4-page Case Study
Posted: 2/19/2013
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L'Occitane en Provence Retailer Improves Communications and Cuts Travel with Unified Communications

L'Occitane en Provence prides itself on producing personal care products from natural ingredients grown using traditional methods and is committed to limiting the impact of its actions and products on the environment. This commitment goes beyond its manufacturing processes as the company challenges all of its employees to reduce the environmental impact of their actions. One way the company does this is by providing effective communications tools that limit the need for employee travel. L’Occitane first deployed a Microsoft communications solution in 2007 and has upgraded with each new release to offer employees the latest communications capabilities. It has now deployed Microsoft Lync Server 2013 to provide voice, online meetings, instant messaging, and presence to its employees. Over the years, employees have reduced travel and improved the effectiveness of their communications.

Situation
L'Occitane en Provence manufactures beauty, fragrance, and skincare products for men and women. Since its inception 30 years ago, the company has become a global brand, employing 6,000 people and maintaining retail shops and franchises around the world.

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* We are impressed with the disaster recovery options for Lync Server 2013. They are easy to implement and provide fully redundant functionality. *

Stephen Roux
Infrastructure Manager, L'Occitane en Provence

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With teams in offices on three continents, L’Occitane has a complex operating environment that requires extensive communication and collaboration. Maintaining a global brand across its retail stores requires constant communications between the store designers and store managers. L’Occitane must also communicate with the farmers who produce the ingredients—lavender, olives, almonds, and honey from Provence; immortelle from Corsica; Shea butter from Burkina Faso; and many others—that it uses to create its products. The company must also stay in contact with the farmers to understand the health of the crops and timing of the harvests.

Email and phone communications were inadequate for the company’s communications needs. L’Occitane also wanted to help employees avoid unnecessary travel, so it started searching for other solutions. It deployed a room-based web conferencing solution, but found the demand exceeded the number of systems it could deploy within its budget. Finally, it found Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007. L’Occitane liked the unified communications solution, which provided voice, conferencing, instant messaging, and presence in addition to interoperation with Microsoft Office products.

L’Occitane has since upgraded its Microsoft communications solution with each new release to continue to provide intuitive communications capabilities to its employees. Currently L’Occitane uses Microsoft Lync Server 2010. Lync Server 2010 is deployed at three sites; at its headquarters in France, in New York, and in Hong Kong. These three sites provide conferencing and instant messaging services to 2,000 employees. The company also uses Lync Server telephony in New York and France.

“We keep up with communications technology because it is such an important part of day-to-day work for all of our employees,” says Stephen Roux, Infrastructure Manager at L’Occitane. “We want to improve the capabilities and user experience so they can work as efficiently as possible and minimize the company’s environmental impact.”

Solution
With this philosophy in mind, L’Occitane upgraded to Microsoft Lync Server 2013, which provides enhanced conferencing capabilities, more federation options, easier administration, and the option for hybrid cloud deployments with Microsoft Office 365 solutions.

Testing an Office 365 Hybrid Solution
L’Occitane has been testing the Office 365 hybrid deployment capabilities with its Lync Server 2013 deployment. With Lync Server 2013, L’Occitane can split employee accounts between their on-premises servers and Microsoft Lync Online accounts and use the same domain name for all accounts. Employees who use Lync Online will use voice capabilities through L’Occitane telephony solutions or through local telephony providers as part of Lync Online.

Providing Multiple Client Options
Through the Microsoft Lync 2013 client, L’Occitane employees have a single point of access to all of the Lync communications capabilities. They can also access capabilities such as instant messaging, click-to-call, and videoconferencing from Microsoft Office applications using the Lync contact card. To access contact cards, employees simply hover the mouse over a contact’s picture. This dynamic card displays a contact’s high resolution photo, their presence, status note, location, and organizational details.

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* Many of our employees meet with partners on a daily basis. Lync Web App provides a richer experience for these meetings. *

Stephen Roux
Infrastructure Manager, L'Occitane en Provence

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Lync Server 2013 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 also share a unified contact store. L’Occitane is upgrading to Exchange Server 2013 and likes the idea of having one consistent set of contact information shared across all of the Microsoft Office applications.

L’Occitane is also taking advantage of the ability to access persistent chat rooms from the Lync 2013 client. “Persistent chat fills a need for some of our project teams to share and store information,” says Stephen Roux. “Because employees can easily access persistent chat through the Lync client and they find it easy to use, it works better than some of our more complex project management options.”

The planned federation with Skype also fills a need for L’Occitane. “We were constantly being asked to provide Skype to so employees could call people outside the organization, but we could not support it,” says Stephen Roux. “Now our employees will be able to easily connect with our partners and suppliers who use Skype as their communications solution.”

Employees can also more easily invite partners and suppliers to online meetings through Microsoft Lync Web App, a browser based application that runs on most browsers on PCs or Apple Macintosh computers. It requires a simple browser plug-in that external meeting participants can install without administrator access. The meeting attendees receive full voice, video, and desktop sharing capabilities as if they had the Lync 2013 desktop client.

Deploying Enterprise Voice
L’Occitane had already deployed Lync enterprise voice in the United States and Europe through Lync Server 2010. With the deployment of Lync Server 2013, it will take advantage of the flexibility in configuring its connections to telephony service providers. The company can connect its Lync servers to multiple gateways and it can connect gateways to multiple Lync servers. With that additional flexibility, L’Occitane can implement least cost routing to help reduce phone charges by routing international phone calls to the destination country over the company network. The routing flexibility will also help with the deployment of Lync enterprise voice across Asia.

As part of the Lync 2013 deployment, L’Occitane tested new Lync-certified phones and headsets. It tested the Aastra 6725 IP phones in addition to a variety of headsets from Jabra. “The Aastra 6725 provides great audio quality and it runs Lync Phone Edition, which enables a full Lync client experience through the phone,” says Stephen Roux.

Expanding Conferencing Capabilities
Employees at L’Occitane use Lync conferencing capabilities to communicate between offices and with suppliers. With the enhanced videoconferencing capabilities of Lync Server 2013, more employees will take advantage of capabilities such as the gallery view, where they can see up to five video streams. Through those video streams, employees can see the reactions of others to the presentation, identify the active speaker, and associate names with faces. Employees can also initiate video calls from the contact card by hovering over a colleague’s name and selecting the video icon.

To enable all employees to take advantage of video conferencing from their desks, L’Occitane has distributed Logitech B910 high-definition web cameras. “The Logitech webcams are excellent, they provide great quality audio and video,” says Stephen Roux.

Deploying a Disaster Recovery Solution
Given the importance of Lync to the organization, L’Occitane is taking advantage of the disaster recovery options for Lync Server 2013. It currently has an enterprise pool deployed in France and one in the United States. They are linked so the company can fail over employees between the pools with no loss in functionality. L’Occitane is also using Microsoft SQL Server database mirroring to provide redundancy for backend data.

Benefits
L’Occitane has received benefits from Lync Server for many years. Because of the tight integration of telephony with email messaging, employees can quickly escalate email messages to voice calls and web conferences with just a few mouse clicks. For instance, if a sudden design change affects a store, a designer can set up an audio or video conference with an architect on the spot. These efficiencies help L’Occitane open stores faster and ensure that all design details are implemented correctly.

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* Because employees can easily access persistent chat through the Lync client and they find it easy to use, it works better than some of our more complex project management options. *

Stephen Roux
Infrastructure Manager, L'Occitane en Provence

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Features such as videoconferencing also help personalize company interactions, which are so important in cultivating strong relationships with growers. Last but not least, easy-to-use and readily available conferencing options reduce travel costs and minimize the environmental impact of the company.

Flexible Deployment Options
L’Occitane believes the ability to use a hybrid deployment model for Lync capabilities will help in many ways. “We see Lync Online as a way to integrate employees from newly acquired companies. We can add many employees quickly without worrying about deploying hardware,” says Stephen Roux. “We can also provide different levels of service with Lync Online and eliminate unnecessary costs. It provides a lot of flexibility as we can transition employees between Lync Server and Lync Online as our needs change.”

Enhanced User Experience
L’Occitane employees are enjoying the enhanced video conferencing capabilities. “Lync 2013 provides a better video experience with the gallery view. It’s much more like meeting in person,” says Stephen Roux. Since the video gallery is also available through Lync Web App, external attendees will have the same experience as employees using the Lync 2013 client. “Many of our employees meet with partners on a daily basis. Lync Web App provides a richer experience for these meetings,” says Stephen Roux.

Persistent chat provides teams with a simple method to track communications on small team projects. Teams can simply set up a room and begin sharing information. “Using a chat room for project communications is straightforward and requires fewer resources to manage and better provide better experience for employees,” says Stephen Roux.

Improved Availability
“We are impressed with the disaster recovery options for Lync Server 2013. They are easy to implement and provide fully redundant functionality,” says Stephen Roux. “After testing failover scenarios, we are confident that we will maintain our communications capabilities in the event of a data center failure.” Since Lync has become such an integral part of business communications, L’Occitane is comforted to know that it has a fully redundant solution.

Microsoft Lync Server 2013
Microsoft Lync Server 2013 ushers in a new connected user experience that transforms every communication into an interaction that is more collaborative and engaging—and that is accessible from anywhere. For IT, the benefits are equally powerful, with a highly secure and reliable communications system that works with existing tools and systems for easier management, lower cost of ownership, smoother deployment and migration, and greater choice and flexibility.

For more information about Microsoft Lync Server 2013, go to:
www.microsoft.com/lync

For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
www.microsoft.com

For more information about L'Occitane en Provence products visit the website at:
www.loccitane.com

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 6000 employees

Organization Profile

L'Occitane en Provence, founded in 1976, is an international retailer based in Manosque, France. It also has offices in New York and Hong Kong that support a chain of retail operations around the world.


Business Situation

L’Occitane wanted to improve both internal and external communications and reduce the environmental impact of its employees.


Solution

L’Occitane deployed Microsoft Lync Server 2013 to provide conferencing, voice, instant messaging, and presence capabilities.


Benefits

  • Improved business processes
  • Reduced travel
  • Flexible deployment options
  • Enhanced user experience
  • Improved availability


Software and Services
  • Microsoft Lync Server 2013
  • Microsoft Lync 2013
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
  • Microsoft Outlook 2013

Vertical Industries
Health & Personal Care

Country/Region
France

Business Need
  • Business Productivity
  • Unified Communications

IT Issue
Personal Productivity

Languages
English

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