REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Scandinavian outdoor brand, Helly Hansen, best known for apparel that is the optimal combination of purposeful design, protection and style, has chosen Microsoft Office 365 as its communication and social platform. A globally recognized brand, Helly Hansen sells its products on five continents. In addition, Helly Hansen operates 39 retail outlets in Europe and North America. The company is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, and its 350 full-time employees collaborate across offices in Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, China, Canada and the United States. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO) As the retail industry evolves, the need to stay up to date and maintain a competitive edge is a matter of brand survival. Before Helly Hansen moved to Office 365, email, conferencing and phone systems were separate silos, and these systems were outdated and unreliable. Employees consistently felt the pain when trying to make conference and video calls, share large files, or communicate with an increasing workforce spread across countries and time zones. To stay at the top of its game, Helly Hansen knew it needed to help its teams work together and connect with one another at a moment's notice. "There was no instant messaging and no simple conferencing solutions. Several of our stores weren't able to receive local phone service and depended on mobile phones for communications," said Sandy Abrahams, IT director, Helly Hansen. "We weren't connected to one another allowing us to make timely decisions and move our business forward." Almost immediately, Helly Hansen started seeing results. Employees were enjoying fast and familiar email, with enough storage so they no longer had to spend time managing the size of their mailboxes. Employees were able to share information easily with SharePoint Online team sites or Lync Online instant messaging and videoconferencing. The added flexibility provided by the Office 365 solutions now allows employees in Oslo to compare design samples with Hong Kong, and retail stores can provide headquarters feedback on visual displays via videoconference. "For the IT team, which is spread over five countries, being able to have all of our meetings online has been an amazing transformation," Abrahams said. "Now that we can see each other and share our desktops, we can lead more productive meetings and benefit from closer relationships."