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Hunter Douglas

A window of opportunity: Hunter Douglas goes Google

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Editor's Note:We're pleased to welcome guest blogger Brian Hobbs, IT Director of Hunter Douglas. Headquartered in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Hunter Douglas is the leading manufacturer of custom-made window fashions in North America. Learn more about other organizations that have gone Google on our community map or test drive life in the cloud with the Go Google Cloud Calculator.

For more than 60 years, starting with our invention of the aluminum venetian blind in 1946, we have been designing custom window fashions for our customers, based on personal consultations and measurements. At Hunter Douglas quality and innovation are very important to us. We knew when we started looking at Google Apps that we’d be getting both.

Prior to moving 3,000 employees to Google Apps, we were using Novell Groupwise for email and calendar services, but this presented numerous challenges. First, Groupwise didn’t integrate easily with other applications. To continue to grow and work in more than 30 offices and plants across North America, we needed a platform that we could build on. We were also lacking the access and mobility that a good web application provides. Our employees wanted to easily access their email and calendars while on the road and out of the office with no disruption. Providing mobile access was a priority for us. Reliability and business continuity were also a concern. We were managing email servers at each of our locations and we knew if a server went down, business would stop until we were able to bring it back up. That wasn’t something we wanted to worry about. Finally, total cost of ownership was far less with Google Apps. Our return on investment is just over one year. The money we were able to save by switching to Google’s secure, web-based products combined with the value of Google Apps makes for a real win.

We’re just getting started with Google Apps, but already our employees have so much more flexibility now that all of their information is on the web. Because so many employees were already Gmail users, the transition has been extremely smooth. Plus, we’ve had the help of Google Apps reseller, Cloud Sherpas, to assist with deployment and provide materials and documentation for employees who are a bit less savvy when it comes to new technology.

Our IT Department is happy because now they can focus on more strategic projects instead of just maintaining servers, and our employees are happy because Google Apps is easy to use and accessible from any computer or mobile device. We’re happy to say that Hunter Douglas has gone Google.

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