Leroy Merlin Italia operates 47 home improvement stores across Italy, and a smoothly running email system is key to keeping employees connected and informed. Burdened with an on-premises email system that didn't meet its needs and required significant
IT resources for administration, the retailer decided to migrate its email to Microsoft Exchange Online, a cloud-based email solution that is part of Microsoft Office 365. In order to maximize the value of its Office 365 investment and gain deep expertise
for its transition to the cloud, Leroy Merlin engaged Microsoft Cloud Vantage Services. Its close collaboration with Microsoft helped the retailer to optimize its existing technology infrastructure, improve business processes, and develop a forward-thinking
technology roadmap that embraces new technologies and sales channels.
Leroy Merlin Italia is headquartered in Milan and operates 47 home improvement stores across Italy. The Leroy Merlin chain has stores in 13 countries worldwide, but each country's business operates as an autonomous unit, which includes planning, purchasing,
and maintaining IT systems. Leroy Merlin Italia employs 6,200 people at its headquarters and stores, and it offers its customers a portfolio of 80,000 products for all aspects of home design, repair, and decoration.
||It's reassuring to know that I can pick up the phone and speak to our Cloud Delivery Executive, who is very familiar with our particular business and technology needs.
| Arnaud Juet
Director of IT Support Services,
Leroy Merlin Italia
One key to the success of Leroy Merlin Italia is that in addition to its wide range of products, it also offers the services of a team of skilled technicians and craftspeople who can go to a customer's home and help with product installation. In order to maintain
its large network of stores, along with its varied product and service offerings, Leroy Merlin relies on a robust and well-managed IT infrastructure. Store employees use shared PCs to access item, inventory, and technician information while working with customers,
and each employee has an individual email account and is also part of an email group for the department and store. The company relies on these email groups to keep all employees up-to-date with important information.
Prior to 2011, Leroy Merlin was using a Sun Microsystems on-premises email system which was run and managed from the company's Milan data center. Due to the time and resource requirements necessary to maintain the system, the company began looking for an
alternative. “We weren't completely happy with our existing email system, and we really wanted something state of the art,” explains Arnaud Juet, Director of IT Support Services for Leroy Merlin Italia. “We decided that a cloud-based solution would be the
best choice to provide us with the security, stability, and availability that we need without the burden of managing it ourselves.”
Leroy Merlin already had a long history of using Microsoft products, including the Microsoft Office productivity suite and the Windows XP and Window 7 operating systems on its desktop machines, in addition to the Windows Server operating system in its data
center. In September 2011, the company moved its email to Microsoft Exchange Online, which was part of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite. In March 2012, the company migrated to Microsoft Office 365—the successor to Business Productivity
Online Standard Suite —with the help of IDC Solutions, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network with Gold competencies.
With its migration to Office 365 complete, Leroy Merlin began looking for ways to best utilize its cloud computing investment. The company also wanted to develop a technology roadmap that would help it embrace new and emerging technologies, improve existing
sales channels, and create new opportunities to serve its customers.
Leroy Merlin decided to strengthen its investment in Microsoft technology in several ways. First, the company chose to purchase an Enterprise Agreement to take advantage of volume licensing options, along with a Microsoft Services Premier Support contract.
Leroy Merlin also engaged Microsoft Cloud Vantage Services to help optimize its Office 365 deployment and establish a strong technology vision for the company's future. Cloud Vantage Services offers enterprise customers a smooth transition to the cloud and
helps them realize full business value from their Office 365 investments by providing deep cloud expertise, a single point of accountability, and ongoing collaboration across the full IT lifecycle.
||Cloud Vantage Services brought on board very skilled people who have helped us make the right decisions to take the company forward, from a technical perspective and from a business perspective.
| Arnaud Juet
Director of IT Support Services,
Leroy Merlin Italia
Cloud Vantage Services began working with Leroy Merlin in June 2012, and met with the retailer’s IT team to assess its needs and goals and to develop a communication plan. Microsoft assigned a Cloud Delivery Executive to work directly with Leroy Merlin
and serve as its single point of contact.
“In my IT management role, I don't have time to interact with many different people to address different technology issues, so I was very happy that I could deal with a single person for everything related to Office 365 and our technology planning,” says
Juet. “I was pleasantly surprised that a company as big as Microsoft can provide this sort of personal relationship. It's reassuring to know that I can pick up the phone and speak to our Cloud Delivery Executive, who is very familiar with our particular business
and technology needs.”
Optimizing Systems and Processes
One of Cloud Vantage Services’ first projects with Leroy Merlin was to assess the health of the company's existing Active Directory infrastructure to ensure optimal interoperation with Office 365. As part of its Active Directory Improvement Program,
the team analyzed the existing Active Directory, highlighted any risks and issues, and provided a plan for recovery and improvement. This assessment uncovered a few issues, and the Cloud Vantage Services technicians worked with the Leroy Merlin IT team to
address them and to fine-tune the Active Directory for the best possible performance.
Another early project was to develop an end-to-end mapping of services to help identify critical dependencies. Working with the Leroy Merlin IT team, Cloud Vantage Services modeled a visual chart of the company's on-premise IT infrastructure used to keep
the cloud-based Office 365 solution running smoothly. If there is a fault in a local system—such as within the server hosting the Active Directory—the Leroy Merlin IT team can now easily locate the problem and quickly understand the service consequences of
taking a particular system offline.
After evaluating the technology infrastructure, Cloud Vantage Services began working with Leroy Merlin to assess and improve the company's business processes through an Operations Strategic Review. Starting with a close look at how existing processes are
organized across the company, the team is developing a path of activities and remediation to help Leroy Merlin achieve its process improvement goals related to its core business.
Planning for the Future
In addition to making the most of its existing Exchange Online deployment, Leroy Merlin is working with Cloud Vantage Services to find ways that the company can receive even more value from its investment in Office 365. ”At Leroy Merlin, we have a
program that allows any employee to make suggestions for improving the business,” says Juet. “One such suggestion was to adopt Microsoft Lync Online as a tool to improve collaboration and to reduce travel budgets by enabling easy online conferencing. After
discussions with Cloud Vantage Services, we are currently doing an evaluation of Lync Online to find the best way to deploy it across the company.”
Leroy Merlin has also been tapping the expertise of the Cloud Vantage Services team as it looks for ways to embrace new technologies and sales platforms. “Cloud Vantage Services has really become a trusted partner, and we value their in-depth knowledge of
new technologies,” says Juet. “We're currently exploring with them ways our in-store employees can use mobile devices like Microsoft Surface tablets and Windows smartphones to provide even better customer service. Cloud Vantage Services is also helping us
develop our plans to expand and enhance our e-commerce presence.”
Throughout the engagement, Cloud Vantage Services is helping Leroy Merlin achieve its current goals while also helping the IT team members build their skill sets so they can tackle future projects on their own. “Unlike a consultancy relationship, we don't
just come in and do the work for the customer and leave,” says Marco Carrubba, the Microsoft Cloud Delivery Executive working with Leroy Martin. “We want our customers to be independent, so we collaborate closely with their IT team throughout the engagement,
so they know exactly what we're doing and why, and they become empowered to do it themselves.”
By engaging with Microsoft Cloud Vantage Services, Leroy Merlin Italia ensures that it is making the most of its investment in Office 365. The retailer has developed a strategic relationship with Microsoft that also helps it take full advantage of its
existing technology infrastructure. Leroy Merlin is using its collaboration with Cloud Vantage Services to develop future plans that will improve business processes and customer service.
Deep Business and Technology Expertise
||We have been very impressed with the vision Microsoft has for the future of cloud solutions, online collaboration, and mobile computing, and we feel very comfortable aligning our own technology roadmap with theirs.
| Arnaud Juet
Director of IT Support Services,
Leroy Merlin Italia
One of the strengths of Leroy Merlin is that it offers not only a wide array of products, but also skilled technicians who can help customers maximize the value of their purchases. The company's IT team was happy to find that this same level of expert
service is available from Microsoft.
“I had always thought of Microsoft as a company that was mostly about products," says Juet. “It was a pleasant surprise to learn that they can also provide highly knowledgeable experts to help us take full advantage of those products. Cloud Vantage Services
brought on board very skilled people who have helped us make the right decisions to take the company forward, from a technical perspective and from a business perspective.”
Personalized Service, Close Collaboration
A key to the ongoing success of the Cloud Vantage Services engagement at Leroy Merlin has been the strong relationship of trust that has formed between the company's IT team and the Cloud Vantage Services team. “I wasn't expecting a company as big
as Microsoft to devote the resources necessary to really customize its services for us,” says Juet. “But Cloud Vantage Services took the time to really understand our business and our day-to-day challenges. If I have a question, I trust that the team will
have the answer, or, if they don't, they'll find out and get back to me promptly. With Cloud Vantage Services, we get all the deep technical and business knowledge of Microsoft along with the customized, personalized service that I would expect from a small
Comprehensive Engagement for Present Needs and Future Planning
While Leroy Merlin originally engaged Cloud Vantage Services to optimize its investment in Office 365, the company has seen the value of the engagement in other areas as well. In addition to helping streamline its existing IT infrastructure, the assessments
and insights offered by Cloud Vantage Services are helping the retailer redesign its business and IT processes and chart a strong technology path going forward.
“We have been very impressed with the vision Microsoft has for the future of cloud solutions, online collaboration, and mobile computing, and we feel very comfortable aligning our own technology roadmap with theirs,” says Juet. “We particularly like that
this vision comes from a company that can back it up with strong products and excellent professional services. We believe this relationship will help us to better serve customers and enhance our business.”
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