For Carglass, Lotus Notes offered too little in the way of possibilities and innovation, while technical support imposed a heavy burden on the IT department. It was one of the first companies in Belgium to switch over to Microsoft Office 365. With the help of IT partner Xylos and the migration tools of Quest, the changeover went quickly without a hitch, so that their own IT department could concentrate on apps and systems that help the company to perform even better.
Carglass, specialising in the repair and replacement of car windows, serves its customers in Belgium and Luxembourg in 44 Service Centres. To ensure that all those branches could keep in touch and work together smoothly and efficiently, they replaced the existing Lotus Notes system with a completely new, central communication platform.
“The software no longer met the needs of the business, which needed a more flexible tool", says Dirk Slechten, IT Operations Manager at Carglass. “What's more, maintaining the software was very time-consuming for our IT department. One full-time employee was just working on that all the time.”
From a number of alternatives, Carglass opted for Microsoft Office 365 – one of the first in Belgium to do so. This gives them various apps that make communication smoother, more efficient and more personal. In addition to the classic Office applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Office 365 includes the e-mail program Outlook, the SharePoint platform for document management and online collaboration, plus Skype for Business, which combines chat, telephone calls and video communications. Carglass engaged the services of IT partner Xylos for the smooth migration to the Microsoft platform.
“Our existing e-mail system had a very limited database volume, which meant we constantly had to archive everything. The transition to Outlook, where each user suddenly has 25 GB of storage space, was for that reason alone a real breath of fresh air. The familiar Microsoft interface is a big advantage as well”, says Slechten.
Carglass has not been able to establish measurable results yet. “But by embracing new apps such as video communications and chat, our staff now communicate more personally and confidentially, which in turn automatically creates trust”, Slechten explains. “Not just among colleagues, but also among partners and customers. This way, they can handle complex files and sensitive discussions faster and more efficiently.”
The IT guy who used to work with the Lotus Notes system is still on board, but now gets more exciting work to do. “Thanks to the transition to a cloud solution, the IT department is less involved with technical aspects and we can focus on finding products and services that can make the company even stronger", says Slechten.
The migration to the new communication platform went very smoothly, particularly because IT partner Xylos had brought along a number of tools. “We used Quest's Notes Migrator and Coexistence Manager”, says Slechten, “which meant that everything went almost automatically, with a couple of minimal exceptions. We were also delighted that Xylos helped us to do most of the work ourselves – to be sure, once their experts had set us on the right track.”
Carglass was entirely responsible for the change management involved in a migration like this. “That was quite a difficult choice”, Slechten remembers. “You know your own organisation best, but on the other hand you lack the expertise in the processes involved. In the end, we were very happy with that decision, because you always need change management. For example, our staff bring along their own devices to work and start using Dropbox or other Cloud services on their own. As an IT department, these are things you have to learn to deal with sensibly, of course.”
“Thanks to new tools such as video communication and chat, our employees now communicate in a more personal, confidential way and as a result those tools also create more trust among colleagues, partners and customers.”