2 page Case Study
Posted: 7/18/2010
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Crystal Group Manufacturer Extends Hardware Investments, Reduces Costs, with Operating System Upgrade

To maintain its competitive advantage in the garment manufacturing industry, Hong Kong–based Crystal Group became an early adopter of the Windows 7 operating system. The company was eager to test enhanced features such as DirectAccess for remote connectivity, and the multilingual user interface. Crystal Group anticipates that by using Windows 7 it will reduce costs, increase productivity, and improve software interoperability.

* We are very satisfied with our decision to deploy Windows 7. Not only is it compatible with our existing systems, it will help us increase productivity, is user friendly, and can be cost-justified. *

Karl Ting
General Manager, Information Services
Crystal Group

Business Needs

A true Hong Kong success story, Crystal Group began as a small family partnership in 1970. The clothing manufacturer now employs 38,000 people in 19 facilities across eight countries. In 2009, sales revenue was approximately US$1 billion.

As a manufacturing company, containing costs is an important consideration in every business decision—especially during difficult economic times. With this in mind, the IT team at Crystal Group constantly looks for technology investments that allow the company to reduce operating expenses.

Equally important for the company’s ongoing success is the use of software to empower employees. “Crystal Group has built its success on speed,” says Karl Ting, General Manager, Information Services at Crystal Group. “We have always been able to respond rapidly to changing market needs, and our technology must keep pace with these demands. We aim to provide our employees with technology tools that enable them to be as productive as possible.”

Crystal Group also challenges its IT team to find solutions that offer high levels of interoperability. “In the manufacturing sector, complexity is a real issue,” says Ting. “At Crystal Group, we run a variety of systems in our factories, including SAP. Our desktop operating system must be compatible with all of our existing systems and allow users to easily access company information.”

To maintain its competitive edge in a challenging economic environment, Crystal Group needed a technology solution that would help it reduce costs, increase productivity, and support interoperability.


In 2009, Crystal Group decided to upgrade from the Windows XP operating system and became an early adopter of the Windows 7 operating system. The company was eager to test enhanced features including DirectAccess (remote connection to the corporate network over an Internet connection rather than through a virtual private network, or VPN), multilingual capabilities, and Windows 7 Libraries (a consolidated view of files, even those stored in different folders, on different disk drives, or in other computers).

Karl Ting, General Manager, Information Services, Crystal Group
Karl Ting, General Manager
Information Services, Crystal Group
“First, we assigned different types of users to test Windows 7,” Ting explains. “We studied the functionality and features of the new operating system and found it to be very impressive in terms of usability.”

The first feature to receive positive comments was the user interface, especially the Aero desktop experience. “Aero is more than just something that beautifies the screen,” says Ting. “It provides very user-friendly functions such as Aero Peek, which lets you see behind open windows on your desktop to view your gadgets. You can also shake, flip, and snap windows into place. These and other features, including multi-touch technology, voice recognition, and the Windows Ribbon function, all add up to create an enhanced user experience.”


With the enhanced features and rich functionality of Windows 7, Crystal Group reports increased productivity, reduced costs, and greater interoperability.

Increased Productivity

The user group found that Windows 7 includes a range of features that encourage greater levels of productivity. “For example, Windows 7 Libraries are highly customized to the needs of users,” Ting says. “Previously, even when we organized folders well, we still had a complicated file directory. Now we can create a shared library and store the most commonly used files there. We can also use Windows 7 to organize the most-used applications and functions and store them in a central location that is easy to access.”

The remote connectivity functions of Windows 7 are also a benefit to Crystal Group. “In recent years, we have seen an increase in mobile workers,” says Ting. “With Windows 7, the mobile experience has improved because there is no longer a need to set up a VPN function. With DirectAccess, Windows 7 provides an easy-to-use and secure remote access feature.”

Reduced Costs

The IT team uses Windows 7 to help meet the company’s strict cost-justification requirements. Crystal Group recycles hardware by re-using computers across different countries. When computers at the Hong Kong headquarters need to be renewed, the company deploys them to factories in other countries, where there are high license-import costs for new technology. “We cannot justify the cost of deploying the latest hardware to some of our locations,” Ting says. “At the same time, we want our staff there to have access to the latest productivity tools. Windows 7 allows us to do this, because it performs well on older computer models. This allows us to extend our hardware investments and reduce costs.”

Greater Interoperability

Windows 7 also works well with the company’s other technologies. “With Windows 7, all of our compatibility tests were successful,” Ting concludes. “We are very satisfied with our decision to deploy Windows 7. Not only is it compatible with our existing systems, it will help us increase productivity, is user friendly, and can be cost-justified.”

Solution Overview

Organization Size: 38000 employees

Organization Profile

Crystal Group has facilities across eight countries and produces 200 million garments annually. In 2009, sales revenue was approximately US$1 billion.

Software and Services
Windows 7

Vertical Industries
Manufacturing & Resources

Hong Kong SAR

Business Need
Cloud & Server Platform

IT Issue
  • Desktop, Device and Server Management
  • Identity, Security and Access Management