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VTech gives its global development teams a new way to collaborate

October 17, 2023
The Google Workspace Team

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Since the 1970s, VTech has grown from a small Hong Kong-based company to a global household name in toys, telecommunications, and contract manufacturing. The company serves customers worldwide with more than 25,000 employees in Europe, Asia, and North America.

In the past, VTech teams focused a lot on local IT support, with teams addressing their specific regions instead of managers collaborating globally. IT systems and software varied across locations, and the company lacked a secure and centralized storage environment to enable teams worldwide to reliably share toy designs and other high-value intellectual property with each other.

“We spent a lot of time sending spreadsheets from Hong Kong to Europe, as well as between offices in various European countries, and then back again. We needed a solution to act as a single digital repository to better support our global teams,” says Marck Koolen, Technical Application Manager at VTech Electronics Europe. “We envisioned having one reliable, secure environment to store configuration spreadsheets and other information so our teams could work in the same documents at the same time.”

After evaluating options, VTech chose to work with Google Workspace and partner Devoteam G Cloud to build a new collaborative foundation based on Google Drive.

A better way to connect global teams

Devoteam G Cloud stepped in to bring in all the right stakeholders from VTech’s locations and gather business requirements. VTech wanted a centralized cloud-based environment that would provide a reliable, unified way of working for everyone, regardless of location. Given the value of VTech’s intellectual property, the solution had to meet the highest security and compliance standards.

Once the company decided to use Drive as the foundation for enhanced file sharing and collaboration, Devoteam G Cloud assisted with the deployment in a two-phase approach. First, IT teams in the Netherlands and other countries were able to use Drive to become familiar with the tool and conduct testing. During this phase, VTech and Devoteam G Cloud set up Conditional Awareness Access to restrict access based on IP addresses and other rules.

“The collaboration between our teams was good right from the start, and that’s because both teams have a really hands-on mindset,” says Wouter Stiekema, Customer Success Manager at Devoteam G Cloud. “VTech knew what they wanted and how to implement it to address their unique business requirements. At the same time, Devoteam G Cloud brought the deep knowledge of Google Workspace necessary to make it all happen.”

With the setup of the highly secure Drive environment complete, Devoteam G Cloud assisted with the second phase of deploying the more complete rollout of Drive company-wide. Teams in Asia, Australia, Europe, Canada, and the United States can now regularly collaborate through a single digital location. In addition, Vtech IT benefits from the streamlined administration that comes with a unified, cloud-based solution. 

“In the past we had to go into networking equipment, firewalls, and even into internet configurations when we received change requests,” says Koolen. “Now it’s all done in the cloud, with things like two-factor authentication, IP checks, and rules-based access set up instantly. From a security and maintenance perspective, Google Workspace makes everything much simpler and more reliable for employees and for IT.”

Accelerating product development

VTech product teams are also beginning to use Docs and Sheets to streamline product development processes. For example, teams had been unable to include pictures of their work — such as new toy designs — in legacy document and spreadsheet software. Now, with Docs and Sheets, they can simply drag-and-drop any images they want to use. And by keeping files in Drive, VTech employees worldwide can access their work from anywhere while collaborating on the next great toy. 

“This is just one example of how this new way of working is so well-suited to our product development efforts. Technology is no longer an obstacle to how our creative teams can work together,” says Koolen.

While VTech remains a largely on-premises shop, it has already enjoyed a lot of success with Drive and other Google Workspace tools. In the future, the company plans to continue innovating with an eye on next-generation technologies.

“I could see us using AI within our product development to truly customize some of our educational toys,” says Koolen. “It’s still a ways off for us, but I am excited to see how new technologies bring fresh creative opportunities to our business.”

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