STORES Magazine - July 2008 - (Page 62)

NUTS AND BOLTS / IT OPERATIONS Suite with a View Systems-monitoring solution opens window onto Mervyns’ IT operations BY KAREN M. KROLL T he information technology infrastructures in place at many retailers are complicated. Most have not only a corporate data center, but also a variety of devices and systems at their stores, including POS systems, surveillance cameras, scanners, kiosks and the like. Mervyns, the Hayward, Calif.-based chain of neighborhood department stores, is no exception. The company’s corporate data center houses several hundred servers, running a mix of Windows, Linux and AS400 operating systems, along with numerous applications, says Joe Guisti, senior manager of IT operations. At the same time, each of the company’s approximately 180 stores has dozens of devices, says David Cheong, senior manager of store technology. Not surprisingly, ensuring that this range of systems and applications is op- System reporting can be tailored to various users: The IT staff can get a detailed explanation of the problem and its likely causes. Management can get a dashboard of summary data. A regional manager can tailor the application to show data only for the stores within his territory. 62 erating smoothly is challenging. To help in this effort, Mervyns’ IT department works with CITTIO, a San Franciscobased provider of systems-monitoring solutions. CITTIO’s WatchTower application helps Mervyns keep tabs on the servers at its corporate headquarters, as well as the applications and devices in place at its stores. “We help customers monitor their IT ecosystems,” says Jamie Lerner, CITTIO’s president and CEO. “We create a single pane of glass to let them look at everything.” Complicating matters for many retailers is the fact that these devices are increasingly inter-connected. In the past, most POS terminals could function as long as the stores had electricity, Lerner says, but that’s no longer the case. Now, most devices are connected to the corporate network: if the stores lose that connection, the POS systems shut down, often annoying customers and prompting abandoned purchases. At the same time, most stores lack onsite IT support: as a result, any fixes need to be made automatically through the network — or be so simple as to be implementable by store-level associates. Ideally, problems never arise – or, at the very least, are quickly contained. By monitoring the equipment, CITTIO makes it possible to intervene before problems arise. For example, a monitoring solution should let management know if the POS terminal is running out of hard disk space before it refuses to complete another transaction. WatchTower can keep tabs on the equipment and applications likely to be found within the stores, as well as the corporate data centers; it also checks operating systems, software applications, routers, switches and other network components. Moreover, it does this in an automated fashion. Once a retailer installs the software on its network, the application automatically searches the network to discover all the devices and applications connected to it. This capability is critical, given the dismal success rate of many network management deployments. WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - July 2008

STORES Magazine - July 2008
Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
Dearth of Retail Creativity
What Shoppers Think
Wow, Is That a Wawa?
10 Things You May Have Missed
Numbers Worth Counting
Full Price/Markdown
Retail People
Merchandising Strategy
Point of Sale
Human Resources
Top 100 Retailers
Store Design
IT Operations
Systems Managements
LP Vantage Point
Cover Story
Emergency Response Systems
Background Checks
LOEB Retail Letter
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Crossword
Retail Industry Calendar
Last Laugh

STORES Magazine - July 2008