As a boutique women’s fashion chain based in Melbourne, Forever New grew so quickly it soon found there were disconnected applications and technologies from multiple vendors. Data was running over a basic public ADSL configuration and proving to be a real headache for the 120 stores that the local IT team needed to support.
This meant greater costs, as the business was paying well above market rates for IP data services. It also meant regular disruption to the business with outages critically affecting the EFTPOS environment, and a cascaded impact on stock replenishment applications. The IT team were spending more time on reactive support rather than looking for ways to use technology for competitive differentiation. This undesirable state in their IT was preventing innovation.
Matt Keays, General Manager – Information Technology at Forever New, initiated a multi-site cloud and WAN managed services contract to tender. The goal was a flexible, cost-value and robust solution that would enable the retailer to consolidate its IT vendors and ensure a consistent environment across all sites.
The first job for Brennan IT was to assist Forever New in migrating its ecommerce platform to Brennan IT’s infrastructure.
“Brennan IT was more than proactive in helping Forever New in the migration project. It was a complex migration involving multiple incumbent vendors,” Keays said. “The Brennan IT project lead was instrumental in getting that cut-over completed in time for peak trading through Christmas. It helped immensely that Brennan IT had local presence in Melbourne and Sydney for this particular project.”
The ability for Brennan IT to be flexible around the length of the contract was critical in the decision to engage with the company, Keays said. “Most providers are always chasing multi-year contracts,” Keays explained. “Brennan IT has been forthcoming with the short term 12-month contracts as we’ve needed them, so we can assess the value creation from enlisting some of our on premise apps to the cloud.”
Following the first migration, the next stage of this multi-stage project involved the migration of all Forever New Australian stores – from the five different communications vendors it had previously – to be fully provisioned on Brennan IT’s MPLS. The goal here was to significantly reduce the costs and bundle the solution into a single bill. The major challenge in this phase was dealing with each vendor throughout the migration, which as Keays said “is always quite complex, but Brennan IT partnered very well with our internal IT Operations team and they were able to cut through a lot of that complexity.”
Brennan IT’s ability to offer flexible contracts has also encouraged Forever New to trial Infrastructure-as- a-Service (IaaS) as well, Keays added. “Now we’ve got one service provider being able to provide us both cloud applications and communications,” he said. “That has freed up internal IT resources to work on other business value-added projects.”
The services offered by Brennan IT have achieved all the business objectives that Keays was looking for when he put the contract to tender. The new IT environment for Forever New is more robust, lower cost, and more flexible. The Internal IT team has been released from chaos to help drive innovation in areas such as SharePoint and time and attendance rostering solutions to name but a few.
According to Keays, the solution has been so comprehensive that it has essentially given him and his team the equivalent of an extra team member in time and availability. Management of the technology across all retail outlets is now that much easier and responsive that the biggest concern the IT team had previously is no longer an issue. “The proactive MPLS alerting has been a major plus for our help desk in being able to proactively manage the process of getting stores back online with minimal disruption in the event of an outage,” Keays said.
“Looking forward, the MPLS that we put in is scalable too, which gave us other opportunities that we’re considering, such as video in store. There’s the ability for real time interaction which is going to be a big advantage for us in the future.”