Fashion retailer s.Oliver boosts productivity

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INFORMATION: Free information is available from CA on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

s.Oliver has operations in more than 30 countries. As one of Germanys leading fashion retailers, it introduces 12 new collections every year and processes up to 350,000 items every day.

In order to quickly identify current trends and bring new products to market, while maintaining an efficient and cost-effective supply chain, it was necessary to implement an integrated business service management solution that will support the adoption of ITIL-based processes and increase systems performance.

By simplifying IT management, s.Oliver has increased productivity and enhanced business continuity, which will safeguard the continuity of its fashion supply chain and ongoing profitability.

From cars to mobile phones right through to the brand of our jeans and the make of our shoes, fashion touches every part of our lives. For manufacturers, keeping up with the latest trends and even pioneering them is essential for retaining competitive advantage. Nowhere is this need more paramount than in the retail sector, where constantly changing fashions have helped to create a booming multi-billion dollar industry.

Fashion giant s.Oliver is a leading European player in this industry, with operations in more than 30 countries and a presence in over 2,500 retail outlets, which include 50 of its own megastores. The company which began life as a small boutique in Germany in 1969 has tripled its sales since 1995* and in 2006 launched a joint collection with world-renowned singer Anastacia.

To build on this success, the company is now focusing its efforts on achieving faster
international expansion and strong turnover growth. Central to this strategy is s.Olivers ability to identify current trends and translate them into commercial products in the shortest possible time. As well as its own successful clothing labels, s.Oliver also licenses a range of accessories and lifestyle lines. These products are constantly being changed to keep up with the relentless pace
of the fashion industry. As a result, every year s.Oliver introduces 12 new collections and must process up to 350,000 items through is logistics centre every single day.

To operate such a complex and high-volume supply chain, the company must have access to a reliable and robust IT infrastructure. In previous years, s.Oliver has continually expanded the use of IT across the group, which now boasts a range of solutions, including a bespoke logistics systems along with SAP, CAD software, standard Office programs, email and EDI. These are supported by diverse operating systems, such as Windows, HP-UX, OS/400, AIX and Mac-OS. Worldwide, there are around 350 servers as well as a Citrix environment and about 1,500 PCs at the companys headquarters in Germany.

Due to its constantly growing IT infrastructure, the IT team at s.Oliver needed to optimise the way it monitors and manages this environment. As Kurt Engel, Network Manager at s.Oliver, explains, Our previous heterogeneous IT management solutions no longer met our requirements.

s.Oliver also wanted to conduct its IT operations and IT service management on ITIL-based processes. This meant a step-change for s.Oliver and necessitated the implementation of an end-to-end IT management suite with integrated solutions.
After a comprehensive selection process, s.Oliver opted for Unicenter from CA. As Engel explains, We were won over by Unicenter for three main reasons: not only could CA show us how Unicenter could progress our IT management but we were also impressed by the different options available to us in adapting products to our needs. Finally, CAs integrated approach means that the solutions can be used in modular fashion. The introduction of Unicenter took place gradually with support from CA Technology Services and CA partner Maxxys. A unified service and support system was implemented first. This included the introduction of ITIL-based processes for core IT functions, such as incident and problem management.

This support system is founded on an EITM-based solution from CA, namely Unicenter Service Desk and Unicenter Client Device Management Suite consisting of Unicenter Asset Management, Unicenter Software Delivery and Unicenter Remote Control. s.Oliver has also deployed Unicenter Network and Systems Management (NSM) to monitor and manage its server estate and various software components. In the future, the fashion giant is planning to introduce Unicenter Service Level Management (SLM), which will enable measurable service levels, and SPECTRUM to enhance the monitoring and fault management of the companys Ethernet network. A central Client Management Database (CMDB) will also be implemented.

Result: Optimised performance and efficiency

The use of an ITIL-based management solution brings a number of benefits. The greatest benefit for s.Oliver is the ability to optimise the performance of its IT services by reducing the response time to system failures, which aids both operational efficiency and business continuity. As well as enhancing the responsiveness of its IT services, s.Oliver has also increased service quality thanks to the new controlled workflow and integrated IT management capabilities of Unicenter. This leads to considerable increases in productivity, says Engel. For example, if an
employee reports a fault via telephone, email or an incident form, the associated asset
management information is available to the IT support team immediately via the Unicenter Client Device Management Suite, which is seamlessly connected with Unicenter Service Desk. The integration of this solution with Unicenter NSM also means that if a critical server system condition is identified, Unicenter Service Desk will automatically open a fault ticket.

As well as benefiting from an integrated approach to enterprise IT management, CAs business service management solution also offers s.Oliver individual advantages. As Engel confirms, These range from a complete representation of our entire infrastructure and automatic software distribution through to proactive monitoring and a clear overview in the web-based Unicenter Portal. In this way, IT management as a whole has been considerably unified and simplified.

INFORMATION: Free information is available from CA on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

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