Renee Harwood

Vice President, IT, Corp and Store Infrastructure, Gymboree

Supernova Award Category: 

Next Generation Customer Experience

The Company: 

From its origins in the 1970s offering mom-and-baby classes in San Francisco, Gymboree has grown organically into one of the most trusted brands in high-end children’s clothing and accessories. Today the company is an international retailer operating more than 950 stores throughout North America, along with franchises around the world.

The Problem: 

After more than 20 years in the same headquarters, where our corporate team grew to several hundred, Gymboree had amassed a great deal of technical debt. We had put off upgrading our communications systems because there were always more pressing projects. But when management announced the planned upgrades to our retail locations to more accurately reflect Gymboree’s origins as a boutique high-end retail, we knew it was time to make those technology upgrades as well—because doing so could free up budget to support the retail initiative.

To help free up budget for this endeavor, the infrastructure and IT teams were tasked with optimizing the company’s communications systems, which were increasingly suffering from deferred maintenance and technical debt.  We had legacy phone systems most employees weren’t using anymore, an instant messaging service that gave us frequent licensing hassles, and other systems, like video conferencing, from different providers. It was all cobbled together and very costly and time consuming to manage.

The Solution: 

By deploying RingCentral Office®and RingCentral Glip™ we found a single, end-to-end ecosystem for all of the company’s communication and collaboration needs. In particular, RingCentral Glip has been especially.  Being able to jump onto a platform where they can create a dedicated ‘room’ to share ideas, files, schedules, images—Glip just makes our teams’ workflow run so smoothly. For example, we have a Glip team called ‘162.’ That’s the ID number of our New York store, and in that Glip team you can load videos, promotional ideas, schedules, past conversations, and just about everything our teams are working on to run that location. The Glip 162 team includes both internal people and vendors like our merchandisers and construction contractors. It’s the easiest way to start an impromptu conversation, share information, and get things done for that store. 

The Results: 

With RingCentral Office®and RingCentral Glip™ we found a single, end-to-end ecosystem for all of the company’s communication and collaboration needs. Cost Savings: Glip has already helped us reduce our expenses on communications infrastructure in our corporate offices. Going forward, we’re expecting Glip will provide us a multimillion-dollar solve each year for communications across our retail stores. Collaboration: Glip has become so integral to how we manage our workflow that we’re increasingly insisting our vendors and partners work with us on the Glip platform. 

RingCentral offers our store associates as well as corporate employees mobility and accessibility from anytime and anywhere. With the RingCentral mobile app, we have multi-generational employees who now communicate much more frequently and use RingCentral Glip to share and collaborate on projects.  In addition, we have seen some of our experts chime in on a project to coach and/or give advice, which helps us speed up decision making and helps our newer analysts learn from our experts.


The implementation of RingCentral Office and RingCentral Glip delivered amazing results. More than 90% of our corporate staff is using Glip today. When we started rolling out RingCentral Office for VoIP phone service, we also began pushing our staff onto the Glip platform. But our employees didn’t need much convincing. It’s now our primary collaboration and communication tool, and we’ve been finding a thousand uses for Glip, resulting in high adoption across the company.  

RingCentral has saved us 50% in our communication costs by running on RingCentral Platform.

The Technology: 

RingCentral Office®and RingCentral Glip™

Disruptive Factor: 

●   Creative: Our creative teams use it to collaborate on clothing styles and other projects. One group of designers created a Glip team called the ‘Tight-Knit Group.’

●      Human Resources: HR and Benefits uses Glip to send us important employee updates. They’ve created a ‘Benefits, Wellness, and Perks’ team, and they Glip us with information such as where today’s yoga class will be held, reminders to schedule appointments with our 401(k) provider, and even employee coupons.

●      Admin: The front-desk staff uses Glip as their phone directory, so they don’t have to go into a different app to find an employee’s direct line. Because Glip is integrated into RingCentral Office, the front desk team can find a staff member’s number in Glip and immediately transfer the call—all through the same platform.

●      CRM: We even use Glip as a CRM tool. Because Glip lets us share files, share our screens, chat, and make video calls, it’s become our preferred way to manage relationships with partners and vendors.

●      Mobility: We use Glip to pinpoint where we have network connectivity and where we lose it. Because we can chat in real-time using Glip, one of us can take a mobile device with the Glip app into, say, an elevator, and send messages like, ‘On 38th floor, still connected?’

Shining Moment: 

I walked into a meeting with regional field leaders on a screen with 6 other stores.  I've shared that at our all-hands.  Now it just takes us a couple clicks of a button to collaborate with the field.  With the RingCentral solution, we have projected a savings of hundreds of thousands.  We’ve offer an intuitive apps (Team Collaboration, Voice, Video and web meetings) for our store managers and employees to connect back to headquarters when they want.  

About Gymboree

Gymboree Group, Inc.'s specialty retail brands offer unique, high-quality products delivered with personalized customer service. The Company operates Gymboree®, Gymboree Outlet, Janie and Jack® and Crazy 8® retail stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico as well as online stores at, and