4-page Case Study - Posted 11/9/2010
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Retail Chain Consolidates IT Infrastructure on Microsoft Server Technologies
When one of India’s leading retail chains looked to upgrade its IT infrastructure, the mandate was clear, reduce the total cost of ownership from the new deployment.Situation
Shoppers' Stop Limited, a group promoted by K. Raheja Corp. The group has pioneer in setting up multiple retail formats nationwide including Shoppers’ Stop, HyperCITY, Crossword, Homestop, Mothercare, MAC, Brio and Desi Café. From a modest start in 1991, today the retail chain has 85 stores in 11 cities across the country occupying an aggregate area of 1.2 million square feet. Over the past 15 year period, its stores have been felicitated as one of India’s leading retailers and achieved a Superbrand status.
Key to the Group’s success has been a foundation built upon a stable and cost effective IT architecture. Says Anil Shankar, Head Infrastructure, Shoppers’ Stop, “In the current scenario of cut throat competition amongst retail chains, there is a constant focus on keeping operating costs low. Hence at the Group companies, we had sought to achieve economies within our IT platform.”
Prior the new IT framework, the infrastructure at Shoppers’ Stop comprised Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Server Active Directory® at the corporate site and multiple Microsoft® Windows NT® Server version 4.0 domains across the other 12 sites. Coordination between these workgroups was a challenge. Says Anil Shankar, “One of the major pain points of our previous email server was its inability in provide quick and easy remote access to employees on the field over various mobile communication devices. This made communication over the mobile, laptop and PDA very difficult.”Solution
“With the objective of consolidating our IT network and at the same time reducing total costs of ownership at the group companies we decided to retain the services of Microsoft Consulting Services,” comments Anil Shankar.
First and foremost, the MCS team identified the key business objective of the exercise which was to improve the availability and scalability of the current messaging platform.
||Active Directory® helps us locate information anywhere on the network. And because of its integration with Exchange Server 2003, employees have a host of advanced networking options and enhanced user functionality while out on the field.
The MCS team laid down a plan to migrate the old domain/workgroups to Microsoft Windows Server 2003 platform and subsequently implement Microsoft’s messaging server, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003.
The migration consolidated the domain architecture and created a common Active Directory® environment across the organization.
Further, Exchange Server 2003 provides remote access to emails through features such as Outlook Web Access and Remote Procedure Call over HTTP. The product also enabled easy access to address books, collaboration through public folders and calendar sharing while out of the office.
Today as part of these deployments, a large part of the organization is enabled with latest mobile devices and remote communication capability. The result of this is clearly evident as it creates a people ready business environment and drives efficiencies. Says Gopakumar Panicker, Team Analyst, Shoppers’ Stop, “Active Directory® helps us locate information anywhere on the network. And because of its integration with Exchange Server 2003, employees have a host of advanced networking options and enhanced user functionality while out on the field.”
In addition to the domain and Exchange migration, the team at Microsoft Consulting Services also deployed Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 and Live Communication Server (LCS) 2005, becoming the first Indian retailer to use the Microsoft instant messaging technology. Systems Management Server provides a comprehensive solution for change and configuration management for the Microsoft platform, enabling the IT staff at Shoppers Stop to provide relevant software and updates to users quickly and cost-effectively. LCS 2005 provides a corporate wide instant messaging platform for the retail group companies. Benefits
By upgrading and consolidating the multiple Windows NT Server 4.0 domains to Windows Server 2003 and deploying e-mail infrastructure on Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Shoppers’ Stop has created an efficient, dependable IT platform at a reduced total cost of ownership. Adds Anil Shankar, Shoppers’ Stop Limited, “Deployment of Active Directory and Exchange Server 2003 has helped us to reduce the operational cost to a great extend.”Improved Infrastructure Management
The domain consolidation exercise has created an IT architecture that is more reliable, scalable and always available. Furthermore, Active Directory and Group Policy in Windows Server 2003 provide a centralized management infrastructure that reduces solution deployment and administration time significantly. Says Gopakumar Panicker, Team Analyst, Shoppers’ Stop, “Over and above the efficiencies offered by the Windows Server, Systems Management Server 2003 has proved immensely invaluable. Today get immediate update about our IT infrastructure inventory.” Enhanced User Functionality
Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 in conjunction with Active Directory helps Shoppers Stop’s IT staff to deliver the service levels and capabilities demanded by their employees, namely locating information quickly, enjoying remote access while out of the office and fast reliable communication at all times. Says Anil Shankar, Head Infrastructure, Shoppers’ Stop, “With a growing mobile workforce, an absolute essential is anytime anywhere access. While our previous email server lacked this functionality, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 has provided an always on communication platform. This in addition to the corporate IM solution from LCS 2005 eliminates any delays in communicating with key work partners.”
LCS 2005 enables mobile workers at home or on the road to access security-enhanced presence and IM solutions without requiring Virtual Private Networking (VPN).Reduced Solution Deployment and Costs
While the domain consolidation exercise helped optimize the IT platform at Shoppers’ Stop, Systems Management Server 2003 has improved information on the current installed application base and its usage. This has enabled the IT staff to effectively manage and redeploy available software at hand thereby significantly reducing costs in this space.
Further with the Windows Server technologies, the IT staff was assured of an easily available resource pool to dip into for maintenance and administration. This is in sharp contrast to previous mail system that demanded specially trained staff, difficult to find and recruit. Concludes Anil Shankar, “Solutions recommended by the Microsoft Consulting Services’ team has helped reduce operational overheads, with the overall impact of allowing Shoppers’ Stop to run a lean but efficient IT architecture.”Microsoft Services
Microsoft Services helps customers and partners discover and implement high-value Microsoft solutions that generate rapid, meaningful, and measurable results. As the consulting, technical support, and customer service arm of the world’s leading software company, Microsoft Services enables the successful adoption, deployment, and use of Microsoft solutions and technologies for all customers, from the individual to the enterprise.
For more information about Microsoft Services, go to:
www.microsoft.com/microsoftservices For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in the United States or (905) 568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: www.microsoft.com
For more information about Shoppers’ Stop products and services, call (91) (22) 2880 8877 or visit the Web site at: www.shoppersstop.com© 2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.