Size of IS shop: 25
Mobile PCs: 130
Hand-held devices: 75
Total screens: 2159
Industry: Wholesale and retail trade
PC environment: IBM; HP; Dell; Toshiba; Windows NT, 2000, XP
Server environment: IBM; HP; Dell; AIX; Windows 2000, NT, 2003
DBMS: Oracle, SQL
Address: 21 Laidlaw Way, East Tamaki, Auckland
Key IS projects this year: Back-up wireless communications capability in each store; continue to consolidate servers through extending the use of virtualisation; review systems management toolset; continue development of disaster recovery capability; upgrade Arthur Planning system and attendance system; communication toolsets around collaboration and networking.
David Lean, head of IT, says Farmers has changed its IT landscape over the past few years, moving away from a frame-relay network and mostly mainframe-based applications. A new IP-based WAN was introduced and SAP was implemented for all core retail business functions. Store applications are delivered through a thin client environment running on a partially virtualised back-end, improving the performance, support and business continuity capabilities. On top of the SAP system, Farmers established an Enterprise Application Architecture, using Microsoft tools like Visual Studio, BizTalk and SQL.
IBM SVC is utilised to manage the SAN infrastructure, with blade and virtual server technology being utilised for growth in the Windows and AIX server areas.
By February 2009, Farmers had completed implementation of backup wireless communications capability into each store.
“For infrastructure, we plan to continue to consolidate servers through extending the use of virtualisation where appropriate, look to review our systems management toolset, continue the cycle of technology refreshes where appropriate and continue development of our disaster recovery capability,” says Lean.
“We are in the process of upgrading the Arthur Planning system and also upgrading our time and attendance system, with the outlook to introduce workforce management capability. For SAP and BW we are planning an ECC6 upgrade, and also reviewing our database platform for SAP. We are also currently reviewing our communications toolsets around collaboration and networking.”
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