Volo drives growth and supports expansion with Office 365 and Claranet

Executive summary

Challenge: Volo is an ecommerce company specialising in helping organisations overcome multichannel selling. It had ambitious growth plans but was hamstrung by its technical capabilities.

Solution: Volo identified Microsoft Office 365 as an all-encompassing suite which could fulfil all of its requirements within one system. Claranet went beyond a standard migration to help us turn Office 365 into the hub of our organisation.

Result: The move to Office 365 has transformed how Volo works on a day-to-day basis. It has cut down on management tasks, complication and facilitated new ways of collaboration, meaning Volo customers receive a better experience.

About Volo

Volo is an ecommerce specialist dedicated to transforming organisations’ sales by overcoming the complexity of multichannel selling and removing barriers to success. It unifies the entire online sales process and automates and simplifies key tasks from product listing to payment and dispatch, across a variety of channels including Amazon, Google, and eBay.

The company has enjoyed considerable success since it launched in 2006 – it processes more than 40 million sales orders annually, and has offices in Cheltenham, London, and New York. It uses a revenue share business model, meaning that the growth of its customers – which include companies such as BMW, Superdry, and Currys PCWorld – has a direct impact on its own success.

The challenge

Before Volo engaged Claranet, it was a company of approximately 60 people and while it had ambitious growth plans, it was being hamstrung by its technical capabilities. It had a traditional Microsoft Office suite, supplemented by a range of different applications and a separate standalone phone system. This not only meant dealing with several providers and managing a host of different licenses but also that many services were duplicated unnecessarily. Meanwhile, pools of data were divided across many areas – from Google Drive to local drives – restricting visibility and, as much of the company’s data was held locally, the company’s IT systems couldn’t easily scale or be accessed remotely.

Ed Rollinson, Head of IT at Volo, commented on the implications of this set-up:

Having to deal with a diverse range of IT solutions and providers incurred a large management overhead. It made everything unnecessarily complex and restricted how rapidly we could evolve as a business. We wanted to streamline our management overheads but also move on to a new solution that could facilitate new and more innovative ways of working.”

The solution

Volo identified Microsoft Office 365 as an all-encompassing suite which could fulfil all of its requirements within one system.

It became clear that since there were so many different systems that needed to be transitioned to Office 365, the task of migration would be complex. A trusted partner could help cut through this complexity whilst ensuring that the path to Office 365 was smooth. Ed commented on how Volo proceeded: “We have a long-standing relationship with Claranet, and knew that we could trust the team to navigate us through the process – which they did confidently and smoothly.

Claranet went beyond a standard migration to help us turn Office 365 into the hub of our organisation. The team made us aware of all of Office 365’s integration capabilities, and put in place the right API so that we would be able to link other systems into Office 365, including our HR system and our performance management system. We were also able to completely get rid of our old telephony system and move the entire business onto Skype for Business.”

The result

The move to Office 365 has transformed how Volo works on a day-to-day basis, according to Ed:

The first difference that everybody recognised was how much easier everything became – the user experience of working with documents, collaborating with colleagues, and simply communicating improved massively. With everything accessible through a single panel not only did productivity instantly improve, but we saw immediate benefits in the IT department. We suddenly had much fewer mundane maintenance tasks on our hands – for example, with only one login required to access all applications, password issues reduced drastically. This ‘hub-and-spoke’ approach to IT, with a single portal providing access to a wide variety of services, has also greatly reduced training time and costs.”

Moreover, as a technologically-minded company, Volo has seen new ways of working evolve organically in this integrated system. Many teams have taken the initiative and begun customising SharePoint to create team hubs, allowing for a more centralised and smooth way of collaborating. Likewise, as a dynamic company where some employees spend time visiting customer whilst others move around the office and gather together to work in break-out groups, using OneDrive in conjunction with SharePoint has enabled Volo to foster a more fluid and flexible way of working.

Ed is keen to underline the strategic significance of these operational changes:

Volo has matured from being a start-up and our vision of becoming a trusted ecommerce partner to some of the world’s best-known brands is becoming a reality. We can now hire an employee in a different part of the world, give them an Office 365 login, and easily integrate them into a team, which has undoubtedly eased the process of setting up our New York office, and will support our ambitious American growth plans for 2017. We therefore have a renewed sense of confidence in our capacity to push out to new markets rapidly. When we started working with Claranet, we were around 60 people – now we’re closer to 120. That growth simply would not have been possible without this new system. We’re so happy with how this transition with Claranet worked out that we’re currently in talks over potentially moving other applications and infrastructure over to the public cloud in future.”

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