4-page Case Study
Posted: 7/25/2012
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Icebreaker New Zealand Clothing Company Unifies its IT Solutions in the Cloud

Being able to hand off management of global document sharing and calendaring to Office 365 allows us to focus on those areas that are a key to our business moving forward.

Andrew Swaine, IT Manager, Icebreaker

Icebreaker, a New Zealand-based company that manufactures popular outdoor and active wear, has eight global offices and distributes to stores in 43 countries. Its 320 corporate employees struggled with an overloaded and unreliable server for internal communications, document management, and calendaring solutions. Relying heavily on email, shared drives, and Skype to collaborate and communicate was slowing down deployment of important initiatives and creating confusion and redundancy during a major growth push.

Microsoft Office 365 ensured that Icebreaker would have a single reliable, accessible, and intuitive platform for its company's first intranet. The implementation was deployed quickly, resulting in easier international collaboration, significant time savings for both employees and IT managers, and a single, unified solution for delivery of internal scheduling, project, and other critical corporate data.


Icebreaker is a designer and manufacturer of fine merino-wool underwear and other clothing. The company, based in Wellington, New Zealand, distributes to stores in 43 countries and has 320 employees in eight corporate offices around the world. Its products are in high demand, because of their high quality and because of the company's commitment to sustainable farming and cruelty-free manufacturing practices.

* We’re saving about $120,000 a year on IT costs alone, plus we’re seeing significant savings in employee man-hours as well. *

Andrew Swaine
IT Manager

As the company embraced a big growth arc, its employees struggled with legacy servers in each country, with no single solution for document storage, collaboration, or sharing scheduling information. This resulted in unreliable communications among its offices, confusion over document version control, and little visibility into when employees were available or away, or what corporate plans and other global offices were working on.

"The share drive became a dumping ground, so it was difficult for staff to find relevant information, and to access when employees were away from the office," says Andrew Swaine, IT Manager at Icebreaker. The small IT staff also struggled to assist employees with slow, unreliable file download times.

The company needed to build an intranet to unite all its employees wherever they were, with a responsive, efficient IT solution. Icebreaker wanted a solution that would enable workers to collaborate on documents together easily and communicate reliably, with no down time. And it wanted a solution that would be familiar, professional, and easy to learn and launch.


When Icebreaker decided it wanted an intranet to unite its far-flung workforce, it worked with KnowledgeCue, a Microsoft Partner based in Wellington, and DNA, a creative agency. Mark Orange, Director of Strategy and Innovation at KnowledgeCue, says that because of the tight timeline, and because Icebreaker wanted the ability to incorporate creative design into its intranet, he agreed with Icebreaker that the company should migrate to Microsoft Office 365. Orange and Icebreaker also wanted a reliable, fast, cloud-based solution for its IT needs, and Office 365 unites familiar Microsoft Office applications with email, calendaring, collaboration, and communication solutions.

In October 2011, the company began its transition to Office 365. The cloud-based solution meant the company could eliminate using its inefficient servers. "SharePoint Online provides the familiar collaboration, publishing, document management, and search features we need," says Brooke Riley, Intranet and Social Media Manager at Icebreaker. "But we did not have to buy, deploy, or manage any SharePoint servers," a significant savings to the company. The intranet launched smoothly worldwide across eight offices in April 2012.

By deploying Office 365 as a single solution for its collaboration and internal employee information needs, Icebreaker has enabled its employees to easily contact each other, to quickly download important files, and to collaborate professionally around the world.

"I would definitely recommend Office 365," says Andrew Swaine, IT Manager at Icebreaker. "Being able to hand off management of global document sharing and calendaring to Office 365 allows us to focus on those areas that are a key to moving forward—especially a business that is growing." Swaine says the company is realizing meaningful savings with Office 365. “We’re saving about $120,000 a year on IT costs alone, plus we’re seeing significant savings in employee man-hours as well,” he says.

Icebreaker has been so pleased with the Microsoft SharePoint Online solutions in Office 365 that it plans to integrate Microsoft Lync Online and Exchange Online to add video chatting, email, instant messaging, and online meetings in the near future.

* SharePoint Online provides the familiar collaboration, publishing, document management, and search features we need. *

Brooke Riley
Intranet and Social Media Manager


With Office 365, Icebreaker will improve its critical internal communications, collaboration and document sharing among global offices, the sharing of key information including calendaring, and save money with a single IT solution in the cloud.

More Reliable Internal Sharing

Using Office 365 SharePoint Online, Icebreaker can rely on a single, intuitive solution for its new intranet, helping connect its global employees during its growth period. The ease of sharing project, document, and scheduling information means there will be no frustrating delays between offices, and employees will always have immediate access to the latest business-critical internal data.

Streamlined, Professional Collaboration

SharePoint Online enables employees to collaborate easily on documents and projects, without worrying about duplication of effort or version control issues. A single, cloud-based solution means elimination of individual server issues and vulnerabilities, with more professional results.

More Efficient Use of IT Resources

With the Microsoft 99.9 percent uptime guarantee, Icebreaker's small IT department can focus on helping the offices work efficiently, and not on continually trouble-shooting problems endemic to its old setup. Office 365 is scalable, and offers a single IT solution for calendaring, collaboration, document storage, order shipments, and more, so the company can realize significant savings in time and money.

Using Office 365 for its intranet and other communication and collaboration needs, Icebreaker can make sure all its employees are on the same page as it continues to grow the company worldwide. Employees can work on their projects more efficiently, and stay in touch more easily, with its single scalable, cloud-based IT solution. That means it can focus on what it does best: designing and selling quality wool clothing for a growing customer base.

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 brings together cloud versions of our most trusted communications and collaboration products—Microsoft SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online—with the latest version of our Office desktop suite and companion web applications for businesses of all sizes.

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 guaranteeing 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:


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


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


This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview

Organization Size: 350 employees

Organization Profile

Icebreaker is a New Zealand-based manufacturer of high-end merino wool clothing, with eight corporate offices worldwide and distributes to retail outlets in 43 countries.

Business Situation

Icebreaker employees were challenged by multiple, unreliable solutions for collaborating and managing documents between offices, and with receiving and sharing important company information.


With Microsoft Office 365, Icebreaker has a new, reliable and intuitive intranet that connects its employees worldwide and saves employees and the IT department significant time and money.


  • Better collaboration
  • Saved $120,000 a year
  • Reliable IT solutions

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Exchange Online
  • Lync Online
  • SharePoint Online

Vertical Industries
Retail and Consumer Goods

New Zealand

Business Need
Business Productivity