Specsavers opened 11 stores in New Zealand late in 2008, with plans to have 30 stores operating locally by the end of the year. In 2010 it aims to open more stores, says Simon Baxter, director of IT, Asia Pacific, of the global optical group. This rapid rollout is facilitated by its agreement with Reliance Globalcom, which designs, implements and manages Specsavers’ global wide area network (WAN). This network currently connects more than 1100 stores in nine countries.
Baxter says the network multi-sourcing approach works for Specsavers, which has an ICT team of 28 based in Melbourne, Victoria. He says that managing relationships across a multiple number of companies would be a significant task for him and his team.“If we didn’t have this relationship, I would be just one very small retailer in New Zealand trying to talk to a large telecommunications company.”
Having considerable experience in the retailing sector before joining Specsavers over a year ago, Baxter knows it can take weeks to get a line. But through this approach, they get better service. “But more importantly, I don’t have to be on the phone everyday chasing things.”
Specsavers has produced a standard deployment model for IT, which allows it to open a store in less than 11 weeks anywhere in the world. Baxter says this had helped in the New Zealand deployment.
However, a unique challenge with the New Zealand deployment involved implementing the latest software for retail and business support. “New Zealand became a leading edge [environment] for Specsavers across the world,” he says.
Baxter says it is applying the lessons learned from the New Zealand rollout into the deployments in Finland and Australia later this year.
Tim Sullivan, Australasia managing director of Reliance Globalcom, says multinational companies like Specsavers have very demanding IT environments. “The most appropriate model to achieve that is to use the best infrastructure in an available carrier network product. It is economically not feasible for one carrier to have all of the right products at all the right price points on their own network infrastructure in a whole range of markets that Specsavers or [other] MNCs want to trade in.
“Our experience is very much bringing together, designing and implementing a network that may span multiple WAN technologies. The intent is to present one network, one seamless service to the enterprise client.”
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