In 2002 Dutch investigative reporter Teun van de Keuken discovered that despite a signed protocol, chocolate companies still did not act to end forced child labor. He decided to beat them at their own game, starting his new company : Tony’s Chocolonely. Since 2005 they have been dealing directly with West African cocoa farmers, enabling those families to earn a living wage so that children in Ghana and the Ivory Coast can go to school, not to work.
"Hand in hand with our mission to share engaging stories we keep our company open, honest, and communicating. Nurturing that spirit drives key decisions by company leadership." said IT manager Rick van Doorn. “Our team comes first,” he explains. “And keeping that team collaborating optimally is vital to everything we do."
For Tony’s team, suppliers, “choco fans” and West African partners, it’s all about building transparent relationships. Angela Ursem, Marketing Communications manager at Tony’s Chocolonely points to their motto: Crazy about chocolate, serious about people. Being serious about people means being serious about the company’s collaborations with partners and suppliers, and about connecting consumers.
Tony’s Chocolonely came together as a six-person team that mixed up workspaces every six months, sharing space with colleagues from different departments to build stronger team relations. That dedication to cultivating teamwork led the company to experiment with various apps purported to propel teamwork forward. An early version of Skype for Business, one of the first Microsoft solutions the company used, and mobile phones connected the team with people on the ground in West Africa. But as the company expanded, those methods couldn’t match the convenience of emerging collaboration tools.
The team tried third-party messaging apps, but that turned out to be too time-consuming. Then they tried a new online collaboration platform, but it quickly surpassed the license limits and costs outweighed the benefits. IT manager Rick van Doorn, together with telco provider Vodafone, decided to upgrade to Windows 10, move company data to Microsoft SharePoint, and start managing devices with Microsoft Intune and mobile device management. Tony’s Chocolonely capped its modernization by rolling out Teams, a part of the Office 365 subscription. Staff members can now apply “quiet hours” so they’re not inundated with updates at all hours, unlike their experiences with the previous messaging solution.
The masterstroke for Tony’s team was consolidating telephony with Office 365. Employees can now access the company landline through Teams with the Vodafone Calling solution. For external dialogues, Teams is extended with the Anywhere365® Dialogue Cloud communications platform, which even interoperates with Salesforce CRM, so that all incoming calls can be logged in the company’s customer database.
"Using Teams with Anywhere365® amplifies the personal and transparent approach we’re known for," said van Doorn. “We can talk to our chocofans with full knowledge of their prior backgrounds, orders, and feedback."
Incoming calls automatically route to the best person to handle the call, no matter where that person is, and contact information is included for the convenience of the person receiving the call. And all in one modern agent workplace, the Anywhere365® WebAgent."
The Tony’s IT team is just four people, including van Doorn. That lean number falls in line with the company’s long-term strategy. Tony’s started with an on-premises infrastructure but migrated to the cloud about 10 years ago. “We were growing rapidly and needed to be scalable,” recalls van Doorn. “And we also looked at the growing number of relationships we were managing—both customers and suppliers, plus our rapidly expanding staff. We felt that committing to a complicated IT landscape in terms of connections, interfaces, and equipment would have been a risk.”
For the people behind the Tony’s Chocolonely brand, it ultimately comes down to relationships. “Bad connections between end points are a no-go, as they will distract the relations that we build. Instead, we’ve implemented the entire Office 365 suite,” said van Doorn.
"All of our data is on SharePoint, reports are made in PowerBI and our omnichannel capabilities run through Anywhere365, which is the most seamless experience our teams can have. It saves time for customers, partners, suppliers and our team."