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Home improvement: Leroy Merlin moves 1,900 users to Google Apps in Brazil

Posted by Reginaldo Barbosa, Manager of Acquisitions, Telecom and Technology, Leroy Merlin Brazil

Editors note: Today we welcome guest blogger Reginaldo Barbosa, Manager of Acquisitions, Telecom and Technology for Leroy Merlin in Brazil. You may remember our guest blog post by Luis Herrero, CIO of Leroy Merlin, Spain in February. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

We expanded Leroy Merlin - the French home improvement and gardening store - to Brazil in 1998 and have grown to more than 26 stores and over 6,000 employees throughout the country. For the past three years, we’ve actually been the leading construction materials retailer in Brazil. To be successful in the retail industry, it’s important that our employees are able to work together across our corporate and store locations to provide the best experience for our customers.

As our business grew in Brazil, we found ourselves faced with a number of IT challenges. One of our biggest obstacles was communicating between our locations in Brazil and our headquarters in France. We found that our calendar system was so unreliable that our own directors would use their personal Google Calendars to share events with one another. With a growing retail business - regularly opening new stores and traveling between different locations - we knew we needed an IT platform with more flexibility, mobility, and reliability if we wanted to keep our employees and customers happy.

That’s why we moved our 2,100 IT users to Google Apps for Business last year. With Google Apps, our team is now able to work together easily and much more efficiently, while providing a much better experience for our customers. When a customer wants to know if an item is in stock, our sales rep can immediately chat with our logistics team using Google Talk and verify the inventory in real time. We can also now share calendars across our stores and with headquarters in France, which allow us to better manage our promotions and events, and helps us to always know what’s happening across the Atlantic.

Google Apps for Business not only helped us streamline our business, but the costs savings have been substantial. We’ve been able to cancel our antispam and antivirus contacts saving us $25,000 per year and Google+ Hangouts have saved us from having to make a $100,000 investment in videoconferencing technology. On top of that, we ended up saving $200,000 in infrastructure and maintenance costs that we would’ve spent setting up users on our old IT system last year.

It’s clear that Google Apps for Business was the right choice for us: in a recent company survey, our employees gave Google Apps a 95 percent satisfaction rating. It’s so rewarding for me to know that these tools are helping us provide a better experience for our customers and our employees.