The Farmers Trading Company

The Farmers Trading Company

2007 ranking: 44

Senior IS executive: Ray Vagha, IT operations manager Reports to: Michael Power, chief financial officer

Size of IS shop: 34

PCs: 1350

Mobile PCs: 120

Terminals: 630

Hand-held devices: 670

Total screens: 2770

Industry: Wholesale and retail trade

PC environment: Windows 2000, XP; IBM; HP; Toshiba

Server environment: AIX; Windows 2000, NT, 2003; xSeries; pSeries;


DBMS: Oracle, SQL

Address: 21 Laidlaw Way, Flat Bush, Auckland


Key IS projects this year: SAP and BW (Business Information

Warehouse) optimisation; business workfl ow; planning system review;

data archiving; system management/automation; disaster recovery

review and tuning; server consolidation.

THE FARMERS TRADING Company operates through 58 department

stores in rural and city locations around the country.

Ray Vagha, IT operations manager, says Farmers has almost

completely changed its IT landscape over the past three years,

moving away from a frame-relay network and mostly mainframebased

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 has established an Enterprise

Application Architecture, using Microsoft tools like Visual Studio, BizTalk

and SQL. This allows Farmers to react quickly to changes in the business

environment at the store front-end.

In 2007 Farmers completed implementation of the new POS system

and hardware in all stores, including a replacement of the wireless

infrastructure in each store. Implementation of the system management

tools Tivoli and Altiris was also completed in late 2007.

At an application layer it still has some components like the

planning system under review, while also commencing automation of

business workflow, says Vagha. But the most signifi cant work will be in

optimising use of SAP and Business Information Warehouse.

Other projects for 2008 include completing SAP data and

email archiving, continued tuning of the system management and

automation tools, along with fi ne tuning of the disaster recovery plan.

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