The future of people everywhere relies on conservation of resources and renewable energy. That’s why the innovative IT company Priva dedicates its efforts to finding ways to grow fresh food in sustainable greenhouses and reduce building energy consumption. To support its marketing and sales efforts and unify its workforce, the company adopted several Microsoft solutions, including Microsoft Dynamics Project Operations and is using them together to help the company bring innovation to market faster.
Sustainability is at the heart of Priva’s business ethos,” says the company’s mission statement. “For us, it is not just a passing fad; it’s built into all of our operations.” Priva is a global company headquartered in De Lier, Netherlands, which develops innovative, sustainable horticultural and building solutions that reduce the need for precious limited resources like energy and water. Priva’s 450 employees are tackling food security and building sustainability directly as part of the company’s efforts to combat the larger global environmental crisis.
“We are an international market leader in the horticultural industry and a leading player in building controls,” says Meiny Prins, CEO of Priva. “If you look at the world of high-tech greenhouses, many, many growers want to change the way they cultivate today.” Priva offers those growers the ability to cultivate in a modern, sustainable way. Additionally, Prins has dedicated herself and her work at Priva to promoting sustainable urban deltas—healthy cities and metropolitan areas that use renewable energy and food sources to increase quality of life for everyone.
One success story for Priva’s sustainable farming systems is NatureFresh™ Farms. The company is one of the largest independent greenhouse produce growers in Canada and uses Priva’s state-of-the-art computer system, which is programmed by farmers to adjust to a plant’s specific needs through all stages of its growth. NatureFresh is able to closely monitor its greenhouses; from temperature, humidity, and CO2 input to irrigation, harvesting, and product packaging. This allows farmers to automate irrigation units for precise supply of water and nutrients to each individual plant, reducing the amount of wasted natural resources.
Another example of Priva’s systems creating innovative leaps is Growing Underground. This company’s fresh take on farming involves growing sustainable micro greens and salad leaves more than 100 feet under the busy streets of London. Growing Underground repurposes forgotten Second World War-era tunnels for growing produce. Using the latest hydroponic systems and LED technology, the crops can be grown year-round in the pesticide-free environment that the tunnels provide. The company is able to use 70 percent less water than traditional open-field farming, and because all the nutrients are kept within the closed-loop system, there is no risk of contributing to agricultural runoff.
Affecting the course of global climate change is no small job, so Priva needed some help to unify its sales and marketing processes of all its worldwide offices. To do so, the company implemented Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service and integrated it with many other Microsoft technologies, including Dynamics 365 Project Operations, Office 365, SharePoint, and Yammer. This allows for “optimum synergy and information exchange,” according to Paul Ossewold, VP for Digital Operations at Priva.
“What we are doing is what we call the digital transformation of Priva, making sure that we automate as much as we can,” says Ossewold. “We want to bring back the human touch in our company through empathy, creativity, and passion.”
Priva can now boast far better leads management, reporting, and forecasting, in addition to gaining a platform for global growth. “The solutions that Microsoft provides are changing our company. We will be able to react faster to our customers’ needs,” Ossewold says. “It took us far too long to bring innovation to the market and we are absolutely convinced that that will be better and faster now.”
Not only are the Microsoft solutions changing how Priva conducts business, but they also support the company to affect real change in its customers’ businesses. “We take the data, use Microsoft Azure to send it to the cloud, and then crunch the numbers. Now, we can see how an installation is performing,” says Leo Hitzert, Product Manager at Priva. “We can create a huge amount of savings with solutions like these.”
Ossewold adds, “The reason we selected Microsoft as our global partner is that we could use their solutions on top of ours.”