Rena Ware International, Inc is a direct selling company specializing in the global distribution of high-quality cookware, kitchenware, water filtration systems and other household products. Rena Ware emphasizes the importance of healthy cooking and living and promotes its products as a means to achieve a balanced lifestyle.
The company was founded in 1941 by Fred Zylstra and is based in Bellevue, Washington, U.S.
“Rackspace integrated to become part of the team. I believe one of the key success factors is to bring the team as part of your internal team. Now in my executive team meetings, I always refer to Rackspace team as my migration team.”
The obstacles they faced
After years of successful global expansion and growth, Rena Ware today finds itself operating in seven regional markets: Costa Rica, Columbia, Peru, El Salvador, Thailand and North America.
Like just about every company, the global COVID-19 pandemic put pressure on Rena Ware’s operations. The pressures brought about by regional differences in licensing and operational requirements were magnified by the pandemic. The impacts of communication and integration challenges also began to be felt. So, when Rena Ware emerged from the global pandemic, its leadership was determined to transform and optimize the operations at the very foundation of its business.
“At some point after the pandemic, we realized that we needed to transform our process across the board,” explained Juan David Gutierrez Delgado, Global IT Director at Rena Ware. “When I arrived at the company, my main goal was to increase collaboration and integration across all markets by streamlining communication and automating processes. That’s when I decided that Microsoft 365 would be the best fit.”
“I think this project was successful because we didn’t approach this as a one-time interaction. We took the approach of ‘let’s become the extension of your team.’ That was our mantra. I feel like that positively influenced the way we carried out the project.”
How we helped
During the RFP phase, Rena Ware was attracted to Rackspace Technology due to the direct support offered and the value added by the qualifications of the team.
“I had a very controlled budget,” recalled Gutierrez “I was very clear from the beginning and very honest, and I liked that Rackspace understood that and gave me access to the best resources possible, aligned to my strategy and the priorities in the budget that I had.”
Under pressure to complete the project quickly, Gutierrez leaned heavily on the Rackspace team to make sure the project was done right. Prior to engaging with Rackspace, Gutierrez was preparing to accommodate a “big-bang” approach with Microsoft 365 adoption, in which every region would cut over simultaneously to the new system. The downside to this approach is the potential for 24 to 48 hours of disruption. After conducting its thorough initial assessment, Rackspace determined that the risk of downtime could be minimized with a different approach.
“Because Rena Ware had a very limited IT staff across seven different regions, each within different time zones, and all trying to get moved over at one time, we proposed a regional phased approach, instead,” recalled Nora Hernandez, Migration Manager at Rackspace Technology.
Rackspace recommended splitting the project up by region for a more graceful cutover process that was less disruptive, while being transparent that this would increase the cost of the project. “I think that really helped establish a good rapport,” said Hernandez. “We were upfront with Rena Ware from the very beginning, and we let them know all the pros and cons for them to make the decision they needed to make.”
What we achieved together
Rackspace Technology was able to seamlessly cutover each region, often during a lunch break, and without employees noticing. The migration went so smoothly that Gutierrez was still able to take planned time off, maintaining his work/life balance while Rackspace handled the migration to Office 365.
The results of the migration to Office 365 have been phenomenal. On top of a 40% reduction in monthly costs, Gutierrez has witnessed a dramatic expansion in the storage capacity of his SharePoint infrastructure. And the use of Microsoft Teams for project management has increased the quality and ease of communication across all regions.
“This outcome aligns perfectly with our initial objective of establishing a user-friendly and reliable email and collaboration platform,” said Gutierrez. “Our ability to collaborate has undergone a remarkable transformation, growing exponentially compared to our situation just one year ago. Our collaboration potential is now huge compared to where we were one year ago. In fact, I haven’t even closed out the project yet as I still want to work with Rackspace Technology on other initiatives.”
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