L’Occitane en Provence depends on the hard work of its employees to create a store environment that reflects the romance and beauty of Provence. However, employees often had trouble accessing and editing documents from the company’s Microsoft
SharePoint Server intranet portal because they were using incompatible OpenOffice software. L’Occitane was able to take advantage of the licensing flexibility provided by Microsoft Office 365 to provide store managers with a subscription to Microsoft Office
365 ProPlus. With access to the full capabilities of Microsoft Office applications, store managers can now easily work with documents posted to SharePoint, and L’Occitane benefits from the flexibility of the Office 365 monthly subscription to adjust license
counts as business needs change.
L’Occitane en Provence manufactures beauty, fragrance, and skincare products for men and women. The company has built its identity around the beauty and comfort of Provence. L’Occitane produces many of its products from natural ingredients grown in the
region, and the company ensures that its products and stores evoke the feeling of being in Provence. “People often have a real fondness for Provence. There are many romantic ideals about the landscape, the plants, and the culture. We try to capture that passion
in our products and stores,” says Alison Ash, Intranet Project Leader at L'Occitane en Provence.
Maintaining a consistent global brand across its retail stores requires constant communication between the store designers and store managers. “Because our products are made from natural products, they are always changing throughout the year. We have new
products coming out all the time and we change our window displays every three weeks to highlight the changes,” says Ash.
L’Occitane uses an intranet portal based on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 to provide information to its stores. Store managers access information on promotions and displays, in addition to detailed product catalogs. The company organizes its documents
on the SharePoint portal to make them easy to find and to maintain version control, ensuring that managers always have access to up-to-date information. “By using our SharePoint portal, we enable our store managers to be more efficient so that they can focus
on their primary role of assisting customers and promoting our products,” says Ash. “It is user-friendly and easy to manage.”
||Office 365 enables us to bring new employees into the cloud very quickly and very efficiently without having to plan for new hardware or new software in our on-premises infrastructure. In terms of flexibility, it’s a real value.
| Stephen Roux
Infrastructure Manager, L’Occitane en Provence
While the SharePoint portal was a great solution, L’Occitane encountered some challenges with the desktop productivity solution that store employees used. The company’s office-based employees used Microsoft Office 2010, but store managers used Apache OpenOffice.
The company assumed that OpenOffice would be less expensive and provide flexibility because employees could download the software whenever they needed it.
Although OpenOffice provided licensing flexibility, the stores experienced a less productive work environment. “All of our documents are created using Microsoft Office, so when we were creating documents for the stores, we would have to remember to save
the files in specific formats,” says Stephen Roux, Infrastructure Manager at L’Occitane en Provence. “There are also many Office capabilities that don’t work in OpenOffice, so that required extra effort to make sure the stores could view the document correctly.
It was a waste of time and energy.”
OpenOffice also does not provide a high level of interoperation with SharePoint. “The store managers could not edit files directly on SharePoint sites. They would have to download them, make the edits, and then upload them again. That was quite tedious,”
Because store managers did not have the Office client installed on their desktops, they did not have Microsoft Lync or Microsoft Outlook to access the company’s instances of Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 and Microsoft Lync Server 2013. They could access
their Exchange email accounts and Lync Server instant messaging and conferencing capabilities, but they had to access them through the Microsoft Outlook Web App, getting only limited functionality, especially for Lync.
L’Occitane wanted to provide store managers with Microsoft Office, but it needed a flexible licensing solution so that it could license only the copies it needed at any given time. It also sought a cost-effective solution that could meet the stores limited
budgets for software. And with limited IT support for remote stores, it needed a solution that would be easy to install and maintain.
L’Occitane chose to replace OpenOffice with Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus. Office 365 ProPlus is the full client version of Office delivered as a service. It includes applications such as the Microsoft Outlook client, Word, PowerPoint presentation graphics
program, Excel spreadsheet software, and OneNote note-taking program.
In addition to Office 365 ProPlus, L’Occitane is providing store managers with licenses for Microsoft Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint through the Microsoft Office 365 E3 plan, which can be used for the on-premises environment or for a cloud-based solution.
With one Office 365 license, L’Occitane can provide all of the productivity applications required by the store managers. “We had the stores on our on-premises servers before, but with Office 365, we can take advantage of a hybrid deployment. We get the flexibility
to add and remove employees without having to plan for hardware or licenses, and we can manage the entire solution together,” says Roux.
The licensing flexibility provided by Office 365 extends beyond the stores. L’Occitane hires many consultants and often has to increase its workforce for the holidays. The company can easily manage these temporary fluctuations in staffing with the Office
365 hybrid deployment by adding them to the cloud solution, but still providing full access to the on-premises environment.
To deploy Office to the stores, L’Occitane uses Click-to-Run, a streaming and virtualization technology built into Office 365 ProPlus. “Click-to-Run makes deployment easy by enabling us to stream Office over the network without any additional deployment
applications,” says Roux. As the software streams to the devices, employees can start work in the Office applications within minutes, even before the Office suite is fully installed on their computers. Because the stores may have limited bandwidth, this capability
can save hours on the deployment time.
||The licensing is very convenient for us because we can add or remove employees each month to match our needs.
| Stephen Roux
Infrastructure Manager, L’Occitane en Provence
In addition, store managers can install Office 365 ProPlus on up to five devices. L’Occitane is planning to deploy tablets to the stores in the future so that the stores can avoid purchasing additional licenses. Managers can also deploy Office to personal devices
to access email or files at home. When the managers switch devices, they can take advantage of Office roaming settings capabilities to easily access their recently used documents, presentations, and spreadsheets right from the page or slide where they last
L’Occitane has been a long-time customer of Microsoft communications and collaboration solutions, gaining tremendous value over the years. With the addition of Office 365, it is gaining the flexibility to deliver a consistent experience to all employees
and manage the staffing fluctuations required by the business, all while keeping costs low. “Our employees are definitely happy to finally get the ‘real’ Microsoft Office applications. It’s going to make their life a lot easier,” says Roux.
Provides a Collaborative Experience
Because store managers take such care in delivering a great shopping experience to customers, L’Occitane wanted to provide them with a better way to access content on the SharePoint portal. By replacing OpenOffice with Office 365 ProPlus, store managers
can access and edit files directly on SharePoint. They can also take advantage of the full feature set of Microsoft Office and not worry about the limitations of OpenOffice. “With Office 365, the stores and central office can collaborate using the same tools,
making it much easier to share information and work together on files,” says Ash.
By deploying Office 365 ProPlus in the stores, L’Occitane can provide additional automation for store processes. “When we developed applications for the stores in the past, we always had to limit the functionality to be compatible with OpenOffice. Now we
will be able to take advantage of the full capabilities of SharePoint,” says Ash.
Simplifies Installations and Updates
L’Occitane has simplified its IT environment by replacing OpenOffice with Office 365 ProPlus because it now only has one productivity application to support. By taking advantage of the software delivery capabilities built into Office 365 ProPlus, L’Occitane
also simplified support for its remote stores. The stores have limited bandwidth for remote installations and management, but the company can use Click-to-Run to manage bandwidth utilization by streaming installations and updates. Plus, employees can remain
productive during installations because the Office applications can be used while Office is being installed.
In the future, managers will continue to rely on Click-to-Run to deliver Office updates so that they can continue to work with the latest Office capabilities. “Click-to-Run also provides huge benefits for updates because we only have to update our distribution
points and the Office clients then get updated automatically,” adds Roux.
Supports Flexible Licensing
L’Occitane is constantly opening new stores and sometimes closes stores or moves them to a new location, so the constant changes to user counts made licensing difficult to manage. The monthly licensing plans with Office 365 make it easier to add and
subtract users as required. “The licensing is very convenient for us because we can add or remove employees each month to match our needs,” says Roux. “We also know exactly what we are paying for each employee, which makes it easy for us to manage internal
chargebacks to the stores.”
In addition, L’Occitane can add and remove consultants and other temporary staff from Office 365 quickly “We have to create a lot of user accounts around the Christmas holidays, and it will be far easier to provision these accounts with Office 365,” says
If L’Occitane acquires a new company, it will also be easier to onboard the employees into the Office 365 solution. “Office 365 enables us to bring new employees into the cloud very quickly and very efficiently without having to plan for new hardware or
new software in our on-premises infrastructure. In terms of flexibility, it’s a real value,” says Roux.
Microsoft Office 365
The new Office provides anywhere access to your familiar Office applications—plus email, calendar, videoconferencing, and your most current documents—on almost any device, from PCs to smartphones to tablets.
For more information about Microsoft Office 365, go to:
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