To enable it to pursue growth in Mexico and beyond, Grupo Kasto is consolidating its business—but its employees needed to travel hundreds of kilometers for internal meetings, delaying the project.
Grupo Kasto deployed IBM Connections Cloud and IBM Verse, enabling employees to collaborate seamlessly via digital communities, instant messages, audio conferences and more.
Improvesoperational efficiency by eliminating the need for teams to travel to meetings
Acceleratesthe consolidation project through digital collaboration, supporting growth
Enablesclear, secure communication with customers and suppliers
Business challenge story
Consolidating the business
One of Mexico’s largest agroindustrial businesses, Grupo Kasto supplies food processors across Mexico and North America with flour, animal feed and livestock, as well as value-added services such as wholesale distribution. Already producing around six percent of Mexico’s wheat flour, the company has set its sights on further growth.
Cesar Quiroz, CIO at Grupo Kasto, begins: “Over the next five years, we aim to increase our sales by expanding our footprint in Mexico. As a first step, we decided to consolidate our existing businesses. The aim was to eliminate communication silos and enable a more effective decision-making process.”
To steer its business consolidation project effectively, Grupo Kasto relies on the expertise of decision-makers based up to hundreds of kilometers apart. In the past, the company relied on face-to-face meetings to bring these decision-makers together, but the significant distances and long travel times involved threatened to delay the project.
“We were confident that digital collaboration tools would reduce the need for our teams to meet in the same room, which would speed up our work substantially,” continues Quiroz. “Our on-premises email platform was becoming increasing unreliable, and reaching end-of-life. To achieve our goals, we decided to replace it with a future-ready collaboration platform.”
Enabling seamless collaboration
For the first time, the company is enabling its employees to meet, share ideas and track goals via digital communities, instant messages and audio conferences in IBM Connections Cloud. By augmenting the solution with an email platform from IBM Verse, the company can use cognitive technology to surface important content and contacts to its business users.
“Of all the offerings we considered, we felt that IBM Connections Cloud and IBM Verse were the best fit for our business,” recalls Quiroz. “The average age of our users is around 45 years old, and it was important that we chose a solution that was intuitive for people without much IT experience. The IBM solutions met this requirement perfectly, and we were extremely impressed with the responsive, user-friendly interface. Better still, the solutions are also straightforward to use on mobile devices, which many of our senior decision-makers rely on.”
He adds: “From the start, we decided that we wanted to switch from the on-premises model to a cloud solution, as it would enable us to decommission some of our servers, decrease our administration workload and reduce our operational costs. The IBM platform offered us all the cloud storage capacity we needed, as well as the assurance that our data would always be secured and backed up.”
Working with IBM, Grupo Kasto configured its IBM Connections Cloud environment to break down organizational and geographical barriers within the company. By creating communities for human resources, planning and IT personnel based in different areas of Mexico, Grupo Kasto is now empowering its people to work together more effectively.
By adopting a train-the-trainer approach, Grupo Kasto got its power-users up to speed with all the key features of IBM Connections and IBM Verse within three days. The company subsequently designed custom training programs to meet the needs of each of its different companies across its four divisions. The adoption process went smoothly, and more than 240 people now use IBM Connections to support their day-to-day work.
Quiroz comments: “Throughout the deployment project, the IBM team was nothing but helpful. If we asked a technical question, we knew that nine times out of ten we’d get the answer we needed within two hours. On the rare occasions when the IBM support team couldn’t provide an answer in that time, they’d suggest a sensible workaround and then get back in touch with us as soon as they had developed a fix. Overall, the support we received from IBM was excellent, and we felt like they were genuinely invested in our success.”
Agile decision-making drives growth
Today, Grupo Kasto is coordinating its growth efforts through 50 digital communities and 50,000 shared files, enabling its people to spend less time traveling and more time on strategic activities.
“Traveling is a major time commitment, and in the past we sometimes needed to delay meetings by several weeks to fit everyone’s schedules,” explains Quiroz. “Thanks to IBM Connections Cloud, wasting valuable time on travel is a thing of the past. Because we can now bring all our project stakeholders together in virtual meetings—helping us keep our growth project on track.”
By migrating to the cloud, Grupo Kasto has dramatically increased the reliability and availability of its email services.
“In Mexico, digital invoicing is mandatory, and we rely on email to share important documents such as invoices and purchase orders with our suppliers,” says Quiroz. “The lack of reliability from our previous on-premises email platform meant that there was always the risk of messages not being sent or received properly, which exposed us to business risk. With IBM Verse in the cloud, we have the peace of mind that our email environment will work seamlessly 24/7, helping to ensure that we can always communicate with our trading partners.”
Based on the success of its IBM Connections Cloud deployment, Grupo Kasto has decided to embark on a cloud transformation project, beginning with its ERP platform.
“As we grow, it’s crucial to maintain agile, cost-effective operations—and we see cloud solutions as a key enabler of those capabilities,” concludes Quiroz. “With enterprise-wide collaboration from IBM Connections Cloud, we’re equipping our people to make timely, well-informed decisions to drive our consolidation across Mexico.”
About Grupo Kasto
Headquartered in Santa Ana Pacueco, Mexico, and employing around 1,000 people, Grupo Kasto specializes in agroindustrial production, marketing and services. Operating in Bajío, Occidente and Northwest Mexico, Grupo Kasto promotes its products in 25 Mexican states and exports to the United States and Canada.
Take the next step
To learn more about IBM Connections Cloud, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/marketplace/enterprise-social-collaboration