4-page Case Study
Posted: 6/24/2011
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BabyBloem Kids’ Clothing Firm Cuts Collaboration Costs with Cloud-Based Productivity Solution

“It’s so easy to communicate now. I can turn my computer on and see when China’s online. With just one click, I can ask them a question. Office 365 makes the world more accessible.”
Hermi Valk, Owner, BabyBloem

Netherlands-based clothing firm BabyBloem needed an efficient way to communicate and collaborate with overseas partners. Using Microsoft Office 365, BabyBloem employees access and edit documents centrally, use presence awareness to see when the Chinese manufacturer is online, and move from instant messaging to video conferencing with just a few clicks.

Business Needs

Launched in 2007, Netherlands-based BabyBloem designs baby clothes made from environmentally responsible fabric, with zipper closures that make it quick and easy to dress and undress active, growing infants. The company manufactures its designs in China and resells them to small retailers in the Netherlands, and also sells clothing directly to customers online.

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* Now we can find data right away—in email, documents, and spreadsheets. We can access information from an iPad or iPhone; our productivity follows us wherever or however we want to work.  *

Hermi Valk
Owner
BabyBloem

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Collaboration is the heart of this company. BabyBloem’s three employees are extremely mobile workers, working sporadic hours from varied locations, from home and on the road. Employees exchanged documents through email, and shipped samples to test quality and make adjustments. BabyBloem Owner Hermi Valk traveled to China four times a year, and the company spent €300 monthly on long-distance telephone calls.

Employees worked in Google Apps, and found it difficult to use, especially when searching for content, performing mail merges, or reusing existing text and Microsoft Excel tables to create new proposals. When employees converted Microsoft Word documents into Google Apps, they often lost formatting and content.

Employees stored files on their laptops and manually backed up documents. Valk’s backup disk failed once, and she lost two days’ worth of work. With no in-house IT staff, employees were responsible for updating their own antivirus software. If someone forgot to update, or an update failed, the entire company could be at risk for malware attacks.

BabyBloem wanted a collaboration solution to help cut telephone and travel time and expenses. The company also wanted to improve its data security, along with access to (and storage of) documents.

Solution
In May 2011, BabyBloem switched to Office 365 for professionals and small businesses. IT partner Wortell built the company a new website and extranet using design tools in Office 365 (which are not available in Google Apps), powered by Microsoft SharePoint Online, and connected the website to BabyBloem’s existing e-commerce platform.

For collaboration, BabyBloem employees and partners use a standard Internet connection to access SharePoint Online through a password-protected portal, where they can use the collaboration features to search, store, and edit documents in a shared environment. This enables them to collaborate and make fast decisions without being encumbered by the delays of postal mail, email, and telephone.

With Office 365, the BabyBloem staff members were able to overcome their search frustration with Google Apps by searching across files and email messages to locate content quickly. And because there was no longer any need to convert Microsoft Word files to a different system, the content retained all of its original formatting.

Automated backup is included with Office 365, so BabyBloem no longer has the risk of losing business-critical data or content due to a missed or failed manual backup. The always-up-to-date antivirus and anti-spam solutions included in Office 365 release Valk and her team from the burden of individually tracking and implementing updates to their malware protection.

The audio/video calling powered by Microsoft Lync Online gives BabyBloem employees more flexibility to interact with partners and each other without the added expense of long-distance phone bills and international travel. Lync Online enables them to see instantly if users in China are online, chat via IM, make computer-to-computer calls, and switch to voice or video conferencing with just a few clicks.

Benefits

BabyBloem expects to cut collaboration expenses in half and improve productivity. The company will benefit from:

Improved collaboration. Valk appreciates being able to move from an IM conversation to a video conference or online meeting: “I can take a look at a garment in China and quickly see if the work has been done correctly, without waiting for them to ship me a sample. It makes our approval process easier.” In addition, BabyBloem estimates that the solution will cut travel, shipping, and long-distance telephone expenses by 50 percent. Valk adds, “It’s so easy to communicate now. I can turn my computer on and see when China’s online. With just one click, I can ask them a question. Office 365 makes the world more accessible.”

Better access. BabyBloem employees can work from home or from the road. If an Internet connection is unavailable, they can also work offline, and their document libraries in SharePoint Workspace automatically synchronize when they reconnect. Documents are stored in a single online workspace, so no time is wasted sending files back and forth—or editing an outdated document. Valk says, “Now we can find data right away—in email, documents, and spreadsheets. We can access information from an iPad or iPhone; our productivity follows us wherever or however we want to work.”

Ease of use. Office 365 offers the familiar experience of the productivity applications BabyBloem employees are already comfortable with. Now, employees can reuse text and tables, documents and images render correctly, and mail merges go smoothly. Danny Burlage, CTO and Founder of Microsoft solution provider Wortell, adds that he could not have built the BabyBloem website and connected the existing e-commerce platform to it using Google Apps.

Secure and reliable features. Office 365 offers automatic security updates, and data is automatically backed up and stored with enterprise-grade reliability, disaster recovery capabilities, geo-redundant datacenters, and a strict privacy policy. Valk sums up, “Microsoft can do a much better job than we ever could of backing up our data and securing our environment, so I am very comfortable using Office 365 for my business.”

Microsoft Office 365
Office 365 helps save time and money, and it frees up valued resources. Simple to use and easy to administer, it is financially backed by a service level agreement that guarantee 99 percent reliability. Office 365 features robust security, IT-level phone support, geo-redundancy, disaster recovery, and the business-class privacy controls and standards that you expect from a world-class service provider.

For more information about Microsoft Office 365, go to:
www.office365.com

For more information about BabyBloem products and services, visit the website at:

www.babybloem.nl


For more information about Wortell products and services, visit the website at:

www.wortell.nl/


Software and Services
Microsoft Office 365

• Microsoft Exchange Online
• Microsoft Lync Online
• Microsoft Office Web Apps
• Microsoft SharePoint Online
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 3 employees

Organization Profile
Netherlands-based virtual wholesale company BabyBloem designs and sells baby clothing. Working from home and the road, its three employees collaborate with each other and their manufacturer in China.

Business Situation
BabyBloem wanted a collaboration solution to help cut telephone and travel time and expenses. The company also wanted to improve its data security, along with access to (and storage of) documents.

Solution
IT partner Wortell built the company a new website and extranet using design tools in Office 365 powered by Microsoft SharePoint Online, and connected the website to BabyBloem’s existing e-commerce platform.

Benefits
• Lowers overhead by 50% • Improves collaboration by 30% • Increases productivity by 30%

Software and Services
Microsoft Office 365 for small businesses

Vertical Industries
Consumer Goods

Country/Region
  • Netherlands
  • United States

Business Need
  • Collaboration
  • Cloud & Server Platform
  • Data Protection and Recovery
  • Data Management

IT Issue
Cloud Services

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Wortell

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