The Challenge

When done right, high fashion makes a statement people won’t soon forget. For premium brands like the Affordable Luxury Group, this requires every member of the team working seamlessly behind the scenes to create products that consumers crave, retailers stock, and vendors want to be part of.

Though the company’s leaders had a clear operational foundation, their internal communication and collaboration needed work. Employees suffered from inbox overflow, inaccessible and static documents, and clunky collaboration in real time between virtual and on-site staff. Fortunately, the solution was well within reach, thanks to the help of an existing partner.

David Rubin, President of Cubex Group, their managed service provider, identified an opportunity to streamline communication, productivity, and efficiency with Microsoft Teams and Office 365. Leaders at Affordable Luxury Group were intrigued by the potential use cases and were eager to elevate the performance and achievements of their comprehensive team.

The Solution

Cubex Group’s team started the process by determining the methods, practices, and structures of Affordable Luxury Group. More than the typical MSP—which often only manages hardware, software, and security—Cubex analyzed the requirements for each department, creating roadmaps for how Microsoft 365 could attune to departmental wants, needs, and goals. This required in-depth conversations, isolating pain points and educating users throughout the process.

David Rubin said, “One of the core components of Teams is that communication happens in a single stream, eliminating the need for long, internal-email threads. Everyone has access to the threads, allowing for better tracking, accountability, and functional usage of data.”

Each function had its distinct demands. For the accounting team, Cubex created specific Teams channels to invoice each vendor, developed a clear SharePoint location to house invoices, and enabled concurrent editing. For the marketing team, Cubex acknowledged their preference for a third-party file storage website but integrated the links and destinations of their files within a central Microsoft repository, making review and collaboration simpler.

Cubex treated the entire process as an opportunity for education, conversing with users to show how these tools can improve their workforce. As an example, there were two separate teams that needed to access the same data, but the COO did not want to create a brand-new but unnecessary team. Instead, Cubex found a compromise, giving members of those overlapping teams separate permissions within each individual group.

Additionally, stakeholders approached Cubex asking how to establish certain routines on a repeatable basis. Using Power Automate, right within the Office 365 platform, to take specific formulaic processes and streamline them going forward.

The Results

The initial implementation was a success, fostering greater collaboration and streamlined workflows throughout the organization. In fact, the changes were able to reduce their inbox size by over 30% after the changes to Microsoft Teams took effect. Moreover, users were so excited about the potential of their existing tools, there have been subsequent conversations about further improvements.

“Cubex introduced the Teams environment and set us up for a successful launch. When we explained our processes and structures, Cubex listened and showed us various options Teams offers as solutions,” said Adam Protass, COO of Affordable Luxury Group. “Teams is as good as the initial set-up and structure. Cubex made it clear and helped us get that structure in place.”

More than just a one-off implementation, this integration of Microsoft Teams into the way they work is ongoing. Cubex Group is currently collaborating with members of the Affordable Luxury Group to expand their capabilities on several fronts.

There are chances to further use Power Automate for vacation calendar approvals or instantly filing attachments from cyclical emails to streamline processes. With the marketing team, Cubex is pinpointing a better way to store and access the large Illustrator design files that are crucial to prototyping their luxury purses and accessories.

“We want to eliminate the VPN if we can, but we also understand none of these file hosting service products (Dropbox, Box, etc.) are particularly fond of 1,520 GB files synchronizing back and forth between your machines,” said David. “We’re working towards the ideal compromise to get the best of both worlds.”

The forward-thinking and proactive nature of Cubex does not go unnoticed. Adam said, “Cubex has provided us quick responses to issues or new questions. And as we continue to onboard new Teams functionalities, Cubex is right there with us via demonstrations, onboarding, and ongoing support.”