Louis Vuitton: building on a global culture of tradition and innovation

Today’s post about Office 365 was written by Franck Le Moal, chief information officer at Louis Vuitton.

Louis V pro pixI joined Louis Vuitton some years ago, and I still have the same passion for the company today as I did then—it is a fantastic, creative place that mixes innovation and modernity with history. My goal as CIO hasn’t changed drastically either: to deliver the best applications and IT tools to everyone at Vuitton, so we can work together to design, manufacture and distribute our products with a 100 percent focus on the customer.

This tradition of customer service is the same now as it was in the 1850s, when Louis Vuitton honed his craft designing custom boxes and trunks according to clients’ wishes. We have the same spirit of innovation as we did in 1886, when Louis and his son, Georges, developed a revolutionary new lock to safeguard the goods inside their customers’ travel pieces. And we have survived the changing world of fashion for more than 150 years because we are agile and responsive. The applications and IT tools I bring to the company have to reinforce these qualities. That’s why Microsoft Office 365 has a place in the world of Louis Vuitton Malletier.

We were first using Office 365 as a key pillar in a global collaboration initiative supporting our 6,000 sales associates working in 460 Louis Vuitton stores in 65 countries. Our associates develop close relationships with our customers, and Office 365 comes into play by helping them communicate with colleagues across the business to stay informed about our products. Customers in the luxury retail market know a great deal about what they buy—they visit our website, and they pay attention to social media. So it’s critical for our associates to talk to customers at that level, and there’s a lot for them to learn: we have many SKUs for leather goods alone, and we launch four different collections a year in shoes and ready-to-wear. Office 365 is a great, agile platform that we use to support daily exchanges between our merchandising and store teams.

Office 365 is just as important in supporting collaboration between the designers and artisans who continue the tradition of excellence and craftsmanship at Louis Vuitton. Previously, we didn’t have one integrated platform for sharing design ideas and innovative practices easily among the 4,000 artisans who work together to deliver the best products to our customers. I love that we maintain the practice of collaborative craftsmanship at our 17 factories and ateliers across France but use Office 365 to speed up idea sharing—where to find a certain leather, for example, or how to improve on a pattern or refine the design of a buckle—to deliver better products more quickly. That’s a huge business benefit.

We also see Office 365 as essential in helping us remain agile in an evolving industry. For example, when a new product is launched, its first week in stores is critical for collecting feedback from our sales associates. Yammer, the social network in Office 365, will be an excellent way to share product feedback from our factory teams.

There’s another reason we value Office 365: as we grow globally, it enables us to address the risk of becoming too vertical in our operations. Reducing complexity and silos is key to staying agile, reactive and modern. For instance, in the past our staff had many different email addresses and many vertical tools; now everyone is united under the louisvuitton.com domain in a single collaborative platform. This reinforces that we are one company working in sync to deliver world-class customer service. With Office 365 at Vuitton, technology meets tradition—a winning combination that ensures our products and services continue to please our discriminating customers.

—Franck Le Moal