Groupe Chantelle and Happeo: Customer success story
Groupe Chantelle, a leading French global lingerie designer, chose Happeo as its communication and collaboration platform as part of a wider move into Google Cloud. After a decision-making process spanning two years, it took just three months for Chantelle to decide to implement Happeo.
Top 3 reasons why Groupe Chantelle chose Happeo
1. Seamless integration with Google Workspace tools
2. Extensive social features
3. Simple to implement and easy for employees to adopt
Legacy systems show their limits
In late 2015, Groupe Chantelle launched an internal project to enhance collaboration and empower employees by providing them with the modern tools they were demanding. The ‘My Groupe Chantelle’ project addresses the challenges the company has faced with email usage, file sharing, and calendars. Above all, however, it is about transforming the way people communicate through real-time, social-media type interactions and providing instant access to information. The existing IT infrastructure offers none of these capabilities.
The existing setup – which includes an older-generation version of Microsoft Office, Lotus Notes 8.5, and a Windows file server for sharing files – has been the cause of a great deal of stress and time-consuming manual work. The result was frustrated employees and an overwhelmed IT team drowning in a sea of support tickets.
“Rolling out the old toolset was no longer a viable option. Our needs around collaboration, teamwork, productivity, mobility, information sharing, and, above all, the conservation of the Chantelle Group identity, were more and more important! Our legacy collaborative tools – Lotus Notes and our intranet portal – quickly showed their limits in the context of the many changes we’ve been through in the last 10 years.”
- Vincent Augès, CIO, Groupe Chantelle
Groupe Chantelle’s journey into the cloud began with the need to address employees’ demands for an easier and more efficient way to share documents. The company was also looking to bring under control the large amount of so-called ‘shadow IT’ solutions that employees were using to try to get around the challenges of the existing systems. These included third-party apps for file sharing and transfer.
“Our legacy collaborative tools quickly showed their limits”
Weighing up the alternatives
There were a whole host of solutions on the table from a range of providers. These included Powell 365, which was presented by Microsoft during the RFP process, and Workplace from Facebook, which was reviewed during its pre-launch phase, as well as Jamespot and Jive. The team charged with reviewing the options on the table comprised the CIO, CFO, CHRO, and the executive board.
Groupe Chantelle was well aware that its existing intranet model based on top-down communication needed a drastic rethink. Many of the more established solutions under consideration didn’t offer the flexibility, social interaction capabilities, or customization possibilities Groupe Chantelle was looking for.
“We wanted to take advantage of the modern methods of information exchange seen in platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and others to reduce email inertia and improve collaboration and enable more social interactions. Of course, we had to be able to do this with tools that meet professional standards and service-level agreements.”
- Oren Nadjar, CTO, Groupe Chantelle
Taking the intranet into the social-interaction age
During the RFP process, the calls from the HR and Communications representatives for an environment where they could communicate and interact with employees and easily disseminate information – both across the company and to specific communities – grew louder. The main goal was to identify a collaboration platform that could later be developed into a more comprehensive social network.
“Even after the first demonstration, we could easily see ourselves in Happeo very quickly,” Oren Nadjar explains.
“I was impressed with their vision about a new way of working, and it was immediately apparent that the platform filled the gaps that existed in many of the other solutions we had considered. I could also see that our people would take to it quickly because of the familiar functionalities and simple interface.”
Once Groupe Chantelle was introduced to Happeo, it was clear that they could deploy the platform very quickly after the wider Google Workspace deployment project, where all the relevant users would be provided with the required digital identities. “We were looking for a package that offered a combination of collaboration and social networking. We choose to go Google because of Happeo, and to go Happeo because of Google,” says Oren Nadjar.
“Happeo’s collaborative suite will support synergies across the company, help people work together, and help us bring global teams together,” Vincent Augès continues.
“Happeo’s collaborative suite will support synergies across the company, help people work together, and help us bring global teams together”
The search for simplicity ends with Happeo
It was important to identify a solution that was as simple as possible to implement and as easy as possible for employees to adopt. This would reduce the need for time-consuming and costly training sessions. With Happeo, Groupe Chantelle could bring together emailing, document editing and sharing, and shared calendars in a single, elegant system that didn’t rely on constantly switching between a range of different tools.
“Happeo’s seamless integration with Google Workspace was what made us really fall in love with the platform,” Oren Nadjar explains. “The other solutions we considered relied heavily on third-party platforms for almost everything beyond basic emailing and document editing. The bottom line is that Happeo’s Google integration made everything simpler for us.”
Vincent Augès continues: “I felt that multiple tools for collaboration would not work. We needed to find an integrated solution that gave us everything in one package. You feel when you use Happeo that it’s truly one tool.”
Empowering employees through modern collaboration tools
One of the guiding principles of the My Groupe Chantelle project was to give control over daily work back to the employees and reduce their dependence on IT systems and support staff. The company's senior management team viewed the return on investment (ROI) in Happeo and Google Workspace from a human perspective: happier users with fewer complaints about the IT systems, and more productive employees who can collaborate and share information in their own way, using a tool they enjoy.
For example, with Google Drive, employees can create folders for their work and share documents with whomever they want to without involving the IT team. With Happeo, Groupe Chantelle can take this to a whole new level by giving employees a platform to create and develop interactive communities and collaboration spaces that they own and control.
“When we deployed Google Workspace, we had very positive feedback from our users. We see the introduction of Happeo as the icing on the cake, leveraging all the power offered by Google Workspace through vertical and transversal community management,” says Vincent Augès.
“Happeo’s seamless integration with Google Workspace was what made us really fall in love with the platform”
Replacing the pain of email with the power of interaction
Email represents a never-ending incoming tide of information. The battle to reach the top of the inbox pile can put tremendous pressure on employees, and it takes up a significant chunk of working time. It also makes it difficult to prioritize information, plus there’s no real interaction beyond the reply/reply all process. With Happeo, Groupe Chantelle is aiming to reduce email volumes by channeling the flow of information into interactive discussion feeds. In these community discussions, teams can collaborate on topics, add their thoughts in their own time, and more easily prioritize tasks.
Oren Nadjar is excited about the possibilities of Happeo’s comments feature: “In the Groupe Chantelle of tomorrow, I see Happeo’s comments feature almost entirely replacing email as a way of communicating and interacting. By investing in a truly social collaboration platform like Happeo, we can empower our employees in a completely new way and reap the rewards that lie in the sweet spot between bottom-up and top-down communication.”
An open, transparent channel for company-wide news
During the scoping phase of the project, Groupe Chantelle’s communications and HR representatives identified a need for an enterprise social network that would provide an effective method of communicating and interacting with the different employee groups across the business. The current system of sending out emails to large groups of employees was becoming increasingly unworkable, and email fatigue had worn people down to the point where important information was getting lost in the daily email flood.
Happeo provides the ideal channel for communicating this type of information and showcasing it in a visible and easily digestible company news stream that everyone can read and comment on: a genuine blend of top-down and bottom-up communication.
Groupe Chantelle is taking a bold approach to opening up company communications for comment. “We’re not shying away from the challenges that come with this kind of information channel”, Oren Nadjar explains. “Happeo’s company news stream will provide a genuinely interactive forum where our employees can respond honestly to company-wide initiatives and news, share their thoughts, and connect with colleagues from across the business.”
“We want Happeo to help our people feel more confident in sharing their thoughts and opinions on company-wide issues,” Vincent Augès continues. “I believe this can be the start of a bigger cultural change for our whole organization.”
“We want Happeo to help our people feel more confident in sharing their thoughts and opinions on company-wide issues”
Project timeline: from years to months 2014–2015 Investigation phase, discussions with Google and Microsoft
2016 February-June Discussions with Happeo’s French partner, Cirruseo
June Decision to implement Happeo
August-October Google Workspace pilot phase and go-live
November 2016-February 2017 Happeo concepting phase
2017 February Happeo go-live
Google Workspace go-live and Happeo concepting phase
The ultimate aim is to give all Groupe Chantelle employees access to Happeo once everyone has a Google Workspace account as their digital identity. The concepting phase l took place during November and December 2016, during which the ideas for the first Happeo communities was developed. Chantelle scheduled their go live with Happeo for February 2017. Initially, the Groupe Chantelle Happeo environment will be populated with professional communities for communications, HR, finance, and IT, as well as regional communities for country organizations.
“Our vision is that Happeo will be the key focal point for building the Groupe Chantelle of the future, providing a unique path to collaboration. It will help us unify our brands and properly reflect the group identity in an online environment”
- Vincent Augès, CIO, Groupe Chantelle
Happeo shows the way to a bright future
Oren Nadjar has some prophetic words about the way work is changing, and is confident that Happeo will help lead Chantelle into a bright future: “The world of work is changing dramatically. In the near future, people will no longer be allied to a single company or workspace; instead they will create and participate in multiple communities. The new talent entering our business today wants to be coached, not managed in the traditional sense of the word. We firmly believe that the combination of Happeo and Google Workspace will help us provide people with the tools they need to achieve the autonomy they’re looking for.”
Founded in 1876, Groupe Chantelle is a world-leading lingerie designer and fashion house with operations in 20 countries. The company’s high-end corsetry, loungewear, and swimwear products are sold in over 10,000 stores worldwide, and its expertise covers the entire value chain from design to distribution. Groupe Chantelle’s brands are Chantal Thomass, Chantelle, Passionata, Darjeeling, Femilet, Livera, Orcanta.
Happeo is a modern, employee-driven intranet solution that helps businesses remain innovative, resourceful, and competitive by bringing their most valuable assets – people and information – closer together. Happeo creates an inclusive information flow that is both bottom-up and top-down, making it easier for people to find and share information, ideas, and content across their organization and saving time and costs.