Picture from the back of a person attending a Teams meeting with 2 colleagues, discussing about a furniture fabric.
Read Time, 5 min.

“Since moving to the cloud, there are no limitations anymore. And I’m certain without this technology, we would not have seen the growth we have today.”

Jaap Landsaat, CFO and Head of IT at Dutch furniture designer Zuiver, is talking about the profound impact technology has had on the business he co-founded more than 20 years ago.

“Back then, we had 100 orders a week and just a handful of people to fill them,” he says. “Now that’s grown to around 8,500, and technology has helped us scale up without needing hundreds of people to manage each order by hand.”

Zuiver migrated to the cloud back in 2018 to help its growing number of employees and suppliers worldwide communicate and collaborate efficiently. A move that also helped the company smoothly transition to remote working during the COVID-19 crisis – ensuring both business and social interactions could continue like normal.

“The nicest thing is that after 20 years we still have the same culture. We’ve gone from four founders to around 100 people, but everyone can still work and collaborate in an informal way both in and out of the office.

“And that’s because of the Microsoft products we are using today.”

From childhood start-up to global designer

Zuiver’s story starts back in 1998, with four friends founding two different furniture companies in the Netherlands – one selling directly to stores as wholesale and another outlet model that sold to customers.

“We had sales agreements with certain Italian and German producers to sell their items exclusively in the Netherlands,” says Landsaat. “But after a couple of years we wanted to be bigger and better, so tried to find the factories behind the products we sold to see if we could make them ourselves. We were pretty successful, and once we had a logistics partner, we quickly grew 30% year-on-year.”

“In 2011, we decided to trade under one name for our organization and our interior collection – Zuiver.”

The Dutch designer continued to grow rapidly, soon selling their contemporary furniture in more than 80 countries worldwide. But with the added complexity that comes with having staff and suppliers based across the world, Zuiver saw an opportunity to use technology to make their business processes more efficient – moving their entire operation into the cloud through a Microsoft 365 solution.

Supporting a company culture through the cloud

With the help of Microsoft partner, Advisor ICT Solutions, Zuiver began migrating to the Microsoft cloud as part of their head office relocation in 2018.

“Removing our physical servers opened up new possibilities to use Microsoft programs,” explains Landsaat. “OneNote and SharePoint were adopted pretty quickly, and we promoted Microsoft Teams as an easy way to work in small project groups or as a department when you all needed access to the same document.”

With big changes across Zuiver, including implementing Microsoft Teams as a cloud-based phone system, Advisor ICT Solutions offered training courses to help employees quickly adopt these new tools and learn how they can be used to streamline both supplier and customer-facing processes.

“It was a big shift for everybody,” Landsaat adds. “So on top of the training offered by Advisor, we also developed our own intranet and created support groups on Yammer to keep having these conversations and letting people learn off each other and ask questions.

“Yammer’s become a really handy platform to share company information securely, and people now use Teams chat for meet-ups outside the office too, which is a great fit for our company.”

Embracing a remote-working model

“I think it was March 15th when our Prime Minister asked everyone to stay home,” says Landsaat, as he recalls the company’s rapid transition to remote working to meet COVID-19 restrictions.

“It was a difficult period with the markets closing down, but it was also a chance for Teams to be really embraced across Zuiver. Everyone realized how easy it was to host meetings and work across the same documents, and it allowed us to form project groups that could effectively work together – even from different sides of the globe.”

With other Microsoft 365 tools already implemented, Zuiver had all the measures in place to keep both supply chain and shipping processes in check, and ensure their entire workforce could continue to operate effectively outside of the office.

“The technology is actually empowering me to do what I do best,” says Caroline van Velze, Creative Director and co-founder of Zuiver.

“Every month I would travel all over the world to check samples and have contact with our production areas, but now this design process can all be achieved through video calling – and I can still be creative because I draw by hand.”

“We’ve always had a very informal way of working together – our Zuiver DNA,” she adds. “Be proud of what you’re doing and have fun while you’re doing it, and Teams has really helped that continue outside the office with social activities like yoga lessons and Friday afternoon drinks still taking place from home.”

“From a mental health point too,” says Landsaat. “It can be hard to not see colleagues face-to-face anymore. But with a tool like Teams, you can just turn your camera on and feel part of the office again. It’s a great way to work together.”

A modern working environment for every employee

As Zuiver now reflects back on the last two years, the benefits of technology have left a lasting impression not just on the company but also the way people work day-to-day. An outcome Landsaat is sure will continue to impact their culture both now and in the future.

“This period has shown how effectively we can all work together from a distance,” he says. “We can stay in contact and maintain the same output and efficiency whether people are in the office or at home, which is all possible because of these Microsoft programs.

“Our future is smaller offices and people working as a one team without being in the same building – and we have a very positive feeling about that as an organization.”

Roadmap to Digital Infinity: How to become an Intelligence Driven Organization

Unleash the potential of your organization with Microsoft’s practical guide to harnessing data and AI.

Discover more related articles per industry:

Education

Government

  • a man and two women standing in front of a brick building

    Ajuntament de Lleida: transforming the public sector with a modern, virtual workplace

    “At Ajuntament de Lleida, we think differently. We embrace new technology. And when we see that it could add real value to the work we do, we find a way to make it happen.” Carles GinéSabaté, Systems Implementation Planning Manager at Ajuntament de Lleida, is reflecting on his organization’s open-armed approach to digital transformation and […]

  • How VR Group is using automation to secure Finland’s railways

    How VR Group is using automation to secure Finland’s railways

    “Being at the helm of a critical piece of infrastructure, we have a huge responsibility towards our partners and clients. That’s why safety and security are crucial elements of what we do and how we operate.” Mikke Maronen, CISO at Finnish railway company VR Group, is talking about the importance of protecting his business from […]

Healthcare

  • a person sitting in front of a laptop computer

    The ‘Big Bang’ approach to digital transformation – and how to make it work

    These days there’s no such thing as ‘business as usual’. Change and disruption are the new normal. Just think of the changes affecting your organization right now, with new technology and techniques driving new attitudes and expectations from employees and customers alike. Everything is changing. And the one thing all those changes have in common […]

  • a woman standing in front of a screen

    Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta: providing essential patient care from a distance

    “Telehealth was a technology we’d been planning to implement for a couple of years. But then almost overnight everything changed – it became a must-have platform the hospital needed today.” Francesca De Giorgi, CIO of Italian research hospital IRCCS Carlo Besta, reflects on the recent challenges her team faced when social distancing measures imposed by […]

Manufacturing

  • Mais on a sunny day

    COFCO International: How cloud technologies ensured business continuity during challenging times

    “I have worked at COFCO for 12 years, always in an office. But I have spent the last 63 days working from home.” Marcus Seelbach, Chief HR Officer at global agribusiness COFCO International, is talking from his home via video call about the transition he and all his colleagues have undergone since COVID-19 led to the closure of the company’s offices worldwide. “But thanks to the preparation and […]

  • a woman smiling for the camera

    Etex Group: Future-proofing employees to work anywhere across the world

    When COVID-19 spread across Europe in early 2020, businesses entered a new digitally-dependent age. Social distancing measures had asked offices of all shapes and sizes to close their doors, sparking organizations to quickly find other virtual ways for colleagues to meet and collaborate remotely. But for Belgium building material specialist Etex, this was a step they were ready for – having already implemented a cloud-based infrastructure and collaboration tools […]

Retail

  • HeadBrands is ready for the future with Microsoft 365 Business

    HeadBrands is ready for the future with Microsoft 365 Business

    Since its creation in 2010, HeadBrands has continued to grow, rapidly becoming the leading retailer of hairdressing products in Scandinavia. HeadBrands needed a modern IT solution to increase its business productivity and improve collaboration, both within the company and externally. Its response to this challenge was to replace most of its previous services with Microsoft […]

  • GDPR and Retail: Four GDPR requirements and how Microsoft can help

    GDPR and Retail: Four GDPR requirements and how Microsoft can help

    Learn how we can help you meet GDPR requirements with solutions available today: Assessing your current risk profile “How do I understand where I am already compliant and where I need to focus next?” This is one of the most common questions from retailers in regard to the GDPR. It’s also one of the hardest to […]

Discover more related articles per dossier:

Customer Stories

  • Two female nurses having a virtual conversation through Microsoft Teams

    Belfast Trust: Reimagining patient care

    “There have been many heroic actions by our staff but we’re not heroes for what we’ve done – I’m just glad we could do our bit to help.” Paul Duffy, Co-Director of IT and Telecommunications at Belfast Trust, is talking about the monumental impact COVID-19 has had on the healthcare sector and how virtual consultations […]

Digital Transformation

  • a person sitting in front of a laptop computer

    The ‘Big Bang’ approach to digital transformation – and how to make it work

    These days there’s no such thing as ‘business as usual’. Change and disruption are the new normal. Just think of the changes affecting your organization right now, with new technology and techniques driving new attitudes and expectations from employees and customers alike. Everything is changing. And the one thing all those changes have in common […]

Security & Privacy

  • GDPR and Retail: Four GDPR requirements and how Microsoft can help

    GDPR and Retail: Four GDPR requirements and how Microsoft can help

    Learn how we can help you meet GDPR requirements with solutions available today: Assessing your current risk profile “How do I understand where I am already compliant and where I need to focus next?” This is one of the most common questions from retailers in regard to the GDPR. It’s also one of the hardest to […]

Tips