The James Retail Group is a leading, independently owned neighbourhood retailer operating around 110 convenience and newsagent stores.
Using technology to drive improvements
The James Retail Group also operates GT News and Supernews which can be found in locations varying from major shopping centres to transport interchanges through to hospitals all over the central belt of the country.
James Retail had a number of servers which were hosted on premises at the Head Office. These included an Exchange server, File Server, EPOS system and Terminal Server. The 30+ remote branches connected in to head office via Terminal Services and worked remotely on their emails, stock spreadsheets, etc.
James Retail approached Custard because they were keen to look into their options of moving their IT out of the Head Office and into a hosted environment. Their driving factors were improved speed, reliability and running costs. What’s more the existing servers were coming to the end of their life cycle, were becoming slow and unreliable and would of needed considerable capital outlay to replace them.
The James Retails Group gained the performance and uptime of multiple hypervisors and would be scalable to help support James Retail in their strategy to grow their business.
With this in mind, Custard proposed that James Retail moved their servers to a virtual environment so the experience for stores was greatly improved whilst increasing resilience and greatly reducing the points of failure. Custard recommended that this environment be hosted in a Datacenter so that the infrastructure could be backed by faster, more resilient internet connections, power protection and networking.
This proposal mean that James Retail did not need to outlay capital for replacement servers. Additionally they gained the performance and uptime of multiple hypervisors and would be scalable to help support James Retail in their strategy to grow their business.
More recently James Retail acquired another chain which brought an influx of new stores meaning the infrastructure had to evolve to accommodate this.
Custard were on hand to consult throughout the acquisition and the recommendation following this process was to implement multiple Remote Desktop servers to handle the needs of the 110 stores which James Retail now had under their umbrella. One of the challenges Custard faced was to ensure that the existing James Retail stores and staff in Head Office were unaffected by the infrastructure changes. Another prerequisite was that strict time scales were met with the introduction of these new servers and that both parts of the business could access either datasets simultaneously, as and when required.
Not only did Custard meet the criteria but the work did not affect the existing users of the system and James Retail can now take on new stores without having to worry about whether their IT will accommodate it.