Action sport accessory and apparel company Dakine needed to upgrade its business technology in order to meet the expectations of its mobile workforce.
The company selected Microsoft Office 365, and Dakine’s employees now use cloud-based communication and collaboration services in order to stay connected with the business. This helps drive productivity while also minimising IT infrastructure costs.
“I wanted to find business productivity solutions that reflect our corporate culture: people are laid back here, but dedicated,” said Nic Richards, IT manager at Dakine. “We expect to work when and where we need to – on the slopes, the trails, or the beach. We use Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based services to reinforce those values, underlying what makes Dakine’s culture unique.”
With Office 365, Dakine benefits from interoperable communication and collaboration services. This includes e-mail, file sharing, online collaboration, one terabyte of cloud storage, instant messaging (IM) and videoconferencing.
“We leverage the video and audio conferencing tools of Skype for Business to better collaborate and stay in real-time contact with our teams around the world. And virtual teams with members at headquarters and our office in Annecy-le-Vieux, France, use video conferences to review stock keeping units and product ideas,” said Richards. “I like the anywhere access I get from OneDrive for Business too. If I get an e-mail about a document that needs editing, I can download it from the online storage, make the edits, and send a link back to my colleague to check out the updated version, wherever I happen to be working.”
“In finance, we frequently IM with the various teams, especially sales,” said Lauren Simpson, vice president of Special Projects. “It’s a vital communication tool while working remotely and an integral part of daily life inside the offices as well.”
Employees are now able to download the latest versions of Office applications on up to five computing devices, thus increasing the number of mobile workplace scenarios.
“I know finance staffers are installing Office at home to work in the evenings,” said Richards. “It’s easy to save your work in the cloud and pick it up again when you get to the office the next morning.”
The company was sold by Billabong to Altamont Capital Partners in 2013. Dakine worked with KAMIND IT, a member of the Microsoft Partner network, to plan a scalable, flexible and quick ‘exit strategy’ from the Billabong on-premises Microsoft Exchange Server mail solution.
“We saved approximately US$100,000 by not having to purchase software and hardware for our own on-premises Exchange solution,” Richards said. “And with the expert assistance of KAMIND IT, we achieved a pretty smooth inbox migration from Billabong’s servers to Exchange Online. I love that the ongoing management of Office 365 and signing up users is super easy. Before Office 365, it could take one or two days to equip a new employee with email – now I’m done in just five minutes.”
The benefits of the system are also being felt by the company’s customers, who are no longer placed on hold while staff search for answers to their product queries. Instead, members of the Dakine team can use the presence and IM capabilities that come with Office 365 to find a colleague that can help a customer directly. Richards says that the average time to answer a customer query has been reduced by 30% following the deployment of Office 365.
“We have a lot of products and a lot of marketing media available. It would be great to allow approved e-commerce vendors to visit a Dakine intranet site where they could search for product pictures and videos for their websites,” said Richards. “I can already think of a few other areas Office 365 could help out too. The opportunities seem endless.”
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