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Royal Flora Holland:

"What if, is a very important question"

Media reports on network failures or localized power supply outages appear more frequently than before. A failure of Instagram or WhatsApp is very annoying for some people, but on a corporate level, usually not immediately harmful. The electricity outage made itself felt last year when, in the run-up to Mother's Day, Aalsmeer-Zuid was hit by a power cut around 7 am. Out of necessity, Royal Flora Holand then suspended auctioning until 8.00 am. Nevertheless, this company thinks it is advisable to consider what the impact of prolonged outages might be on one's own critical business processes. The Royal Flora Holland team says: "Experience shows that things can always go wrong, either due to technical failure, a cyber-attack or human error. This is unfortunately unavoidable. The first question here is 'what are you in control of yourself, where do you rely on third-party systems and what alternatives can you already prepare yourself?"

Emergency portal
During the power outage at Aalsmeer-Oost, some buyers rushed to the Royal Flora Holland building across the street because there was power there. Others were prepared and used emergency generators. If you use the cloud, you can continue working via another PC if your computer crashes. By doing so, you minimize the business impact if something goes wrong. This applies not only to administrative processes but also to operational processes. If you can remotely control your climate computer in the nursery, it means that if security is not in place, outsiders can do the same. By no means all growers adjust the default settings and use, for example, a strong password. This shows where potential vulnerabilities are.

The company takes a c look at its own business processes. In their technological developments, they adopt a strategy of maximum independence, with modular development and decoupling of systems. "Floriday is playing an increasingly important role in this. More and more growers and buyers are using Floriday for their daily commercial processes. The growing dependency and hence responsibility, calls for an alternative, should ever another large-scale failure happen. For example, the barely imaginable scenario where the public cloud, in our case that of AWS, goes down", the company team explains. An Emergency Portal was therefore built, in a different cloud, offering growers limited but vital functionalities for the platform's two core processes: supply for auction and direct trading.

Vital infrastructure for the floriculture industry
The team adds: "Floriday is developing a sector platform with more and more functionalities. This brings with it great responsibility because the whole chain must be able to blindly trust that platform. In the world of floriculture, Floriday is increasingly becoming a vital infrastructure, enabling us to make the chain more efficient in the interests of the whole sector. For example facilitating sustainability information that is increasingly demanded in the chain, such as footprint information and packaging data that will be requested in the future. By using new technology, such as API links, the company can unlock this through Floriday. The existing old techniques like the VMP links, Florecoms, etc. are totally inadequate for this purpose. Think also of the EAB that, for example, is currently used to supply the auction trade. Royal Flora Holland will phase these out altogether by 2025."

"With Floriday's growing importance, it is essential that Floriday runs uninterrupted. Yet we realise that any change within the digital platform leads to an opportunity for disruption. We have therefore adopted an approach that takes this into account. For example, by if things do not go well immediately, we can quickly reverse the change. We also choose to take small steps and experiment first and adjust if necessary. On the digital front, we are a learning organization," they continue.

"For other parts of the IT landscape, for example, the IT network, our lesson is that we use specialized service providers in sub-areas more than before. Interestingly, this also saves us considerable costs. Specialists can solve a problem faster. They do so faster than all-rounders and thus the impact on business processes is smaller. That too is a form of cost saving," the company concluded.

For more information:
Royal FloraHolland

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