Pacific Brands taps cloud for business sell-offs, growth

 

Eyes flexibility in challenging retail environment.

Clothing company Pacific Brands has shifted its focus from IT infrastructure to vendor management in a bid to adapt to a challenging retail environment.

The company has shed some 1500 staff in the past two years through manufacturing and distribution job cuts and sales of its bedding, leisure and fitness businesses.

Pacific Brands’ technical services lead Brent England credited its two-year-old private cloud deployment for the IT team’s ability to flexibly cater to changing business requirements.

“We’ve had a lot of change in the way our business is set up,” England said. “A lot of our finances is derived around headcount and we need to be flexible in how we adjust for that.

“If we sell off a business … we’ve still got our commitment for any hardware that we’ve purchased but our sales have come down.”

England said the business had been running on virtualised hardware since 2007 but was “not getting very good consolidation ratios” due to stability issues with VMWare’s ESX 3 hypervisors.

He said it addressed most issues in February 2011, when it worked with managed services provider HP to replace ESX on 140 virtual machines with Microsoft’s private cloud technology.

HP told customers last May that Pacific Brands had achieved “cost savings and [a] simplified management stack” by adopting Hyper V and System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) (pdf).

England said the more integrated stack allowed Pacific Brands to cut the time it needed to deploy new applications from six weeks to one.

The Hyper V environment supported JD Edwards, Hyperion, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sharepoint and Exchange software, as well as various demand planning and payroll applications.

“Especially as we’ve consolidated businesses – in work wear, we had four entities that are now consolidated into a single entity – we’ve been able to stand up a new environment and consolidate applications really quickly,” he said.

“We’d probably stand up four to five virtual machines a month for different applications.

“We outsource to HP … so we pay per operating service. We try not to stand up too many [applications] and we get rid of the ones we don’t need.”

England said Pacific Brands reduced its hardware footprint by 24 percent despite growing its application environment by 160 percent and supporting 140 new point-of-sales terminals on top of an existing 60.

But it still relied on IT administrators to spin up applications, despite cloud computing’s promise of self-service capabilities for users.

“I think the issue that we do have is some of the process maturity in when we go and get applications installed,” England noted.

“We seem to build up the infrastructure and hand it over to someone to install [software] and then we’d need to get them to build a test environment and get them to do the whole process again.

“I think we need to change our processes to be able to make this private cloud thing work for us.”

England said the business would work on improving its vendor engagement strategies, calling for better instructions from vendors about any new products or services they delivered.

“We’re refocusing what we’re doing and now it’s really in regards to managing our relationship with HP rather than doing a lot of the work ourselves,” he noted.

“A lot of the people that we have now are dedicated retail people, whereas before they were project people.”

Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.


Pacific Brands taps cloud for business sell-offs, growth
 
 
 
Top Stories
Frugality as a service: the Amazon story
Behind the scenes, Amazon Web Services is one lean machine.
 
Negotiating with the cloud email megavendors
[Blog post] Lessons from Woolworths’ mammoth migration.
 
Qld govt to move up to 149k staff onto Office 365
Australia's largest deployment, outside of the universities.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...

Latest VideosSee all videos »

The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
Scott Noteboom, CEO of LitBit speaking at The Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit 2014 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. http://bit.ly/1qpxVfV Scott Noteboom is a data centre engineer who led builds for Apple and Yahoo in the earliest days of the cloud, and who now eyes Asia as the next big opportunity. Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/372482,how-do-we-serve-three-billion-new-internet-users.aspx#ixzz2yNLmMG5C
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
To COTS or not to COTS? iTnews asks Karl Maftoum, CIO of the ACMA, at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
AEMO chief information officer Susan Sly calls for more collaboration among Australia's technology leaders at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Credit Union Australia's David Gee awarded Finance CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards.
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Damon Rees named Retail CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Woolworths.
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Acting Foxtel CIO David Marks accepts an iTnews Benchmark Award on behalf of Robyn Elliott.
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Sanjay Mehta named Industrial CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at ConocoPhillips.
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Greg Wells named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at NSW Health.
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
William Confalonieri named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Deakin University.
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
David Johnson named Government CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at the Queensland Police Service.
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott discuss the Coalition's broadband policy with the press.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
The Australian Federal Police have arrested a Sydney-based IT security professional for hacking a government website.
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO Chrissy Burns talks data.
New UTS Building: the IT within
New UTS Building: the IT within
The IT behind tomorrow's universities.
iTnews' NBN Panel
iTnews' NBN Panel
Is your enterprise NBN-ready?
Introducing iTnews Labs
Introducing iTnews Labs
See a timelapse of the iTnews labs being unboxed, set up and switched on! iTnews will produce independent testing of the latest enterprise software to hit the market after installing a purpose-built test lab in Sydney. Watch the installation of two DL380p servers, two HP StoreVirtual 4330 storage arrays and two HP ProCurve 2920 switches.
The True Cost of BYOD
The True Cost of BYOD
iTnews' Brett Winterford gives attendees of the first 'Touch Tomorrow' event in Brisbane a brief look at his research into enterprise mobility. What are the use cases and how can they be quantified? What price should you expect to pay for securing mobile access to corporate applications? What's coming around the corner?
Ghost clouds
Ghost clouds
ACMA chair Chris Chapman says there is uncertainty over whether certain classes of cloud service providers are caught by regulations.
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Privacy experts David Vaile (UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre) and Craig Scroggie (CEO, NextDC) claim they were not surprised by the Snowden leaks about the NSA's PRISM program.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which bank is most likely to suffer an RBS-style meltdown?





   |   View results
ANZ
  21%
 
Bankwest
  9%
 
CommBank
  11%
 
National Australia Bank
  17%
 
Suncorp
  24%
 
Westpac
  19%
TOTAL VOTES: 1455

Vote