About Richardson International
With more than 2,300 employees across Canada, Richardson International has been recognized as one of Canada's Best Managed Companies for four years running and recently achieved Gold Standard status. The MIS department has been using Novell technology since the late '90s to manage more than 90 different sites across the country, ranging from small grain elevators to huge food processing plants.
"We didn't intend to build an all Novell network at first, but we have consciously looked to Novell for products and solutions that would further leverage our existing investment," says Beaudry.
Using Novell solutions helps Richardson International keep IT costs down. "Novell provides us with a platform so we can focus on our business," he says. "You'd have to add a zero to every line on our balance sheet if we went with Microsoft products, and you wouldn't get the robust features of Novell."
For over a decade, the company had been using Plone, an open source content management system, for its intranet. In 2012 Beaudry started looking for a better intranet solution.
"Plone started to show its age. It wasn't very flexible, and it presented a lot of design and administration challenges. Our marketing department wanted to make our intranet look more like the Internet, but MIS didn't have the resources," he explains. "Plone is heavy on developer support requirements, and we're not a web development shop."
After seeing a demo of Novell Vibe® at BrainShare®, Beaudry realized it had the features he needed for the Richardson International intranet—and the right price point as well.
"We didn't want to be in the intranet delivery business; we wanted a selfservice, self provisioning solution. It's what users expect today. They don't want to call IT anymore to create a folder where people can securely share files."
The MIS department, with the help of Novell partner Adaris Technologies, implemented Novell Vibe in one week—including training for key users, content prototypes and corporate branding.
"The return on investment with Vibe just can't compare to Plone or SharePoint, or big legacy solutions from IBM or CA," he says. "We didn't have the budget or development time for those."
Novell Vibe soon became a mission critical application for Richardson International. Then, in May 2013, it turned an IT nightmare into a seamless dream.
The company had been planning an acquisition for months, not knowing exactly when the deal would go through. Hundreds of employees would be coming in from a Microsoft environment—with all of their data, too. Business units from the new firm would need to immediately share files and projects with their Richardson counterparts as soon as the deal became final. There wouldn't be enough time to integrate old and new technologies.
"We acquired 500 employees across 30 locations literally overnight," Beaudry says. "Ten of the 30 sites were online by noon the first day. We were able to get everyone access to Vibe and communicating within six days."
Novell Vibe became home base for the new employees, delivering corporate apps from a simple menu. MIS was able to answer most helpdesk calls with, "You just do it in Vibe."
"New employees were surprised at how easy it was to use Novell Vibe. We did zero training—there just wasn't time for it," he says. "Had we not had Vibe, we would be bumping up against mail size limits. Email is not a file transfer tool."
Today, all Richardson employees across all divisions use Vibe—for time management, the company directory, printer deployment, GroupWise® access, and sharing information via global workspaces.
"Over 60% of our users work at a location without a file server and mapped drives." Beaudry says. "The web is what ties everything together. With Vibe I can put it anywhere."
In the future, Richardson International would like to allow partners and customers to access Vibe. "Today, thousands of emails are flying back and forth with files that are project related. Instead of electronic documents forwarded to 20 different people, it could be one folder in Vibe with a 'new file' alert," he says. "By extending Vibe to new audiences, we'll save a lot of resources and take the benefits we've already realized to a whole new level.