Outtasking gives BADER control and security for the future

Mail order specialist relies on the latest technology and professional system management from IBM

Published on 11-Mar-2012

"Sound communication, fast and targeted problem solving: it all happens seamlessly at the Outsourcing Centre in Chemnitz. Business security is very high, and infrastructure availability is 99.7 percent guaranteed." - Siegfried Kälber, Head of Computer Centre Service, BADER

Customer:
BADER

Industry:
Retail

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Business Resiliency, Enabling Business Flexibility, High Availability , Optimizing IT

Overview

BADER’s shop window is made of paper: its 1,000-page catalogue showcases 17,000 products, including fashion, accessories, watches and jewellery. In Pforzheim in 1929, Bruno Bader took the risk of starting up a whole new selling concept: a direct advertising and mail-order business with credit options for the average consumer.

Business need:
BADER is a major mail order retailer, and processes high volumes of transactions every day. It is critical for the company to have high system availability, reliable disaster recovery plans, up-to-date technology and tailored services – all at a manageable cost.

Solution:
BADER decided to outtask the running of its IBM® System z® environment to the IBM Outtasking Centre in Chemnitz. The Centre handles tasks such as remote operating, monitoring, administration and service management on behalf of the mail order company.

Benefits:
Increases business security with seamless system monitoring, transparent process descriptions, clear rules and mirroring of the system landscape. Saves the company from considerable investments in its own computer centre infrastructure. Allows IT staff to focus on their core tasks, and reduces business risks with defined Service Level Agreements.

Case Study

To read a German version of this case study, click here.

BADER’s shop window is made of paper: its 1,000-page catalogue showcases 17,000 products, including fashion, accessories, watches and jewellery. In Pforzheim in 1929, Bruno Bader took the risk of starting up a whole new selling concept: a direct advertising and mail-order business with credit options for the average consumer.

Online business has become an important mainstay for the family-run company. As early as 1966, BADER installed industrial-sized IBM computers for its business processes. “When our IT goes down, we can’t send out a single item,” explains Siegfried Kälber, Head of BADER’s Computer Centre Service. Every business process is formulated on the mainframe: purchasing, shipment, commissioning, advertising, storage, incoming orders and the interface for the online shop.

Until 2004, BADER always ran its computer centre in-house, from system programming to development to pre-production, running three shifts around the clock. Then the management team, with strategic advice from IBM, decided to take a new approach to IT and outsource the running of its computer centre to an external service provider. After extensive groundwork and a successful test run, IBM took over system operations. Parts of the business, pre-production applications and processes, remain in-house.

“For some elements of the business, we decided against the outtasking model – weighing up our specific needs and the potential loss of quality remote methods bring, compared to working with internal employees with many years’ experience,” says Siegfried Kälber. “Knowledge of our internal processes is too crucial a factor in this area so, in our case, it could not be run externally from a business point of view.”

When it came to extending the contract, the outtasking side was reorganised, based on experience to date and intense discussions with IBM. Operations, system management and service coordination were optimised and better tailored to the demanding requirements of the medium-sized specialist company, to create a production environment that would enjoy long-term stability.

Migration and reorganisation create synergy
During the course of the outtasking contract, the company migrated to the latest IBM technology, including IBM System z servers, IBM System Storage® DS8000 and IBM TotalStorage Virtual Tape Server, managed by the IBM Outtasking Centre in Chemnitz. The company’s disaster recovery strategy was also updated and optimised. A mainframe is now mirrored in cold standby and the disc and tape units have been relocated to a second fire-protected zone. Around 800 users carry out transactions on terminals, and around 30 developers and engineers work on the system itself.

IBM specialists at the Outtasking Centre in Chemnitz are responsible for remote operating, monitoring, system technology, administration, quality assurance and service coordination. Administrators can quickly respond to BADER’s current and incoming orders, introduce appropriate measures and dynamically update the system. The IBM team has analysed the various processes and requirements at BADER and is working in partnership with BADER’s skilled technical department. By mutual agreement, maintenance is scheduled for off-peak times. The project includes the revision and completion of process descriptions. Responsibilities and contacts are clearly defined. “We see this as one of the major benefits of outtasking,” says Siegfried Kälber. “The best way to deal with problems here is with tried and tested, short and sharp methods. To this end, we have developed practical procedures and solutions with no need for complicated ticketing systems.”

Cost/benefit ratio speaks for itself
“Sound communication, fast and targeted problem solving: it all happens seamlessly at the Outsourcing Centre in Chemnitz,” says Siegfried Kälber. “Business security is very high, and infrastructure availability is 99.7 percent guaranteed.”

Regular service reports and meetings at BADER in Pforzheim help IBM to ensure service quality. The IT department receives direct feedback on the service quality during regular meetings with the Management and Department Managers. “For BADER, outsourcing would be worth it even if cost wasn’t at the top of the agenda,” says Siegfried Kälber. “It would have been very expensive to build a fail-safe mirrored computer centre in-house. Moreover, we would have come up against serious limitations and more costs when it came to updating the systems and subsystems.”

In close partnership with BADER, IBM carries out release changes, updates and upgrades once a year. “This gives us security and the assurance of maintaining continuous operations on an optimally functioning system,” says Siegfried Kälber. “We get just the right level of service we need. That makes us more flexible and yet the costs are always manageable.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
Storage, Storage: DS8000, Storage: Tape & Optical Storage, System z

Service:
GTS Strategic Outsourcing: IT Outsourcing Services

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 IBM Deutschland GmbH, 71137 Ehningen, Deutschland ibm.com/de IBM Österreich, Obere Donaustrasse 95, 1020 Wien ibm.com/at IBM Schweiz, Vulkanstrasse 106, 8010 Zürich ibm.com/ch Produced in Germany February 2012 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, System z and System Storage are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at: ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts. In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previously installed. Regardless, IBM warranty terms apply. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models.