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Design Within Reach – A BetterCloud Case Study

BetterCloud Monitor

January 14, 2014

3 minute read

dwr store

Employees: 400
Founded: 1999
Industry: Retail

Founded by Rob Forbes in 1999, Design Within Reach makes authentic, modern design accessible. DWR customers can browse furnishings in any of the company’s 40 Studios, online or in their monthly catalog, making often exclusive, hard-to-find furniture readily available.

New Location, New Platform

In 2010, after years operating on Microsoft Exchange, Design Within Reach was ready to make a change. Necessitated by the company’s move from San Francisco to Stamford, Connecticut, implementing another on-premises Exchange server in their new headquarters was cost prohibitive. Instead, the company explored hosted options, primarily Exchange. Eventually though, DWR moved to Google Apps with the help of Cloud Sherpas, a leading cloud services brokerage. The company’s Senior Systems Analyst, Tim Go, noted that Google Apps was far more affordable and simpler than switching to a hosted provider.

Designing a Better Google Apps Experience

After migrating to Google Apps, Tim saw adoption of and satisfaction with the platform increase every month. But, while the team was growing to love operating in the cloud, Tim was still missing some of the legacy administrative features from Microsoft – like the ability to easily manage users. So when he heard about BetterCloud early in its Beta stage, Tim jumped at the opportunity to test out the application.

While Tim was first drawn to BetterCloud for its easy-to-use user management features, the product has proven much more powerful and now DWR’s IT, HR, and help desk staff all make use of the application on a regular basis.


Design Within Reach makes use of BetterCloud’s offboarding workflow when an employee leaves the company. Tim has found the feature “extremely useful” and says that it “keeps the help desk organized” and by enforcing an account expiration policy, “the workflow has helped to eliminate dormant accounts on the domain.”

The feature also “drastically cut down on the time it takes to deprovision a user.” And by using the workflow’s custom checklist, DWR ensures that items like laptops, iPhones, and iPads are all returned before an employee departs the company.


Tim also actively uses BetterCloud’s inbox delegation feature. “Rather than obtaining a user’s password and logging into their inbox,” Tim’s IT team “can just delegate the inbox on the back end through BetterCloud.” Tim finds the feature especially handy when an employee (especially in the sales department) leaves the company or takes a vacation without giving their manager access to their inbox first.

DWR also uses the inbox delegation feature to create shared mailboxes. According to Tim, “there really isn’t a good way to share a mailbox natively in Google,” something the company relies on for customer service accounts where there often ten or more people who need access to just one inbox. With BetterCloud, Tim simply adds a username to a mailbox and clicks apply.


BetterCloud’s access control feature also comes in handy at Design Within Reach. Access control roles allow Tim to assign delegated administrative rights to non-super administrators within the company. In particular, Tim created an access role for the HR team which needs the ability to run reports on Google Groups.


As noted, DWR’s HR department makes heavy use of BetterCloud’s advanced reporting feature, especially when it comes to monitoring Google Groups. When the company first transitioned from Microsoft Exchange, they brought along more than 400 groups, but by analyzing their membership and usage patterns through BetterCloud’s custom reporting interface, DWR was able to eliminate nearly 200, many of which were empty or unused.

DWR also runs reports from time to time to find inactive users. In one extreme case, Tim’s team discovered an active account of an employee who left over a year ago, using BetterCloud’s reporting tools.


Design Within Reach relies on BetterCloud’s Drive management and visibility tools to take action on the backend. Recently, Tim needed access to a certain document created by one of his IT staffers. However, the staff member was out of the office and unreachable. Rather than resetting the user’s password, logging to their account and altering sharing settings on the document, Tim was able to seamlessly add himself to the document through BetterCloud.

When Tim first installed BetterCloud more than eight months ago, he saw the product merely as an extension of the Google Apps admin console. Now Tim calls BetterCloud the “ultimate tool for Google Apps management.”