Cape Union Mart takes to the cloud with Mimecast

Local adventure retailer simplifies and optimises its email management with an all-in-one cloud-based unified email management solution


Cape Union Mart has been South Africa’s go-to outlet for all things adventure and outdoor since 1933. The retail chain stocks specialised gear and clothing for a variety of outdoor pursuits including hiking, camping, trail running, mountain biking, snow sports and travel.

The Cape Town-based retail group is currently home to five major brands including its flagship outdoor store Cape Union Mart; popular technical outdoor clothing and gear brand, K-Way; casual fashion brand Old Khaki; uniform company Sparks & Ellis; and its eclectic lifestyle concept store for women, Poetry.


Cape Union Mart initially engaged with Mimecast to replace its incumbent archiving system, which was sapping infrastructure resources and productivity. Through consultation with Mimecast and trusted cloud services advisors In the Cloud Services (ITCS), the business identified a growing dependence upon email for communication and collaboration across its expanding retail network. This created a number of other challenges that needed to be addressed.

“We support an expansive branch network of more than 150 individual stores across South Africa as well as in Botswana and Namibia from our central facility,” explains Jason Rigby, Head of Infrastructure for Cape Union Mart. “We needed a standardised means of backing up and storing archived mail that would reduce data loss and enable tracking and retrieval of important information while enforcing governance across the business.”

Rapidly and continuously increasing volumes meant we were outpacing our system capabilities – our incumbent system was never designed to cope with big data of this size – remove? Storage capacities were exceeded, environments were in danger of becoming unstable, and data retrieval was compromised.”


As a brand, Cape Union Mart pursues the extreme, from innovative product offerings to creating really ‘wow’ customer experiences. It applies a similar approach to its technology, consistently adopting ahead-of-the-curve solutions that enable operations while keeping investment lean. This made the Mimecast Unified Email Management (UEM) solution an ideal fit for the business.

ITCS’s enviable track record assisting with the implementation of Mimecast and incorporating its technology seamlessly into the operation of mission-critical email environments also helped streamline a near flawless implementation.

The offering delivers security, continuity and archiving as a single integrated cloud-based service. Users can transition seamlessly onto Mimecast’s own purpose-built grid, regardless of location or device, guaranteeing continuity and accessibility.

From an administrative perspective, activities are conveniently managed via a central, web-based administration console, which couples visibility with an intuitive user interface.

To support the business’s enterprise mobility strategy, certain users – buyers and management in particular – can access the Mimecast platform directly from their mobile devices, with the same level of security and accessibility as if they were in the office, from anywhere in the world.

According to Evan Torrance, Group Services Director for the Cape Union Mart Group, Mimecast was the only solution to offer this all-in-one approach to the company’s mail management. “In our opinion, Mimecast sets the industry standard,” he says.


Mitigating email-related risk
Mimecast has created a stable environment that has been 100% available since its deployment in 2010. Its exceptional security has reduced spam and malware to rare occurrences and offers complete peace of mind around compliance.

Equally important is the fact that mails are securely archived and easy to retrieve. “Key correspondence can no longer conveniently ‘disappear’ and we always have a traceable and verifiable paper trail in the event of litigation or HR infringement. There have been numerous instances where this has proved invaluable to our business,” says Rigby. “We have also noted a positive influence on our users’ behaviour with regards to malicious mail usage.”

Better use of resources
Mimecast relieves pressure on both technology and human resources. “Our productivity has greatly improved as the time wasted on organising mails and then hunting for correspondence is virtually eliminated,” explains Rigby. “Mimecast’s cloud-based repository means our business no longer needs to store our historical emails on premise – some of which go back 15 years or more.”

Making the leap to a system that offers more intuitive archiving and search engine-like capabilities did take some doing. “The technology was easy, seamless in fact, but it called for a dramatic change of mind set for our users,” admits Rigby. “Mimecast and ITCS were fully on board with education and adoption initiatives and we have reached the point where .PST’s as a means of archiving are essentially banned in our organisation.”

Building brand equity
Cape Union Mart’s brand equity is an important asset and Mimecast’s stationery element supports both corporate identity and compliance requirements. It also assists the marketing team track promotional activity. E-mail banners are monitored and reporting around interaction and click through allows the retailer to evaluate the success of mail campaigns and adapt accordingly. “This is an element that has been a surprising value-add for us. Despite an intensive up-skill by our team, we are still discovering new uses for these tools all the time,” says Rigby.

A partnership that grows with the business
Mimecast is a solution that grows with the business, from managing email challenges, to enabling enterprise mobility strategies, to supporting the business’s appetite for cloud-based services.

Beyond the phenomenal technology aspects, Cape Union Mart benefits hugely from professional and passionate consultants at both Mimecast and ITCS. “We believe that these dedicated partnerships will continue to add value as on-going trusted advisors to the business,” concludes Torrance.

Cape Union Mart
Sector: Retail
Size: 400 End Users
Location: Cape Town
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