Seventh Generation is a large, privately held corporation that makes household and personal care products that are healthy for people and the environment. The company had been using SharePoint for years, but they weren’t getting enough out of it. When it was time for an upgrade, they called Aerie Consulting.
“We knew we weren’t using SharePoint enough,” IT Manager Lincoln White said. “At that time, our employees saw it as an IT tool and not much more.”
Within a few months, Aerie Consulting had not only upgraded the system, they completely transformed the way Seventh Generation’s employees worked with one another. The result was a streamlined approach that improved efficiency and reenergized the staff.
With a national brand and an increasingly distributed workforce, Seventh Generation’s information technology needs are far from simple. They produce and distribute consumer packaged goods to grocery stores and merchants across the country, which requires a massive exchange of data and communication throughout the company.
The company had been using SharePoint for years, but employees weren’t engaged in leveraging it effectively. Processes were not being managed, making it harder to achieve company goals.
“Knowledge management was a big challenge for us,” said White. “Research and development, vendor relationships, customer service, sales and marketing – all that information was so hard to keep organized and moving smoothly around the company. Any work process, client facing or otherwise, was really frustrating at times.”
This is a common problem with many companies who adopt SharePoint as a solution to managing information. They often think of the software as a magic bullet to their needs, when in reality the technology is only part of the solution.
“A lot of agencies out there only focus on the technical aspect of SharePoint,” said White. “What struck us about Aerie Consulting was their emphasis on people and process. It’s people that make the project successful, not the tools.”
“We had no idea how much pain we were in until after we started using SharePoint to its potential. New advantages are brought to light all the time."
Solution & Results
After an upgrade to SharePoint 2010, Aerie focused on coaching the employees, starting at the top. Soon, all senior management understood how the system could improve workflow and manage information. Each manager created a “department champion” to train other employees and spearhead the integration of SharePoint into their daily tasks.
The results have been amazing. “We had no idea how much pain we were in until after we started using SharePoint to its potential,” said White. “New advantages are brought to light all the time. We can now manage an idea from conception to launch. We can also manage price and product changes, customer processes, or internal facility needs – all in one place.”
Improvements were not limited to process, either. The company has seen revenues climb 50% over the last three years, an increase White credits Aerie Consulting for playing a role in. “Our staff is working smarter. Fewer mistakes and more time spent on creativity and innovation.”
The company recently went through a full revamp of its product packaging, involving participants across multiple departments. Without SharePoint, the launch would not have been nearly as successful.
Aerie Consulting’s greatest strength, as White sees it, is the coaching and training they offer. “The ironic thing is we used to have a full time SharePoint manager on staff. We eliminated that position and now we invite Aerie in once a week. They help our employees on their journey, which saves us money because there’s no learning curve. They bring past experience in with them and pass it along to our people. It’s a winning formula.”
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