Thursday, September 20, 2012
Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Ronen Lapidot, Senior Vice President of Information Technology at Perry Ellis International, a designer, distributor and licensor of apparel and accessories for men and women. Perry Ellis International joins other retail organizations in going Google. See what they have to say.
Far from a typical fashion house, our apparel spans a variety of categories including men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, children’s apparel, even evening gowns for the red carpet. In total, we manage a portfolio of some of the best known brands in fashion, including Perry Ellis®, Original Penguin®, Jantzen®, Laundry by Shelli Segal®, Nike® Swim, Callaway® and more. With 2,600 associates spanning across 65 store locations and 30 offices worldwide, we rely on technology to stay connected.
The increasingly fast-paced global economy of the past several years has made it even more important to be able to work together efficiently, act quickly and share information across the company to help us all understand the state of the business and act as one global team. We were using a popular, premise based email solution, but with so many offices around the world, we knew the only way to keep our brand fresh and our business agile was to move to the cloud.
With the help of Cloud Sherpas, we moved the entire company to Google Apps. Now our global teams are able to connect through Gmail’s video chat feature to meet “face to face” about upcoming projects, designs and merchandise. With so many offices in different time zones, it’s great to be able to give our associates the option to work where they’re comfortable, even if it’s just going home to have dinner with their families before a jumping on a video chat with colleagues in China or Indonesia. This has been especially helpful for offices with eight or ten hour time differences between them and has made us feel more like one cohesive team instead of siloed offices.
Being able to work together easily across offices not only brings the team closer together, it also saves significant time and costs. We recently opened two international offices in Indonesia and Bangladesh. Usually I travel to each location for weeks at a time to interview and hire employees and oversee the regional office openings. With Google Apps, we were able to interview job candidates via video chat and work with regional managers on important policies and resources that needed to be in place for these new offices and associates. I was elated to discover that what normally takes significant travel time and costs could be done right from my desk. I sat there amazed as I watched documents fill in with information from my colleagues across the world. I think that’s when I realized we were all going to be able to do things very differently, now that we were in the cloud.