Calmonte. Technology that's tailor-made for business
"We need IT that's really easy to use, so we can do our jobs without having to worry about how the tools work, without knowing about IT, and without having an IT specialist in the company", says Massimo Calmonte. "Apple technology allows us to focus on our core business without having to become experts in IT".
Massimo is general and sales manager for the textile division of Calmonte Srl, a family-run business based in Bassano del Grappa, Italy, that employs just 11 staff. Founded in 1970 by Massimo's father Ezio, Calmonte act as sales agents for Italian manufacturers in home textiles and garments in the North-East of Italy, and for foreign manufacturers in textiles from India, Pakistan and Turkey, across the whole country. Calmonte's customers are mostly Italian companies, but the company is currently looking to expand its activities into other European markets, with the aim of acting as pan-European agents for the Indian suppliers it works with.
Massimo — the youngest of the family to work in the business, which also employs his older brother Riccardo and brother-in-law Francesco in the company's clothing division — has been the driving force behind introducing Apple technology to Calmonte, having bought his first Mac, an iBook, for personal use in 1999. "When Massimo brought his iBook into the business, it was a revelation", says Ezio. "Within two hours, I was able to learn everything I needed to send emails, get in touch with our contacts in India - everything".
Massimo believes that Apple's focus on the user experience and on making tasks intuitive is a key benefit for Calmonte. "If technology isn't easy to use, we'll put off learning how to use it, and carry on using existing, much less efficient tools. Because Apple's solutions are so well designed, they're easy to learn and we enjoy working with them. That helps us generally be more enthusiastic and effective in our own work. Apple technology definitely isn't just for designers who require access to specialist graphics materials. Even if you're in sales, Apple helps you easily access the content you need, and allows you to focus on your work, not on the tools you're using".
Using Apple technology also enhances Calmonte's image in the eyes of clients. "In our business, how we present ourselves to customers is very important, from our first presentation to the tools we use", Massimo points out. "But you must have substance behind what you're showing, and using well-designed products like those from Apple supports the image we need to present. On top of that, because Apple allows us to concentrate on the content and what we're trying to do, rather than the technology, we can present more effectively to customers and be more professional and skilled for them".
Another benefit of using Apple technology, Massimo says, is that it's very easy to implement and manage, requiring no specialist IT expertise. "It's important for us to be able to keep up with the latest technology, because IT gives us an advantage in our marketplace in terms of how we can support customers and the suppliers we represent", Massimo points out, "but we're too small to employ an IT specialist ourselves".
Finally, he points out, "Apple's solutions are very scalable, making it extremely easy to expand our infrastructure in a step-by-step fashion, without needing to completely change everything, as we move into working in other countries and with more collaborators".
In fact, the company's growing use of Apple technology demonstrates just how scalable Apple's solutions are. Calmonte acquired its first company machine, an iBook, in 2004. By the middle of 2010, Calmonte had iMacs for four of its office-based staff and several variants of notebooks for its five sales agents, as well as a number of iPhones, and was using the networking capabilities native to the Mac OS X to share data between all these different platforms. "One of the advantages of using Apple technology is that there's no issue with running different generations of technology, and we can access the same information from any device", Massimo points out.