Starting out as a catalogue mail-order company, Globetrotter has grown to become one of Europe's leading outdoor retailers, with over 1,000 employees across six outlets in major German cities. In addition to its catalogue business and stores, it also runs an online shop, and has won several major retail sector awards. Globetrotter generates annual revenues of €192 million.
With a growing business, Globetrotter wanted to modernise its IT systems to improve robustness and scalability. Its existing e-mail solution was struggling to cope with growing user numbers, and file management, notes and calendaring functionalities were lacking. Backups and security were also a concern.
"We operate across Germany, but we wanted a solution that would be easy for a central IT team to maintain," said Bjoern Kuschel, IT Support Leader at Globetrotter. "We also needed to enhance our employees' ability to communicate and collaborate—especially since we were about to start a number of other important modernisation projects, such as a major SAP upgrade."
For the company's small IT team to manage these important projects successfully, it was important to minimise the amount of time they needed to spend on routine administration and fixing unreliable systems. It was critical to choose a robust, manageable solution—and one that could be implemented without disruption to the online and catalogue sales processes that provide half of the company's revenue.
As a long-time Novell customer—and with a SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server infrastructure already in place—it was a straightforward choice for Globetrotter to implement GroupWise®.
"We considered Microsoft Exchange, but it was clear that GroupWise was by far the more cost-effective choice, especially as we discovered we would require no extra hardware," said Kuschel. "It was easy to integrate GroupWise into our existing SUSE Linux Enterprise environment, a priority for us when any downtime would cause problems with our mail-order and online services."
Globetrotter worked with Maintainet, a Novell Platinum PartnerSM, to plan and deploy the Novell solution. Maintainet employees worked with the in-house IT department to complete the migration to GroupWise in just three months, with a minimum of downtime.
"The Maintainet team was great: there was always somebody at the end of the phone providing full support whenever we needed it," said Kuschel. "They knew our old system inside-out, so we felt that not only were they making the best choices for us, but the upgrade process was quicker and more efficient in their hands."
Globetrotter has enhanced its GroupWise environment with a range of plug-ins from GWAVA. The Redline plug-in helps IT administrators monitor the GroupWise servers, while Reload simplifies backup and restore processes. GWAVA 4 supplements the security features already built into GroupWise to enhance antivirus and spam-filtering capabilities. Finally, Vertigo makes mailbox management as simple and fast as possible with a number of time-saving administrative tools.
To compliment the enhanced collaboration features of GroupWise, the company also chose Novell Vibe® (formerly Novell Teaming + Conferencing).
"The introduction of Vibe was so easy," said Kuschel. "Our IT staff completed the whole implementation without external support, and training was spread from employee to employee, with no need for formal training sessions."
Globetrotter's IT team has been impressed by the simple implementation and ease of management of the new solution.
"The smooth implementation of both Novell solutions enabled us to avoid disruption to internal communications—helping our employees maintain a high level of productivity," said Kuschel. "Equally, the time-saving features provided by GroupWise and the GWAVA plug-ins are helping the IT team focus on important projects rather than basic administration."
The GWAVA plug-ins enable the IT Department to make the best use of its resources—which will be particularly important during the forthcoming SAP upgrade project. Vertigo in particular has saved time by simplifying mailbox management.
From the users' perspective, there are benefits too. The shared and personalised calendars provided by GroupWise help people work together more effectively, and Vibe has extended these capabilities by adding team workspaces and document management functions.
Team workspaces enable everyone involved in a project to monitor its status, find relevant documents and information, and see the next action expected from them at any time. Meanwhile, Web conferencing capabilities allow for real-time collaboration even when employees are working in different offices.
"Collaboration is becoming an increasingly significant part of working practice, especially in the IT department where many project stakeholders need to share information and coordinate activity," said Kuschel. "Vibe has proved so popular in the IT department that we are now planning to extend it to the entire company—in fact, our marketing division requested access before we even suggested it!"