Capri S.r.l. gains valuable insights on trends and dramatically cuts costs

With a virtualized IBM BladeCenter solution

Published on 29-May-2012

Validated on 01 Nov 2013

"Our new IBM infrastructure provides a powerful, flexible and highly efficient platform for both running the business and analyzing its performance. As we continue to adapt our growth strategy, the insight delivered by the new solution will help us to stay ahead of our competitors." - Pasquale De Martino, IT Manager, Capri S.r.l.

Customer:
Capri S.r.l

Industry:
Retail

Deployment country:
Italy

Solution:
BA - Business Intelligence, Enabling Business Flexibility, Energy Efficiency, Virtualization, Virtualization - Storage

IBM Business Partner:
Servizi Aziendali S.r.l.

Overview

Founded in 1988, Capri S.r.l. is an Italian clothes retailer affiliated to the internationally-recognized Alcott brand. Headquartered in Nola, Southern Italy, and with distribution plants in Bologna and Cernusco (central and Northern Italy) the company employs more than 500 people and serves approximately 720 customers through its 150 dealers in India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Business need:
Sales at Italian fashion retailer Capri S.r.l. are growing at around 30 percent. With this growth, existing IT systems were struggling to deliver the sales analyses needed to maintain competitive advantage.

Solution:
Capri implemented a solution based on IBM BladeCenter® HX5 and HS22 servers with intelligent Intel® Xeon® processors, IBM BladeCenter JS12 Express servers and IBM System Storage® to deliver enhanced performance and gain business insight.

Benefits:
Sales analysis reports can be created every four hours instead of once a night—accelerating business intelligence. Energy costs have fallen by 35 percent, and server footprint by 65 percent.

Case Study

To read the Italian version of the case study click here.

Founded in 1988, Capri S.r.l. is an Italian clothes retailer affiliated to the internationally-recognized Alcott brand. Headquartered in Nola, Southern Italy, and with distribution plants in Bologna and Cernusco (central and Northern Italy) the company employs more than 500 people and serves approximately 720 customers through its 150 dealers in India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Following successful and continuous global expansion – mostly towards emerging markets in the East – Capri was experiencing a constant growth in its annual income by approximately 30 percent. However, this growth also brought with it ever-increasing amounts of data, which needed to be collected, stored and managed for final reporting and financial operations.

Pasquale De Martino, IT Manager at Capri S.r.l., explains, “As a fashion brand we are obviously very interested in monitoring our products sales, trends and forecasts, in order to gain deeper insights into how the business is performing and what we can improve to maintain and reinforce our position on the global markets. We mainly perform two types of analysis: our business intelligence system allows us to keep track of sales, trends and develop future expectations, and our ERP solution helps us to conduct daily management of sales points and financial operations.”

The increased workload was beginning to take its toll on Capri’s existing IT infrastructure, which was struggling to maintain performance as the business grew. De Martino notes, "Fashion moves very fast, and we need to stay ahead of the competition in terms of our ability to understand what consumers are looking for. The existing server and application landscape could not support the new, more information-centric way in which we wanted to run the business."

Stronger infrastructure supports stronger business

Capri appointed IBM Business Partner Servizi Aziendali S.r.l. to manage an IT infrastructure renewal project that would solve the performance issue, reduce data center complexity and cut the total cost of operation. Simultaneously, the new infrastructure would support the company's efforts to understand changing patterns of consumer behavior ahead of its competitors, enabling it to meet their needs with the right product mix in the right stores at the right time.

Francesco Savona, IT Specialist at Servizi Aziendali S.r.l. says, “Capri asked for a reliable, scalable and powerful infrastructure, capable of growing exponentially to match the company’s expansion. To achieve this, we chose a consolidation and virtualization strategy based on IBM BladeCenter servers.”

The solution comprises an IBM BladeCenter H Chassis with two IBM BladeCenter JS12 Express servers running the IBM i operating system to support the key ERP application; two IBM BladeCenter HS22 servers for business applications; two IBM BladeCenter HX5 servers supporting core reporting and analysis; and a further BladeCenter server for systems management.

To store the increasing quantities of data safely and securely, and to deliver it at high speed to support the analysis applications, Capri chose IBM System Storage DS4700 Express and the IBM System Storage EXP810 Expansion Unit. Capri uses IBM Tivoli® Storage Manager V6.1 software to back up critical data every night to an IBM System Storage TS3200 Tape Library.

Capri worked with IBM STG Lab Services to enable PowerVM virtualization technology on the JS12 Express blades, which complements the VMware virtualization on the Intel processor-based HS22 blades. Additionally, IBM STG Lab Services verified the configuration of IBM BladeCenter Open Fabric Manager software for failover and failback automation.

Savona comments, “The collaboration between IBM, Servizi Aziendali and Capri’s IT department was very positive and productive. The Capri IT technicians were already trained on IBM hardware, which enabled smooth, rapid and error-free infrastructure implementation.”

Final results exceed initial expectations

By engaging IBM Business Partner Servizi Aziendali to implement the all-IBM solution, Capri achieved remarkable results.

In the past, a key sales analysis report took several hours to run, and could be completed only during the night. The new IBM BladeCenter and IBM System Storage solution generates the same report once every four hours during the business day, delivering up-to-date and trusted results four times faster. With the increased capacity for analysis, the business unit executives are now demanding more detailed reports that enable them to predict sales trends with greater accuracy. The result is that manufacturing matches demand more closely, helping to cut inventory without any risk of under-stocking, reducing the capital requirements of the business.

At the technical level, Capri has consolidated 20 standalone systems into seven IBM BladeCenter servers, reducing floor space requirements by 65 percent, and cutting energy consumption by more than 50 percent. The virtualized systems landscape allows Capri to share and allocate existing processing capacity to meet its business requirements, and add new capacity seamlessly by introducing additional blade servers.

For example, Capri plans to introduce a customer relationship management application to help develop its international sales. In the past, such an increase in application and data workload would require the specification, acquisition and integration of new standalone physical systems. With the new solution, Capri can simply carve out new virtual server resources on the existing hardware. When this reaches full capacity, it is as simple as sliding a new server into the BladeCenter chassis, which automatically connects it to power and networking via the midplane.

De Martino concludes, “Our new IBM infrastructure provides a powerful, flexible and highly efficient platform for both running the business and analyzing its performance. As we continue to adapt our growth strategy, the insight delivered by the new solution will help us to stay ahead of our competitors.”

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
BladeCenter HS22, BladeCenter HX5, BladeCenter JS12 Express, Storage, Storage: EXP810, Storage: Tape & Optical Storage, Storage: TS3200 Tape Library

Software:
Tivoli Storage Manager, PowerVM

Operating system:
IBM i

Service:
STG Lab Services: BladeCenter

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 IBM Corporation Systems and Technology Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America May 2012 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, BladeCenter, System Storage and Tivoli are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml Intel, the Intel logo, Xeon and Xeon Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.