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Gymboree uses Glip for team collaboration, project management, CRM, and "a thousand" other valuable uses

COMPANY PROFILE

Info: From its origins in the 1970s offering mom-and-baby classes in San Francisco, Gymboree has grown organically into one of the most trusted brands in high-end children’s clothing and accessories. Today the company is an international retailer operating more than 950 stores throughout North America, along with franchises around the world.
Year founded: 1976
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
Website: gymboree.com
Size: 10,000+ employees

From its origins in the 1970s offering mom-and-baby classes in San Francisco, Gymboree has grown organically into one of the most trusted brands in high-end children’s clothing and accessories. Today the company is an international retailer operating more than 950 stores throughout North America, along with franchises around the world.

Recently, the company’s leadership decided to update its retail stores to more accurately reflect Gymboree’s origins as a boutique high-end retailer. To help free up budget for this endeavor, the infrastructure and IT teams were tasked with optimizing the company’s communications systems, which were increasingly suffering from deferred maintenance and technical debt. They managed to solve both of those problems, and find many new benefits as well, by deploying RingCentral Office® and RingCentral Glip™.

“We never thought we’d find a single platform to serve as an end-to-end ecosystem for all of the company’s communications and collaboration needs. But with RingCentral Office and RingCentral Glip, that’s exactly what we found.”

—Renee Harwood, VP of Infrastructure and Store Technology for Gymboree Group

A mission to optimize and consolidate technology leads to RingCentral.

After more than 20 years in the same headquarters, where its corporate team grew to several hundred, Gymboree had amassed a great deal of technical debt.

“We had put off upgrading our communications systems because there were always more pressing projects,” explains Renee Harwood, Gymboree’s Vice President of Infrastructure and Store Technology. “But when management announced the planned upgrades to our retail locations, we knew it was time to make those technology upgrades as well—because doing so could free up budget to support the retail initiative.”

“The company had legacy phone systems most employees weren’t using anymore, an instant messaging service that gave us frequent licensing hassles, and other systems, like video conferencing, from different providers,” Harwood continued. “It was all cobbled together and very costly and time consuming to manage.”

As Harwood’s team began researching solutions, they were hoping to consolidate their systems but assumed they’d always be dealing with several providers. “We never thought we’d find a single, end-to-end ecosystem for all of the company’s communications and collaboration needs. But with RingCentral Office and RingCentral Glip, that’s exactly what we found.”

“We’ve been finding a thousand uses for Glip,
which is why adoption is so high.”

—Renee Harwood, VP of Infrastructure and Store Technology for Gymboree Group

Glip organically becomes the default for team communication and collaboration.

When they began investigating UCaaS systems, Gymboree’s team placed high importance on the right instant messaging application. “IM is how a lot of our teams prefer to communicate,” says Harwood. “We’ve got design teams working with fabrics people who work with the people who run the mills and so on. Some of these groups are in different locations, even overseas. Being able to jump onto a platform where they can create a dedicated ‘room’ to share ideas, files, schedules, images—Glip just makes our teams’ workflow run so smoothly.”

“I’ll give you an example,” Harwood says. “We have a Glip team called ‘162.’ That’s the ID number of our New York store, and in that Glip team you can load videos, promotional ideas, schedules, past conversations, and just about everything our teams are working on to run that location. The Glip 162 team includes both internal people and vendors like our merchandisers and construction contractors. It’s the easiest way to start an impromptu conversation, share information, and get stuff done for that store.”

“In fact,” Harwood continues, “Glip has become so integral to how we manage our workflow that we’re increasingly insisting our vendors and partners work with us on the Glip platform. Once those companies get set up on Glip, they see the value as well.”

“Being able to jump onto a platform where they can create a dedicated ‘room’ to share ideas, files, schedules, images—Glip just makes our teams’ workflow run so smoothly.”

—Renee Harwood, VP of Infrastructure and Store Technology for Gymboree Group

Gymboree is finding “a thousand” uses for Glip.

“More than 90% of our corporate staff is using Glip today,” explains Harwood. “When we started rolling out RingCentral Office for VoIP phone service, we also began pushing our staff onto the Glip platform. But our employees didn’t need much convincing. It’s now our primary collaboration and communication tool, and we’ve been finding a thousand uses for Glip, which is why adoption is so high.”

“Our creative teams use it to collaborate on clothing styles and other projects. One group of designers created a Glip team called the ‘Tight-Knit Group,’ which I think is brilliant.”

“HR and Benefits also uses Glip to send us important employee updates,” Harwood adds. “They’ve created a ‘Benefits, Wellness, and Perks’ team, and they Glip us all the time with information like where today’s yoga class will be held, reminders to schedule appointments with our 401(k) provider, and even employee coupons.”

“The front-desk staff uses Glip as their phone directory, so they don’t have to go into a different app to find an employee’s direct line. And because Glip is integrated into RingCentral Office, the front desk team can find a staff member’s number in Glip and immediately transfer the call—all through the same platform.”

“We even use Glip as a CRM tool,” Harwood explains. “Because Glip lets us share files, share our screens, chat, and make video calls, it’s become our preferred way to manage relationships with partners and vendors.”

“And here’s a use for Glip nobody predicted, not even us!” says Harwood. “We use it to pinpoint where we have network connectivity and where we lose it. Because we can chat in real time using Glip, one of us can take a mobile device with the Glip app into, say, an elevator and send messages like, ‘On 38th floor, still connected?’”

Renee Harwood, VP of Infrastructure and Store Technology for Gymboree Group

“We’re expecting Glip will provide us a multimillion-dollar solve each year for communications across our retail stores. That’s why I’m a walking advertisement for this technology to anyone in our industry who will listen.”

—Renee Harwood, VP of Infrastructure and Store Technology for Gymboree Group

Gymboree anticipates huge cost savings from Glip.

“A senior VP told me the other day that she believes we’ve been using email too much as an organization and that it’s an inefficient communication tool,” Harwood says. “But she also said she’s confident Glip will be the catalyst to finally reduce our dependence on email.”

“As for cost savings, Glip has already helped us reduce our expenses on communications infrastructure in our corporate offices,” Harwood explains. “Going forward, we’re expecting Glip will provide us a multimillion-dollar solve each year for communications across our retail stores. That’s why I’m a walking advertisement for this technology to anyone in our industry who will listen.”

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