The small IT staff divided its limited time between maintenance of the company’s forty applications and making sure the outdated email systems were operational–leaving it little time to focus on higher value initiatives. To revitalize its IT capabilities, Helly Hansen adopted Microsoft Office 365. Helly Hansen improved communications, accelerated business processes, and transformed its travel culture, resulting in reduced travel costs by 10 to 15 percent.
As a global brand, Helly Hansen operates 39 retail outlets in Europe and North America and works with retailers and suppliers from around the world. It does so with just 350 full-time employees who work out of the headquarters in Oslo, Norway, and from offices in Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Canada, and the United States. The teams typically communicated by email and phone, but the phone systems were outdated and unreliable and sending large files with marketing plans and detailed display photographs over email was not an ideal solution.
Soon after the move to Office 365, Helly Hansen started a pilot program to encourage employees to replace business travel with Skype for Business meetings. “We ran this pilot and, in a very short time, were able to avoid 15 trips and save more than US$20,000. Skype for Business quickly made a real improvement in how we do business,” says Abrahams.
Helly Hansen expects travel costs will be reduced by 10 to 15 percent in 2013, “For the IT team, which is spread over five countries, being able to have all of our meetings via Skype has been an amazing transformation,” says Abrahams. “Now that we can see each other and share our desktops, we can lead more productive meetings and benefit from closer relationships.”
Another way that Helly Hansen will benefit from Skype for Business videoconferencing is by reviewing clothing samples with its manufacturers in Hong Kong. “Our suppliers can use Logitech HD cameras to show samples to the developers in Oslo. We previously had to send an entourage of people to Asia to check samples every year. Now, only half of the team will need to go,” says Abrahams. “Everybody is excited about this; especially the people who are tired of so much traveling and the managers who want to save money.”
“We have one employee who frequently travels between Munich and Oslo. He saw a reduction in his mobile phone bill of more than US$260 a month after adopting Skype for Business,” says Abrahams. “That is the savings from just one person.” Overall, Helly Hansen has reduced the budget for mobile phone costs by 10 percent.


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