Accelerated digital transformation keeps the focus on connection

Guillevin International is a wholesale distributor of electrical and safety equipment for the construction industry, and they’ve built their business on close customer relationships. When the pandemic hit, they needed to enable remote work quickly and accelerate a digital transformation that was already underway. But they didn’t want to lose either their person-to-person culture or the authentic customer connections that have been the core of their success. 

By leveraging Office 365, Microsoft Teams, and the Azure platform (alongside an in-progress ERP rollout with Epicor), they were able to implement a complete digital transformation. As a result, they’ve increased business process efficiencies and offered their team the ability to work from anywhere. They’ve also been able to up-level their customer service through technology and continue to build, nurture, and retain strong relationships with their clients along the way.  

“We have to keep our culture in place, but we have to keep up with the times. It’s by this combination of technology [that we do it], but [we must] also make sure that we stay true to our values.” Laurent Renaud, Vice President of IT, Guillevin International 

Ramping up quickly to improved efficiency and security 

Guillevin’s aging IT environment posed security concerns and a significant challenge to remote work. When the pandemic forced everyone to work from home and limited in-person communication—and with Guillevin’s transactions relying heavily on paper-based processes and face-to-face conversations—the business was at risk of stalling out. Time was of the essence; their digital transformation had to ramp up fast. 

Since Guillevin was already heavily invested in and familiar with Microsoft tools, selecting Azure over other cloud solutions was an easy decision. The IT team especially recognized the benefit of having all their tools on one integrated system. And they also valued the close relationship they had with their local partner Groupe Access, who helped them build out the environment. 

Ease of transition makes for rapid transformation 

Guillevin’s full migration to Azure should be complete in 2022, and user adoption has been a key focus. Given the quick turnaround necessary to enable remote work, the Guillevin IT team didn’t have a lot of time to train their employees. Fortunately, they didn’t need it.  

So far, the ease of Office 365 has made a seamless transition possible for employees that needed to ramp up quickly. Now they’re smoothly sharing documents, integrating calendars with Outlook, booking meetings, and chatting online via Teams.  

By allowing employees to get started on their own with an intuitive system, Guillevin began driving efficiencies right from the start. What’s more, the whole team worked together to identify new features and functionality they could unlock for future use.  

Now, Guillevin customers are also reaping the benefits of digital transformation through electronic invoicing, as well as more efficient ordering and tracking processes. And Teams has also been a vital tool for driving connection from anywhere.   

“What we are building now is going to support and allow the company to grow even faster than it did in the past. You have to be able to move quick, make acquisitions, onboard people into your culture, systems, and processes, and I’m very excited with the recipe we have here.”  Laurent Renaud, Vice President of IT, Guillevin International 

Staying true to their values while keeping up with the times 

Thanks to its accelerated digital transformation, Guillevin has been able to streamline their acquisition process and onboard new employees more quickly than ever before. And as people begin returning to the office, they’ll be better prepared for a hybrid work model that’s more effective for both their team and their customers. 

Now, armed with new technologies to make their business more efficient, flexible, and secure, their goal is to stay true to the relationship model upon which Guillevin built its success. The company is finding that rather than acting as an impediment to that goal, digital transformation via their partnership with Microsoft is helping to make it happen.  

“Customers don’t want to lose the relationships. They want to talk with someone who knows exactly what their needs are. But at the same time, they want more efficiency when it comes to doing business. They don’t want a paper invoice; they want an electronic one. Ordering and tracking online helps them see where their order is from their phone … so we get to modernize and still keep our DNA.” Laurent Renaud, Vice President of IT, Guillevin International 

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