The Hitachi UCP solution provides SPAR ICS with all the compute, storage and network capacity it needs, available through a service catalog.
"Gone are the delays and complexity of specifying, buying and deploying separate systems," says Gstach. "UCP allows us to create new VMware virtual servers for our retail and line-of-business applications quickly and easily, and we can return the resources to the pool as soon as we delete those virtual servers. This allows us to respond to business requirements rapidly and in the most flexible way. Our business users are able to consume new services in a cloud-like model. Applications and data are fully secured within what is effectively our private cloud."
With the UCP solution in place, SPAR ICS has reduced the time to introduce a new service from days to hours. Similarly, new business applications that previously took up to 10 weeks to deploy – allowing for new hardware delivery, configuration and commissioning – now take just two days. The solution offers a simple catalog that enables applications and services to be selected and deployed using automated provisioning and orchestration. The automation cuts out error and greatly reduces time to market, which can be critical in retail.
"I no longer need to worry about sizing, ordering and deploying hardware; instead, service automation allows me to specify from the catalog and deliver the system. For example, agile business units often pilot new services at short notice to handle promotions through social media that will drive business online or to the stores. The Hitachi solution supports this kind of true omni-channel retailing in a way that was not possible before," Gstach says.
"Using the Hitachi management portal, we can balance processing workloads across all our applications to provide the most cost-efficient mix, scaling resources up and back, exactly as needed," notes Gstach. "Without the delay, or capital investment, formerly required, we can create additional test and development instances at any time, retire them or join them to production, offering total flexibility."
Gstach concludes, "By changing strategy to the managed service provision, SPAR has transformed its IT operations into a service-led business unit that actively looks for improvements and enhancements to help drive the business forward. We have invested in the digital transformation of processes, systems, operations and data to enable our group companies to do more and better business with these new technologies. All our future implementations will be on the "service delivery platform," enabling the flexibility and agility SPAR needs to compete and win in the fiercely competitive retail industry."