Debenhams has awarded BT a five year contract to upgrade its data network. The wide area network (WAN) which connects the retailer’s 159 stores, distribution centres and data centres across the UK and Ireland will be upgraded to BT’s high speed 21CN software-driven network.
Debenhams uses the network to transmit sales and stock order details from its stores to its head office and supply chain centres around the UK.
BT will also provide new network management tools to monitor the systems connected to the network, including tills, supply chain systems and transactional databases, which will quickly identify any network problems. Other tools it will supply include its Application Optimisation Service, which uses a combination of physical and virtual engines to monitor the performance of applications on the network, and to prioritise certain applications in order to maximise performance.
Steve Kircher, IT director at Debenhams, said: “It’s a fundamental requirement for retailers to have IT systems that are always available, transmitting vital sales, transactions and information around the business. By future-proofing and closely monitoring our IT networks, Debenhams will not only be able to communicate faster and more efficiently, we will also be able to stay ahead of the competition and be ready to roll out new applications in line with business requirements.”
According to BT, the network will be 16 times faster than the existing IP Clear network.
In addition, Debenhams will adopt BT’s Counterpane managed security monitoring service, to protect the network from attacks. The upgrade work will take place at Debenhams’ sites over the next few months.
In the company’s half year results this year, Debenhams announced an 86 percent increase in sales via its "multi-channel" business, which refers mainly to online. The retailer has made significant investments in IT over the past few years, in an effort to cut costs and reduce wasted resources.
In February 2009, the company said it had implemented CA’s Clarity Project & Portfolio Manager (PPM) to boost the success rate of its IT projects and track 60 separate change programmes across the company. Debenhams also used the PPM for the development of a new order fulfillment system for its website.
The retail chain orginally launched its website in December 2006, subsequently announcing plans to develop and increase online sales three years ago.
Image courtesy of Debenhams Plc.