A hardware retailer builds an enterprise platform

IBM Premier Business Partner Prolifics implements IBM WebSphere software solution

Published on 23 May 2013

"Prolifics was really an A team and knew IBM WebSphere inside and out, had deep industry knowledge and provided great tips on what our system was capable of doing." - A resource manager for merchandising systems, hardware retailer

Customer:
A hardware retailer

Industry:
Retail

IBM Business partner:
Prolifics

Overview

This company is one of the world’s largest retailer-owned hardware cooperatives. The company serves 54 countries and more than 4,500 stores under several brand names.

Business need:
This hardware retailer sought a provider that could lead a migration initiative for its IBM® WebSphere® software and help the business establish a platform to support future growth.

Solution:
The company engaged IBM Premier Business Partner Prolifics to manage the migration, support the transition to an enterprise solution and provide training.

Benefits:
The new solution provides faster, more security-rich message delivery; offers high availability to create efficiency and faster time to value; and scales easily to fit changing business demands.

Case Study

This company is one of the world’s largest retailer-owned hardware cooperatives. The company serves 54 countries and more than 4,500 stores under several brand names.

Keeping enterprise software up to date

This company has built its business on empowering its many retailers worldwide. With an excess of 60,000 products available to more than 4,500 stores, 132 of which are international, maintaining accurate and up-to-date system data is critical to operations.

The organization historically maintained important data and information with an Oracle technology-based IT infrastructure that required frequent data replication. However, needing a vehicle to simulate real-time updates without affecting its mainframe, the company brought in IBM WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus and IBM WebSphere MQ software. The company used the software to eventually support approximately 60 applications and 30 to 40 interfaces. This solution helped the organization turn its system mainframe into a central repository of data, storing sensitive business information such as item records, vendor information and product pricing details.

When IBM announced that the versions of WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus and WebSphere MQ software in use at the company would soon reach end of support, the organization recognized it was important to migrate to newer versions of these programs. The business wanted to remain on a supported platform and avoid maintenance premiums. The company previously migrated to a newer version of WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus software on its own. However, this time, the organization wished to use the migration as a means to establish an enterprise-level solution. It hoped to capitalize on the new version features to provide the connectivity necessary for companywide future growth plans. Therefore, it sought a provider that could lead the migration initiative and help the business establish a platform to support future growth.

Engaging Prolifics to spearhead the migration process

Recognizing that IBM Premier Business Partner Prolifics had deep skills and experience with WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus and WebSphere MQ software, the company engaged Prolifics to handle its migration and provide remote support. Prolifics experts met with the company’s team and determined three key project components: the migration itself, the transition to an enterprise solution and training in best practices for associates.

Throughout the migration process, Prolifics technical experts worked hand in hand with the company’s team to help ensure success. The Prolifics team conducted a phased approach that added hands-on mentoring to each of the three project components. The team also helped the company move from development to user acceptance testing (UAT) and finally to production. During the development phase, Prolifics led the migration. Next, in the UAT phase, the company’s team members shadowed Prolifics experts to learn best practices. Ultimately, during the production phase, the retailer conducted the upgrade.

Using an innovative testing methodology, Prolifics verified the migration step-by-step before pushing the new software to production. Team members used a series of testing scripts to capture messages and analyze input versus output, helping them validate test cases as they were set up. Prolifics took advantage of the company’s simultaneous effort to move to new servers by setting up the migration on one server while actively running the previous software version on the other, only switching over once the migration success was tested and confirmed.

Further, Prolifics used on-demand remote support to provide close supervision throughout the migration process. The team used remote access to the company’s servers to monitor real-time performance and diagnose problems as they occurred. This close monitoring enabled Prolifics and the retailer to address issues more quickly without driving up overall project costs.

Creating a more robust enterprise foundation

The migration effort, including upgrading WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus and WebSphere MQ software, gave the retailer a better foundation and infrastructure for future growth. With the latest version of WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus software, the business has more resilient connectivity and higher availability, creating a more stable and agile infrastructure. The new version of WebSphere MQ software provides the business with the assured delivery needed for the organization’s critical nightly batch process to maintain accurate product pricing information. This version of WebSphere MQ software also offers improved security, which helped the company address potential issues identified during a separate vulnerability assessment and remediation project without making drastic infrastructure changes.

With the migration completed and staff well-trained, the retailer has a strong enterprise integration platform with greater flexibility, improved performance and enhanced security features. With an enterprise-level infrastructure in place, the company is discussing options with Prolifics for continuing to enhance its service-oriented architecture (SOA).

For more information

To learn more about IBM WebSphere software, please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/software/websphere

Prolifics is an IBM Premier Business Partner and leading global end-to-end systems integrator. Learn more about the company’s innovative solutions at: www.prolifics.com

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Components

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

Software:
WebSphere MQ, WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America May 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, and WebSphere 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 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 performance data and client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. 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.