As COVID restrictions hit Hong Kong, cosmetics company L’Oréal Travel Retail APAC realised the necessity for rapid change to the way in which its people access and use technology resources and receive support for their devices. It also recognised an immediate requirement to equip employees with everything they require to work successfully from home, all of which had to happen in a vanishingly small space of time and within the restrictions imposed as the local government sought to stamp out the spread of the disease. Through an engagement with Insight, the company has benefited from a professional advisor delivering quality remote support, along with new solutions that addressed short term requirements while positioning L’Oréal Travel Retail APAC to continue powering productivity into the future even when faced with unusual times.
Prior to the pandemic, L’Oréal Travel Retail APAC had five helpdesk engineers supporting a staff complement numbering more than 1,400 individuals. When the government mandated citizens to work from home to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the cosmetics company needed an improved technology support regime along with the rapid rollout of devices and software which would equip all employees to work from home.
CIO Specky Wong explains that while most staff occasionally worked from home ahead of the pandemic, not all are appropriately equipped with the devices, connectivity or even workspaces to do so. “Internally we had changed most of our systems already to online platforms which allow ‘work from anywhere’, with many staff using those platforms while in the office.
The problem was, with the government recommending working from home and other social distancing initiatives, we suddenly had a lot more staff at home. Those staff want to work as much as the company needs their contribution.” A further complication was presented by newly hired senior employees arriving in the city. Required to quarantine, these individuals needed access to devices and provisioning into the L’Oréal Travel Retail APAC business systems with which they would work. “Ourinternal IT department just wasn’t equipped to keep things moving in this dramatically different business environment,” Wong points out.
With Insight already a trusted partner for other aspects of its technology sourcing requirements, L’Oréal Travel Retail APAC turned to the solutions provider for additional support. Understanding the pressing need for a comprehensive response, Insight responded with the rapid establishment of an improved support team, while also immediately sourcing a range of approved devices from which L’Oréal Travel Retail APAC’s staff members could choose. These include devices from vendors such as Apple, HP and others.
Wong stresses that for the cosmetics company, quality and performance is expected across the board. “We were looking for a VIP service as all our users, and especially executives, expect a very high standard from the IT department. With COVID affecting business as usual, Insight has accurately and rapidly equipped the whole workforce with everything needed to work from home; in some cases, that meant issuing a new laptop or a new phone, or deploying WiFi equipment, and all the services needed to get the job done.”
A further dimension was added as L’Oréal Travel Retail APAC was compelled to adjust the way in which its retail outlets operate. Social distancing measures meant staff members could no longer directly interact with customers, so the company embarked on a process of implementing Apple iPads and Microsoft HoloLens devices in-store, with interactive displays where shoppers can experience products, suggestions, and ideas. These devices, too, were rapidly sourced and delivered – along with connectivity solutions where necessary – to L’Oréal Travel Retail APAC stores around the city.
Devices, of course, are only part of the solution, as they must be appropriately configured and supported so working people can perform their duties without interruption. Wong says Insight has successfully worked with the global L’Oréal team to image devices to the company’s standards, delivering devices compatible with its environment from day 1.
Additional services packaged into the services delivery by Insight include mobile device management for the Device as a Service solution which covers orders, deployment, configuration setup, backed by workflow in support of standard operating procedures. This includes iOS deployment for iPhones, iPads and MacBooks, as well as Windows based devices. A further key component of Insight’s work addressed video conferencing setup with Microsoft Teams consulting, fully connecting L’Oréal’s Hong Kong and Shanghai offices; where necessary, Insight has equipped L’Oréal Travel Retail APAC staff members with headsets and mobile monitors, allowing every individual to benefit from a satisfying video conferencing experience.
An initial three months of help desk support has included the establishment of an employee hotline, giving the company’s people the full assurance of service should they require it, from the comfort and safety of their homes, while relieving an overwhelmed internal helpdesk.
Wong credits the rapid and comprehensive response from Insight with supporting L’Oréal Travel Retail APAC’s productivity in highly unusual circumstances. “They sourced the equipment we needed from multiple vendors, meeting the business need and timelines which meant there wasn’t any need to postpone business projects,” he confirms.
The adoption of video conferencing within the organisation has progressed smoothly, with Insight reaching out to individuals, providing advice and consulting to help optimise equipment and build knowledge. “They have also proposed a range of options with the devices, along with pros and cons. The business team appreciates that.”
A larger support team has proven invaluable for the company’s now-distributed workforce, and Wong notes that when any L’Oréal Travel Retail APAC employee requires IT support, it is immediately available by remote link through Insight – including, even, direct delivery of new equipment to homes.
Feedback from management and the business in general, says Wong, is that Insight consistently meets its Service Level Agreements. “That’s much appreciated. We’ve seen that Insight doesn’t mind working overtime, and with our 7 teams in locations all over the world with odd time zones, this willingness to go above and beyond has proven invaluable.”
He further credits Insight with flexibility and ingenuity, attributes which have helped negotiate the unpredictable landscape of COVID restrictions. “For example, we’ve needed to get devices to people in hotels. It’s never an issue for Insight.”
Finally, Wong says the value of a true partnership has become clear in extenuating circumstances. “When we needed help, Insight stepped up. We’ve been able to work properly, meet project timeframes and organisational goals even without people in the office. They have provided us with choice and convenience – and with the pandemic rolling on, the investment we’ve made into equipping our people for flexible work is paying ongoing dividends."
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