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Bensons for Beds owner outsources IT

By Retail Technology | Tuesday October 15 2013

Steinhoff takes on managed service for critical IT infrastructure to ensure its UK retail businesses can manage peak and troughs in demand as well as business change

Steinhoff UK Retail, which owns home furnishing brands such as Harveys, Bensons for Beds, and Cargo, recently announced it has moved its entire critical IT infrastructure to independent IT managed services provider, Adapt

The Adapt service has been designed to deliver continuous services to Steinhoff UK Retail’s portfolio of 550 retail outlets and 11 warehouses, as well as to its call centre and two head offices. Shortly after signing with the second largest European furniture and bedding retailer, Adapt worked to extremely tight timescales, delivering a production-ready scalable web hosting service to support seasonal high demand on its Harveys’ online furniture store and a virtual infrastructure for the testing of a key business application for Bensons for Beds. 

Operating in such a dynamic, global market, Steinhoff’s business is subject to constant change. As such, the company must ensure enough flexibility within its vertically integrated supply chain in order to keep up with sudden changes within the business environment, while keeping costs low.

Managed hosting and networking services

Following a full market review and a bid process, Adapt was selected to provide managed hosting and networking services to its core office sites and an integrated first line helpdesk for Steinhoff UK Retail’s instore personnel. The service provider’s enterprise Virtual Data Centre (eVDC) was also chosen for its ability to support Steinhoff UK Retail’s growth with resilient, affordable services that would deliver effective disaster recovery capabilities and optimise its existing infrastructure.

Initially, Adapt worked with Steinhoff UK Retail to quickly migrate the IT systems for Harveys and Bensons for Beds into the hosted environment, which provides a dual-site system for both staging and disaster recovery. It was also immediately tasked with creating a virtual environment for one of Bensons for Beds’ warehouse distribution products, which Adapt completed in just a fortnight in readiness for comprehensive pre-launch testing. During the Christmas period, Steinhoff also required Adapt to build and host infrastructure for Harveys’ website to increase bandwidth to support significant peaks in traffic. 

Since signing, Adapt said its infrastructure and bandwidth has successfully supported Steinhoff UK Retail’s entire IT infrastructure, managing the seasonal surges throughout the year and particularly during two of their peak trading times at Easter and Christmas. The two companies are also working together to build an infrastructure and network that will support further expected surges in trading for both Harveys and Bensons. 

Meeting precise requirements quickly

Commenting on the migration of the Harveys website, Mark Spicer, head of IT at Harveys, said: “It was critical to get this system up and running as soon as possible without any downtime, as this would be our first undertaking under the new agreement. Adapt has certainly delivered on this, offering a creative solution with the extreme flexibility required to cope with sudden expected and unexpected peaks in demand.”

He added: “The key thing here was that the team building the solution became the team that then supported us when we transitioned into early life support and then BAU [business as usual]. This allowed the transition to become seamless. To migrate an estate the size of ours in less than three months was always going to be a challenge, but it was a challenge that Adapt met.” 

Steve Webster, head of IT at Bensons for Beds, also said Adapt required quickly understood the company’s specific requirements before designing a bespoke service that would precisely meet those needs. “Our business is extremely fast-paced – and with our significant online presence, we cannot afford any downtime or service outages,” he continued. 

“We needed to find a supplier that could deliver a resilient service with proven disaster recovery capabilities. Not only has Adapt delivered an exceptionally robust solution with its dual data centre solution, its underlying support network and strong service delivery model has made Adapt a valuable strategic partner that offers expert technical advice tailored to our business roadmap.”

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