IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 2 Apr 2009

Paperchase hosting

retail IT services

Retail Assist is providing Data Centre hosting, 24/365 operations monitoring, technical services and support for Paperchase’s server infrastructure.

This includes the IBM I-Series running Retail Assist’s Merret supply chain solution, and a disaster recovery service for the I-Series.

As Retail Assist’s CEO, Dan Smith, comments: “This contract is another example of an existing customer deepening its relationship with us. Having demonstrated the value of our Merret supply chain solution, we worked with Paperchase to identify further areas where we could enhance its operations and underpin its growth plans.”

Prior to making the move to Retail Assist’s Data Centre, Paperchase’s technical infrastructure was supported internally at its Head Office. Its own facilities were not subject to the latest environmental controls and 24/365 monitoring was not practical. The lack of a DR service was felt to be a business risk, plus machine space was costly.

Paperchase’s confidence in Retail Assist came from a strong track record of working together. It also acknowledged the provider’s experience in supporting specialist I-Series and Wintel environments, and in monitoring overnight schedules, particularly for its own Merret software.

Paperchase’s Head of IT explains: “Our internal IT team had many other strategic demands to meet. We saw the benefit of not being burdened with day-to-day operational responsibility for our hardware platforms, at the same time as gaining a more stable environment. Retail Assist is a perfect fit for those needs. The new infrastructure comes with a lower cost of ownership but delivers greater productivity. It’s scalable and flexible and makes us more agile as a business.”

Retail Assist project-managed the transition project to relocate the existing servers to its own Northampton Data Centre, including disaster recovery testing for the I-Series. All elements are now located with a purpose-built machine-housing environment, which is constantly monitored and maintained according to ISO20000 procedures. “The business did not suffer from any service disruption. In fact, the transition was completely seamless to our user community.”

The new infrastructure is supporting two head office locations, the Distribution Centre and 130+ stores. In addition to providing greater stability and resilience plus less system downtime and service disruption, it is releasing the internal IT team to focus on Business Change requests and project implementations.

Paperchase is the UK’s retail brand leader in design-led stationery. The company has a 30-year trading history and now has 130 UK outlets and an extensive store-opening programme in the USA. Paperchase trades nationwide from its own stores and also through concessions, supported by Retail Assist’s Ra-X global data exchange solution.

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