With over 300 stores across Australia, Strandbags are a leading home-grown specialty retailer of high quality luggage, handbags, and consumer travel gear. Since opening in 1927, the company has seen several periods of expansion, most recently adding to its impressive chain of locations via acquisitions in both Australia and New Zealand.
When Strandbags decided to move its outlets to a new Point of Sale system, Cory Dewar, the Strandbags Group’s Network Administrator, knew that the dial-up service linking the company’s retail stores and offices would no longer be up to the task.
The proposed Point of Sale system promised to deliver a raft of benefits to Strandbag’s business, but only – as Cory realised – if the company could find a connectivity regime with the speed, reliability and flexibility required to support the intended communications revolution.
Having canvassed several options, Cory soon settled on what he describes as Brennan IT’s “highly competitive” proposal for a Private IP Wide Area Network (WAN).
Able to seamlessly link Strandbags locations across both Australia and New Zealand, the Private IP WAN would deliver secure, managed networking with 24/7 support.
Based on Brennan IT’s close analysis of Strandbags various requirements, Cory says that the resulting network roll-out was both “quick and pain free”, with the promised implementation delivered over a short time-frame.
Now providing enterprise-wide communications throughout the Strandbags operation, the Private IP solution also has the added benefit of allowing the company’s mobile workers to readily connect with internal systems. And importantly – as more stores are added to the Strandbags chain – new nodes are easily added to the network’s adaptive environment.
In conjunction with Brennan IT’s round-the-clock monitoring, the Private IP solution maintains high levels of network service across Strandbag’s systems. The result is a network reliability that Cory describes as “extremely dependable.”
Since the Private IP solution’s implementation, Brennan IT has also further consulted with Strandbags to deliver added network services. A highly-effective Cisco ASA firewall is now in place to help secure the network from internet threats, while Cisco switches also permit Cory to examine exactly what data comes both in and out.
Complementing this, an advanced ‘content keeper’ allows Cory to create policies for staff internet access while also monitoring his bandwidth costs with an eye on minimising unnecessary traffic.
Cory describes the primary benefit of Brennan IT’s Private IP WAN solution as the level of communications efficiency that it offers across the enterprise.
In combination with the Point of Sale system, the new network is helping Strandbags to better serve its customer base and in turn retain more business. As an example, where staff in individual stores previously needed to telephone the company warehouse for up to date information on stocks and deliveries, they can now use the internal network to instantly access stock lists both at the warehouse and nearby stores.
In addition to retail benefits, the WAN is also producing efficiencies in other areas. Strandbag’s IT staff now have a vastly improved means of providing rapid support at local sites, with remote access allowing for organisation-wide diagnosis and resolution of IT problems from the one centralised location, creating tangible savings on support costs.
And because the Private IP WAN is a managed solution, its maintenance and administration is managed by Brennan IT’s expert team, providing concrete assurances on service levels and response times while also eliminating the cost of providing a WAN specialist within Strandbag’s operation.
Of Strandbags relationship with Brennan IT, Cory says, “Brennan IT have been involved in our IT infrastructure for several years now. Their approach is one of partnership, which we like. They really do take the time to understand where we’re at, and in fact they’ll often come to us with proposals for better ways of supporting the business.”
“Across the various projects we’ve been involved in, I think it’s their level of technological and business acumen that’s essentially been what’s enabled Brennan IT to deliver services that meet our needs.”
To find out more about The Strandbags Group click here.