Kravet Inc. is a fifth-generation family business that distributes fabrics, furniture, wall coverings, trimmings, carpets, and accessories to the interior design trade. The company’s commitment to innovation has helped transform it from a small fabric house to a global player – representing brands and designers from all over the world.
Kravet’s mission is to serve as the single home furnishings resource to the interior design community by offering unparalleled quality products, customer service, and efficiency tools. While celebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2018, Kravet embarked on a journey to evolve its technology infrastructure and equip the company for its future.
For several decades, Kravet was a Microsoft shop utilizing Microsoft Exchange for email and calendaring. Most employees had Microsoft Office products installed on their local machines, and the company had an Office 365 Enterprise license for email but limited licenses for other programs in the suite. Some users had capabilities that others did not and there were limits on storage and transportability of information.
“The Microsoft toolset that we were using was really confining with strict licensing constraints,” said Jesse Lazarus, Kravet’s Chief Process and Innovation Officer. “It wasn’t conducive for employees to easily share documents or work on content together in real time.”
With 950 employees dispersed throughout corporate offices in the US, Canada, Mexico, and the UK, in addition to a multitude of showrooms throughout North America and Europe, Kravet’s IT Department was looking for technology that could foster a collaborative environment and address a long-term plan to alleviate local file storage that required backup.
For Kravet’s long-tenured employee base, including Microsoft power users, the type of change management needed for this migration would require an elevated degree of communication, training, and finesse.
Lazarus and his team conducted an in-depth analysis to determine whether to move to Office 365 as a whole or migrate to Google Workspace,* an integrated suite of secure, cloud-native productivity apps including Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Meet, Slides and more.
“In the end, we felt Google Workspace was a better fit for us and our goals. Having a full suite of products that work harmoniously together and offer the same access for everyone throughout our organization were key deciding factors,” said Lazarus. “Initially, we didn’t even realize how big of a role that Google Workspace’s Meet and Chat functionality would play in our daily collaboration. These were features that we weren’t getting from Microsoft so we didn’t know what to expect.”
SADA’s experts put their experience to work and created a comprehensive communication plan with an impressive amount of marketing and training tools to facilitate the internal cultural shift from Microsoft to Google Cloud.
The SADA team developed customized training documents and collateral, conducted train-the-trainer and company-wide learning sessions, and even created signage to display throughout Kravet’s offices detailing upcoming milestones. “SADA was really proactive and engaged our internal training team in a way that made the rollout for this changeover much easier,” said Lazarus.
The company started making great strides using Google Workspace. Lazarus noted his web design and development teams immediately adopted the collaboration tools on Google Docs and Sheets. This created sharing efficiencies and eliminated the versioning issues that had plagued the department when they were using Microsoft.
“The greatest quantifiable metric for me is that in March 2020 we quickly moved 500 employees to remote work status due to the pandemic and suffered absolutely no loss in service,” said Eugene Cordi, VP of Infrastructure and Security for Kravet.
Employees were impressed that they could simply plug into Google Workspace from home and securely have everything they needed at their fingertips. According to Lazarus, the benefits of increased mobility, real-time collaboration, and secure video conferencing “help accelerate user adoption even among some of the stragglers that were still pining for the days of Outlook.”
SADA continues to position Kravet for success by keeping it abreast of Google Cloud’s product roadmap and upcoming enhancements. “SADA has also introduced us to other solutions that have helped make improvements in the way we internally manage our systems,” said Lazarus. “I like the fact that our partnership has grown into something far greater than where we started.”
SADA enabled Kravet to:
- Successfully migrate 950 users from the legacy Microsoft environment to Google Workspace
- Develop a customized change management and communications plan that significantly eased the transition for employees
- Maintain business continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic by empowering employees to work remotely with Google Workspace’s cloud-native collaboration and productivity apps
*Note: Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020