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Carte Blanche

The challeng​​es of success

Founded in 1987 with a portfolio of just 12 cards, Carte Blanche has grown from an innovative UK greetings card company into an international player in the greetings card, gifts, toy, licensing and digital fields. Through familiar brands such as Me to You, Tiny Tatty Teddy, Violent Veg and My Blue Nose Friends, Carte Blanche works with major retail partners, including Tesco, Asda, Marks & Spencer and WH Smith, and this year is launching its first retail concept store. Now with over 75 licensees and 250 employees, Carte Blanche has developed rapidly, with the licensing department seeing some of the biggest growth.


A mor​​e efficient workflow

With success there are always challenges, as such the licensing department struggled with a dated and ad-hoc workflow which saw many processes handled via emails and attachments, with spreadsheets providing the main means to track licenses and approvals. Led by IT Manager, Brian Bennet, the company’s IT team set out to find a more effective solution.

There are several off-the-shelf applications that address the requirement companies have to manage the standard license approval process but these require an upfront investment and an annual license, making them expensive to run long-term. In addition, any bespoke amendments that are required will incur an additional cost. However, Carte Blanche was already familiar with Microsoft SharePoint, and saw the potential to adopt it here. 

We thought that if SharePoint was about document approval and workflow, then that’s more or less the basis of what a licensing approval process is trying to achieve.

With an initial capital expenditure but minimal ongoing costs, SharePoint became a very attractive candidate for the job.​

However, Carte Blanche needed a partner. "Out of the box, SharePoint couldn’t achieve what the licensing department needed" says Brian. "We realised that we couldn’t do it ourselves, and that we needed to engage with a SharePoint consultancy that really understood SharePoint and, most importantly, our own business. We looked at several consultancies within the marketplace, and that's where we found Core." 

We looked at several consultancies within the marketplace, and that’s where we found Core. After some further research we found that Core had the right approach and expertise – and at a competitive price. They were able to go above and beyond some of the other providers and really listened to what we wanted to achieve from our SharePoint migration.

The new licensing and approval solution gave the team a more efficient workflow with a more easily tracked procedure, however this wasn’t without the long-term costs of off-the-shelf alternative. Taking those costs into account, the investment in SharePoint will ​pay for itself in under three years. Part of the reason for this is Carte Blanche’s in-house IT team will handle the ongoing administration and maintenance work. 

My in-house team would have taken six months to get up to speed and implement this, but by picking up the programme from Core it’s been a lot quicker.

Thanks to solid knowledge transfer from Core’s consultants, Brian’s in-house team can manage the solution from here on in.



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