Thriving Japanese innovator finds future-proof flexibility and enhanced security with Microsoft 365 Business
Dream Factory supports a culture of innovation. The Japanese company builds successful businesses in categories that range from warehousing to body care products. But the runaway success of its Doctor Air brand threatened to turn the company’s dream into a nightmare as it exposed critical gaps in infrastructure, operations, and even IT planning. This resulted in a dramatic shift in how Dream Factory makes IT investment decisions and ultimately led it to select Microsoft 365 Business for improved team collaboration and flexibility for continued growth.
Japan-based Dream Factory is the thriving home of multiple successful businesses, each with its own unique focus. It launched a product line, Doctor Air, in 2013 to manufacture, sell, and distribute massage devices and sports equipment both under its own name and as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM). It became an instant success, with demand driving expansion into multiple retail locations in Japan and its OEM products being shipped to countries around the world.
According to Ryuji Miyagi, Director of Corporate Affairs at Dream Factory, this success revealed critical gaps in the company’s infrastructure. “As the number of locations grew, we realized that reducing risk and streamlining our IT infrastructure had to be our top priority,” he says. “Without careful management, the growth and success of Doctor Air wouldn’t be sustainable.”
Miyagi and his team embarked on a company-wide examination of their IT environment and business needs. Senior executives already used a third-party cloud solution, but it was lacking in several areas, including future-proof flexibility, mobile device management, and convenient and secure collaboration. Dream Factory ultimately chose Microsoft 365 Business for its comprehensive set of cloud-based services.
Future-proofing an IT investment
One side effect of the company’s dynamic business model was the difficulty it posed for long-term strategic IT planning. “We had previously invested in several IT systems as we entered into new business endeavors and expanded in scale,” says Masaki Niwa, Manager, Information Systems Department, at Dream Factory. “But nearly all of them proved only temporarily effective.”
According to Niwa, Microsoft 365 Business was unique in that it offered the reliability, scalability, and flexibility the team needed, while reducing the overhead of managing their own systems. “With Microsoft 365 Business, there are no worries about server hardware life cycles, since the system is in the cloud, and the number of licenses can simply be changed when staffing increases or decreases,” he says.
Safeguarding information without discouraging collaboration
To stay productive, Dream Factory employees need to be able to easily collaborate and share information. Leaders understood, however, that imposing burdensome security procedures could stifle collaboration or lead employees to go outside the corporate infrastructure and use free third-party services to communicate. According to Miyagi, one of the strengths of Microsoft 365 Business is how convenient it is to share information, thereby helping keep critical data safely within the corporate IT infrastructure.
“Microsoft 365 Business has a complete array of convenient features, such as Microsoft Teams as a digital hub for teamwork, online meetings and video calls, and OneDrive for Business, which supports internal and external document sharing,” Miyagi says.
Managing mobile devices across dispersed teams
It should come as no surprise that a fast-paced and geographically distributed company such as Dream Factory finds mobile devices increasingly important to its daily operations. Employees use iPhones for email communications and to view vital business documents.
Of course, the strength of a mobile device is also its greatest weakness: mobility. Particularly unexpected mobility occurs when a device containing valuable corporate data is lost, stolen, or damaged. Dream Factory uses Microsoft Intune, included in Microsoft 365 Business, for mobile device management. “We needed a solution that would help us prevent leaks of internal information from devices that were dropped or left somewhere,” says Tadanobu Takahashi, Senior Manager at Dream Factory.
At a creative enterprise such as Dream Factory, leaders often wear multiple hats. Like leaders at medium-sized businesses all over the world, they continually have to balance required “cost center” tasks that maintain operations with more valuable “profit center” tasks that help drive the business forward.
IT pros in the Information Systems Department, like Atashi Unigame and Takanori Nose, can now focus more on high-value tasks because of efficiencies gained with Microsoft 365 Business. One example they cite is managing user access across different systems. “The difference is huge,” says Unigame. “Work that used to take half a day or more now gets done in 20 to 30 minutes. For those of us who manage IT concurrently with other responsibilities, this change is extremely welcome.”
Dreaming up what’s next
Now that Dream Factory has achieved its security, collaboration, and mobile device management goals, executives are confident that the company is not only poised to support the ongoing success of Doctor Air, but also to pursue its next high-performing venture. Miyagi smiles as he sums up his team’s collective view by saying, “Microsoft 365 Business has vast possibilities.” And for a company like Dream Factory, that is high praise indeed.
Find out more about Dream Factory.
We have built an IT environment that is on par with that of major companies, at a low cost and in a short time. For us, Microsoft 365 Business is ideal.