Van de Velde, Belgian manufacturer of luxury lingerie, decided to replace the paper book with an electronic version and wanted to use iPads as reader device. For easy administration and rapid introduction of the iPad, they implemented Citrix XenMobile MDM.
In 1919, Margaretha and Achiel Van de Velde founded a corsets atelier in Schellebelle (Belgium). The family company has been publicly listed since 1997 and currently has more than 1,500 employees worldwide. 500 employees work at the headquarters in Schellebelle, from which all key activities take place, from design and product development to sales and marketing. The mission is ‘To shape the body and mind of women’. Van de Velde designs, manufactures and markets luxury lingerie under its own brands such as Marie Jo, PrimaDonna and Andres Sarda. Daily 25,000 pieces of lingerie are sent to over 5,000 customers.
THE CHALLENGE: FROM PRINTED LINGERIE COLLECTION BOOK TO E-BOOK
Van de Velde prints glossy books in which the complete lingerie collection is presented. These books are not only expensive to create, they are also heavy books that the representatives take with them to customers and potential customers. The organization decided to replace the paper book with an electronic version and wanted to use iPads as reader device. “The creation and distribution of the printed book collection was an activity of our marketing department. But when the collection of books is digitally used on iPads, it suddenly becomes an IT activity,” said Sofie Guldemont, IT Service Coordinator at Van de Velde. “We therefore looked for a solution to keep the administrative burden of this new technology as low as possible. In addition, we needed to introduce the iPad with little effort and as user-friendly as possible to the 80 representatives - who have little or no experience with tablets.”
THE SOLUTION: A QUICK START WITH MOBILE TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLOUD
When the organization had decided to create a digital book collection, a mobile infrastructure had to be designed from scratch before the release date of the biannual book. Specifically, this meant selecting and deciding, and buy iPads and implement a mobile management solution within 30 days, in time before the launch of the new summer collection. “It was a tough job to finish all these activities so quickly. We presented the challenge to Realdolmen, a Platinum Citrix Solution Advisor, and discussed the possibilities. Realdolmen advised Citrix XenMobile MDM – hosted in the cloud – for easy administration and rapid introduction of the iPad.
REALDOLMEN AS A PARTNER
The relationship between Van de Velde and Realdolmen goes back almost 20 years. Actually, all relevant IT projects are always carried out together. Whether it’s about server virtualization, storage, servers, Microsoft solutions or the companies’ BI environment. “Realdolmen always support us well. We also worked with Realdolmen for the digital collection book and the delivery and introduction of the iPad,” Guldemont said. “Realdolmen presented the opportunities and advised the Citrix solution to meet our requirement to minimize the system administration effort of the iPad. Realdolmen has set up a demo environment in which we then installed the necessary certificates. The partner trained our people for half a day and after that we did the implementation ourselves.”
Initially, the rollout was done together with the representatives in a classroom-environment, in which everyone created an iTunes account associated with their personal email address and downloaded the MDM clients from the App Store. After that, all devices were added to XenMobile MDM.
KEY BENEFIT: LOCATION INDEPENDENT MANAGEMENT OF APPLE’S IPAD WITH CITRIX XENMOBILE MDM
The 80 representatives at Van de Velde are active at many places in the world from Europe to North America and Canada. Normally they are not on site in Belgium. They also form a separate identity within Van de Velde that is not integrated with the internal network and Active Directory. Guldemont: “The beauty of the XenMobile MDM implementation, is that it works anywhere in the world and that we are able to manage all iPads from a central location. The IT staff had no involvement in the distribution of paper lingerie collection books. After the transition to e-books on the iPad the system administration tasks are still very limited thanks to XenMobile MDM. We can arrange everything smoothly and remote, from installing Apps to implementing a policy to regulate the usage. This also creates 80 standardized iPads.”
KEY BENEFIT: FAST RETURN ON INVESTMENT
Instead of the half-yearly printing and distribution of glossy full-color lingerie collection books, now a semi-annual e-book version is distributed to the iPads. The organization has estimated that the return on investment (ROI) is about one and a half years. “The cost of the iPad devices and the Citrix XenMobile MDM management solution with a subscription of three years are recouped after eighteen months,” continued Guldemont. “But the combination of iPads and XenMobile MDM unexpectedly saved even more costs and showed additional benefits. For the project, we initially only considered the savings on the cost of printing and distribution of the sales books, but the marketing department uses the solution now as fast distribution medium for other information, like product previews, price lists and so on. Additional and timely information delivery to the customer directly contributes to our sales. Marketing has become more professional. And the end-point is not yet in sight, because we expect an evolution from e-book to interactive App. Our graphic designers are just exploring App-development.”
KEY BENEFIT: MORE ACCESSIBLE CLIENT FOR THE REPRESENTATIVE
The representatives are not computer specialists and have little experience with tablets. Even though iPads are not difficult to use, things like iTunes and the App Store accounts remain complicated. “Presently, the PDF reader is an important application as it allows to open, view and download the e-book collection from our website. We publish this App with XenMobile MDM to the devices and therefore we don’t need the Apple App Store. The representatives are not unnecessarily bothered with complex proceedings and always have current information. The iPad version of the book is also much more convenient and just as professional. XenMobile MDM makes working with the Apple iPad even more accessible,” said Guldemont. “Although our primary use of the iPad is for sales books, representatives have the freedom to download Apps themselves, this also contributes to their knowledge of the system. If the device becomes full, we can send a message, selectively remotely delete data or empty the entire system, all remote from Citrix XenMobile MDM.”
Van de Velde uses XenMobile MDM only as a cloud solution and is not yet integrated with the internal network. “At the moment the sales employees are not part of our domain from a security point of view, but we do not exclude that this will happen at any time in the future. The Citrix solution can be extend with a security gateway that adds management and security features and implements the connection with Microsoft Active Directory,” Guldemont concluded. “Furthermore, the current iPads are owned by the company. We do not support BYO devices and no other devices than the iPad, but that may change during the coming years. Again we are prepared for it with the current solution.”