Your Email Archive, Right in Your Pocket

Jeans and fashion brand Closed relies on EMA for cutting-edge digital information management.

Timeless denim classics: Since its foundation in 1976, the German fashion brand Closed has been mastering the art of jeans. With headquarters in Hamburg and international locations, about 500 employees work tirelessly to design, craft, and market contemporary collections centered around denim textiles. The fashion label produces globally, including in Italy, Portugal, and China.

In the fast-paced, seasonally driven textile industry, staying ahead of the curve and efficiently managing global processes is crucial for Closed. Especially in the design and production departments, email communication plays a pivotal role. Employees and managers in these departments rely heavily on email for sending business-critical information daily and must have immediate access to all email data, including older messages. Typically, this includes photos and image files of patterns or collections, contributing to a data growth of about two terabytes per year. Aware of the essential role of email storage, Closed's IT department had implemented an archiving system years ago. However, over time, this system showed significant flaws.

Existing Archive: Prone to Errors and Inefficient

"Our previous email archive left much to be desired. It was slow, prone to errors, which meant our IT team was constantly on the move, either recovering email messages for staff or trying to get the entire archive system back up and running," explains Philip Wenkel, IT Administrator at Closed GmbH. "Especially after the employee who originally implemented the system left the company, we found ourselves depending on external support all too often."

In search of a solution, the fashion manufacturer, together with its IT service provider, evaluated potential alternatives and rigorously tested several archiving solutions. The list of must-haves included some deal-breakers. For example, the system needed to seamlessly integrate with the employees' Outlook email clients and adopt the existing folder structures. To simplify the login process without extra hassle, Single Sign-On support was a must-have. Aiming to overcome a significant shortcoming of the old system, Closed also emphasized the importance of a high-performance full-text search function. Ideally, employees would have access to a “search engine” that makes recovering needed email messages as easy as pie.

Closed found the perfect solution in EMA from ARTEC IT Solutions. Opting for an appliance-based solution, with ARTEC's support, it was swiftly implemented in Closed's own data center. ARTEC technicians also played a crucial role in importing existing email data from the old archiving system—a far from straightforward task given the proprietary format of the email messages. However, this challenge was overcome with a special import server from ARTEC that automatically converted and imported the old data into the new archive in a standard format.

"The support from ARTEC was outstanding, and the positive impact of the transition is remarkable," says Wenkel. "In our IT department, we've noticed a significant reduction in workload. Requests and issues related to the email archive have plummeted by 90%, as users can now instantly find any email and access the message along with its attachments in real-time. The system was immediately embraced by our staff, who find the search function incredibly user-friendly. We're also fully sold on the appliance-based solution. Initially, we were leaning toward a virtualized option, but we've come to see several key administrative benefits that make the appliance the better choice."

For easy access to email even on the go, particularly the design and production departments make intensive use of the archive. Some employees enhance their mobile experience with the ARTEC AOS app, available for iOS and Android devices, granting them access to all crucial email messages from anywhere using the familiar EMA full-text search. This is especially advantageous for users who frequently travel between production and design locations or visit the branches and prefer not to carry a bulky laptop. Through the app, they can directly access the content they need, anytime, anywhere.

Following the successful implementation of the email archiving system, including the complete import of existing data, Closed plans to further leverage the archive to relieve pressure on the mail server. Looking ahead, Closed is considering expanding its information management processes with additional ARTEC modules, as Philip Wenkel reports:

"The overall performance of our mail server leaves a lot to be desired. That's why we plan to use the archive for direct relief by automatically deleting all email from the server after a certain period, making them accessible only through the EMA archive. Currently, we also operate a parallel document archive, which we aim to eventually replace with additional EMA modules. For example, the File Module could be used for file archiving. Our goal is to create a central repository for all business-critical data and information, ensuring truly transparent and efficient processes."

Data Management and Security with EMA
  • Model: EMA S400
  • Modules in use: EMA Mail and EMA File

Key Benefits at a Glance

  • Significant increase in email with large image files and business-critical information, particularly within the design and production departments.
  • Sought a high-performing archiving system with direct integration into email clients and full-text search capabilities.
  • EMA was quickly implemented in Closed's own data center, resulting in a 90% reduction in problems.
  • The ARTEC AOS app provides flexibility and constant access to email on the go.

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