly for DKM-Customs. For the most important application, Stream Software, there was collaboration between Safe-Connect and Stream Software itself. Due to good preparation, everything could be transferred in one weekend. “All I had to do was test on Sunday evening whether everything worked,” says Luc De Kerf. “And the day after the migration some minor problems were solved, such as printers that had lost connection for example.” At the same time, Safe-Connect built additional functionality for DKM-Customs, such as a portal on which customers can view all their documents online, including the mails they exchange with the company. Adding such functionality alongside the existing applications provides additional flexibility, while not affecting the ERP application itself. It is also easier to manage when the base software is upgraded and all custom programming needs to be changed. Safe-Connect builds these kinds of separate applications with Microsoft Power Apps.

A genuine partnership

Luc De Kerf has been using Safe-Connect’s services for more than 20 years. “At one point we had a problem that no one was getting solved. We called in Safe-Connect and they fixed it right away. And we’ve been working with them without interruption ever since.” Luc De Kerf has long since come to regard Safe-Connect not as a supplier, but as a true partner. “They constantly think with us about solutions to our challenges, they monitor our environment and intervene when necessary. I know I can rely on them, they switch very quickly and they are as no-nonsense as I am.”