Bizerba - Teams Provisioning and Implementation

Bizerba Canada | LinkedIn

The Client

Bizerba is a fifth-generation family-owned business that was founded in Germany over 150 years ago. Since its inception in 1866, Bizerba has significantly defined technical developments in the handling of food and is now represented in 120 countries. Bizerba offers customers a globally unique solution portfolio of hardware and software based around the central value of "weight". This portfolio includes products and solutions relating to slicing, processing, weighing, cashing, checking, commissioning, and labeling.

Bizerba also offers a wide range of comprehensive services including consulting, maintenance, labels and consumables, as well as leasing. Their customer base is large and growing as they continue expanding to global-operating companies in trade and industry as well as retailers, bakeries and butcheries. With around 4,300 employees worldwide, Bizerba has production facilities in Germany and throughout Europe, in China and the USA.

The Challenge

Bizerba is a large international organization with over four thousand employees. They require a solid communications platform that allows employees to collaborate freely on projects among themselves and often with external users. Bizerba had been using email for both internal and external communications and they were finding it challenging to manage. They also recognized that they were missing an opportunity to fully leverage Microsoft 365, which they had already invested in. 

Bizerba made the decision to utilize Microsoft Teams as their internal communications platform for divisions, departments and projects. They had originally planned to roll out Teams to the organization over the course of the year. However, with the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020 and a large number of employees suddenly working remotely, this timeframe had to be drastically condensed. Bizerba had 2 months to create hundreds of Teams to support their organization and they knew this would be no small feat. They recognized the challenges associated with using OOTB functionality to manually create Teams, and began searching for a solution to help automate provisioning.  

The Solution

Bizerba engaged the Extranet User Manager team to consult on implementing and customizing the open source Teams Provisioning solution. This solution allows end users to request new Teams, Channels, Groups and SharePoint sites within their environment, and it automates their creation in a consistent, controlled way. 

The Provisioning solution starts with a request form that employees submit with details about the Team they want created. There were a number of customizations that were implemented that reflect requirements specific to Bizerba. They included a mandatory Division field that recognizes the local country for the requested department or project team.  Once selected from the dropdown list of Divisions, this causes the Team Name to be prefixed with the Division name, making it easy to sort and find teams geographically. This also sets the appropriate language for the Team.

Users are also prompted to enter the URL for the applicable SharePoint on prem site if it exists. Bizerba is currently using a hybrid model and they are in the midst of migrating SharePoint on premises to SharePoint Online. This will greatly streamline the process of mapping sites to the new structure. A Business Function field refers to the department or area that the Team will be used in. Requestors also have the option of creating a OneNote Teams tab, a Planner and designating an additional Team owner. 

The solution includes logic that checks for duplicate names and blacklisted terms which can be customized. An instructive legend next to the request form helps ensure that requestors submit information correctly and avoid special characters in naming, which causes errors. The decision was made to exclude any approval workflow from the Teams request process. The necessary checks are in place, and enabling the business to set up teams easily without roadblocks is fundamental to the solution.

The Result

Once implemented, over 600 department and project teams were successfully created using this self-serve Teams Provisioning solution in just two months. The process allows Bizerba employees to communicate and collaborate effectively while working remotely, all while leveraging the organization’s investment in Microsoft 365 technologies.

Bizerba continues to look at ways of enhancing the solution and increasing productivity. Future integrations may include templates for SharePoint Online automated site creation for larger customer projects, and options for automating Channel creations.