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  • Instant access to colleagues throughout Europe
  • Teleworkers stay connected
  • More efficient training

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At ALAIN AFFLELOU, a Clear-Eyed Vision for Collaboration

Few companies are better equipped than ALAIN AFFLELOU to understand the value of seeing clearly. Europe's leading eyewear retailer operates more than 950 stores in France and Spain, and nearly 100 more in other countries.

With 800 employees in three main offices, the French company is constantly innovating – and not just when it comes to providing stylish frames.

"We needed to optimize the collaboration between our users in several countries and our 1,200 shops," explains Ludovic Tassy, chief information officer at ALAIN AFFLELOU. For the European optics giant, the answer was a unified communications environment built around Microsoft Lync and augmented with an always-ready Polycom video collaboration platform.

Though no stranger to video communications – for years its main locations have been equipped with room-based video conferencing systems – ALAIN AFFLELOU chose Polycom to interact face-to-face with colleagues and partners. Employees collaborate with one another via laptops and mobile devices. Collaboration also extends to personnel at franchise stores using Polycom CloudAXIS. "Polycom has the advantage of being open," says Tassy, who points out how collaborating with people from outside the company is a big change. "We used to speak only to ourselves, and only within our network."

Polycom Professional Services and Orange Business Services, Polycom's Service Provider of 2013, implemented the solution and adoption was brisk. For this, Tassy credits the intuitive, click-to-connect nature of CloudAXIS and other Polycom environments: "Polycom is," he says, "very easy to use."

So easy, in fact, that Tassy's staff has set up a portal allowing franchises to schedule time to discuss important issues directly with company founder Alain Afflelou.  

This kind of instant access and interaction may be new to ALAIN AFFLELOU, but it is quickly transforming how the company operates. "We communicate more easily with all our franchises," Tassy says, noting video meetings are "more animated than those conducted by phone."

Vanessa Mauree says video collaboration has had a similarly profound effect on the widely distributed organization she oversees as human resources director. She now stays better engaged with the three teams she manages throughout France. Mauree no longer must travel between offices as frequently, and she even uses video to interview applicants. "Using video allows us to meet them personally, even if we're not with them," she says.

The new capabilities have also made it easier for ALAIN AFFLELOU to improve and expand its work-from-home initiative. Teleworkers use video to stay connected with their in-office colleagues, Mauree says, even as they strike a better balance between work and family life.

Video will also figure prominently in an effort to drive down the cost and complications of training in-store employees. Soon, workers at the company's more than 1,000 franchise locations will learn about management, selling skills, product details, and more via ALAIN AFFLELOU Academy. The video-based training program will help the company train more people in less time – an enormous improvement over costly in-person training.

For Mauree, it all translates to defying distance. "Thanks to Polycom, I can be in several cities at once."

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