The Farmers Trading Company
- 29 June, 2008 22:00
Senior IS executive: Ray Vagha, IT operations manager Reports to: Michael Power, chief financial officer
Size of IS shop: 34
Mobile PCs: 120
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.