2 page Case Study
Posted: 7/26/2010
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Crystal Group Crystal Group Boosts Collaboration and Content Management with SharePoint Server 2010

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* SharePoint Server 2010 includes improvements that clearly meet the needs of our business … We were particularly impressed by enhancements to information sharing, support for ECM [Enterprise Content Management], and search and document retrieval. *

Karl Ting
General Manager, Information Services
Crystal Group

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Business Needs

Started as a small garment manufacturer in Hong Kong in 1970, Crystal Group now has 38,000 employees in 20 facilities across eight countries, and produces 200 million garments annually. In 2009, sales revenue was approximately US$1 billion.

The large scale and broad geographical reach of Crystal Group’s business has created significant complexities in terms of document management. Globally, the company engages in more than 100,000 transactions a day, which results in a vast amount of document generation. “Transaction documents are the lifeblood of our business,” says Ting. “We need the best and most flexible tools available to manage them as efficiently as possible. Our success depends on speed, so this is mission critical.”

Equally important is the ability to share documents across departments and borders. “Many of our business processes and projects are international,” says Ting. “We also have a lot of people on the road at any given time. Paper-based document processes hold us back in terms of collaboration.”

Crystal Group has also set improved knowledge management as a goal. “With a long history and a large workforce, our collective knowledge has become a crucial asset,” says Ting. “It has been increasingly important to put in place the tools and processes necessary to protect that asset.”

Solution

Microsoft has been a strategic partner of Crystal Group for several years, and the manufacturer is standardized on a Microsoft platform. Previously, Crystal Group had been using Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Server 2007 for content management, enterprise search and information sharing.

“We had been satisfied with SharePoint Server 2007, but SharePoint Server 2010 includes improvements that clearly meet the needs of our business,” says Ting. “We were particularly impressed by enhancements to information sharing, support for ECM [Enterprise Content Management], and search and document retrieval.”

In 2010 Crystal Group, with support from Microsoft partner Atos Origin, became an early-adopter of Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.

Benefits

Karl Ting, General Manager, Information Services, Crystal Group
Karl Ting, General Manager,
Information Services, Crystal Group
More powerful search; Search has always been a challenge for us,” says Ting. “Our customers demand fast retrieval of documents and the power of our search tool has a direct impact on the speed of our internal processes. SharePoint Server 2010 has a much more powerful search engine, enabling significant improvements in the time it takes to retrieve documents.” He points out the document tagging feature as a key benefit. This feature captures documents with tags such as author, date, version and even custom-made property for faster retrieval.

Enhanced collaboration and faster approvals; Crystal Group cites the collaboration enhancements of SharePoint Server 2010 with giving the company a 20-30% productivity boost. “It really works across the PC, phone and browser, which is a huge boost to our mobile workforce,” say Ting in reference to Windows Mobile support for SharePoint Server 2010. Now, the company’s senior executives can review and approve documents wherever they travel. “Processes that used to take three to four days have been reduced to one, and in many cases just a matter of hours.” says Ting.

The wiki feature also helps the company address the challenge of enabling smooth collaboration between teams in different departments and countries. Additionally, multi-lingual support improves information flow in the multinational organization.

Crystal Group has also deployed Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, allowing them to take advantage of Branch Cache technology. “These different products work really well together,” says Ting. “For example, with Brach Cache, our employees in remote offices can quickly download large-size files from SharePoint and can continue to work even if the Internet is down. This also helps to save costs as bandwidth is still quite expensive in some countries.”

Improved knowledge management; SharePoint Server 2010 provides basic templates that enable Crystal Group to rapidly build up portal sites for different purposes, including a centralized knowledge management site. “Now, with version control, history tracking and improved inter-office collaboration, it is possible for us to achieve a Single Source of Truth [SSOT],” says Ting.

Ubiquitous business intelligence; Ting credits the business intelligence features of Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010 with reducing business decision-making time by 20%. “The integration of business intelligence capabilities into these products is something Microsoft has done really well,” he says. “Tools such as Excel 2010 provide self-service business intelligence capabilities to users of all levels. In particular, the PowerPivot enables our employees to analyze a massive amount of data and they can view and present the data analysis in a broad range of stunning visual formats. What’s more, when part of the data is changed, the entire interface follows to reflect the outcome of one change on the whole scenario.”

Simplified IT administration; Deployment of Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010 has been made easier, with the options of on-premise and through the cloud. The addition of Visio 2010 Premium has improved workflow development. Faster and easier document retrieval as well as multi-lingual support has also reduced calls to Crystal Group’s help desk, freeing up IT staff to focus on infrastructure development.

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the customer hotline at (852) 2388-9600. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: http://www.microsoft.com/hk

Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 is designed to deliver the best productivity experience across the PC, phone and browser; help people work better together across time zones and geographies; and give them new capabilities to bring their ideas to life with text, video and images. With Office 2010, you’re connected and in control, getting things done and producing amazing results however and wherever you work best. For more information, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/office/2010

Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010

Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 is the business collaboration platform for the enterprise and the Web that connects and empowers people, enables cost cuttings with a unified infrastructure, and allows users to rapidly respond to business needs with powerful enhancements to search and document retrieval capabilities. For more information, please visit http://sharepoint.microsoft.com

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 38000 employees

Organization Profile
Crystal Group has 20 facilities across eight countries and produces 200 million garments annually. In 2009, sales revenue was approximately US$1 billion.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
  • Microsoft Office 2010 Suites

Vertical Industries
Manufacturing & Resources

Country/Region
Hong Kong SAR

Business Need
Business Intelligence and Reporting

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Atos Origin

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