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STUDY: Weird Fish finds new IT is perfect fit

By Retail Technology | Wednesday May 22 2013

Managed services provision helps UK clothing brand expand business and grow e-commerce channel sales by upgrading and supporting existing systems

UK clothing brand Weird Fish decided to expand its e-commerce business so needed to upgrade its Microsoft Dynamics AX enterprise resource planning (ERP) software platform.

With no dedicated in-house IT support, the business was looking for a one-stop-shop to manage its Dynamics AX application and enlisted K3 Retail to perform the upgrade and K3 Managed Services for ongoing IT support and maintenance.

Weird Fish has 12 retail UK stores and sells its products wholesale through larger retail chains and independent stores. IT is critical to the smooth running of its diverse retail channels and the company had already implemented Dynamics AX 2009 to help manage all its financial data and to produce management reports for its accounts and stock levels and for supporting its e-commerce business.

But the company was also looking for AX sector-specific expertise to ensure that Weird Fish used its ERP software to its full potential, to support its rapid growth and development.

Business management essentials

“Eighty per cent of our business is wholesale but we can see an emerging market in e-commerce,” said Jon Goodwin, Weird Fish financial controller. “Dynamics AX software is, therefore, essential for us to manage our purchase orders, receipts, stock information, sales orders and financial data.

“With so much information going through the software, it is important that we have a specialist company taking care of all our systems so we can concentrate on moving our business forward. K3 Managed Services keeps this data safe and is able to restore it should anything go wrong.”

As part of its IT provision, Weird Fish wanted a single telephone number to call in case it had problems. With Dynamics AX supplied and supported by K3 Retail and its managed services division, the company benefitted from a having one source for its AX support and problem resolution.

Benefitting from the latest software

The managed services and retail divisions of K3 worked together to upgrade Weird Fish to the latest Dynamics AX 2012 R2 version. This included installing two brand new servers onto Weird Fish’s existing IT network. K3 Managed Services also deployed virtualisation technology to reduce the costs affiliated with running Dynamics AX on premise. This meant that, instead of installing hardware onsite, Weird Fish was able to access a virtual platform, which includes Microsoft Windows operating systems (OS), Microsoft SQL Databases, storage and network resources.

As part of the transition from Dynamics AX 2009 to the latest software, K3 Managed Services also performed an audit of Weird Fishs existing IT network to ensure that all the companys licences were, and will remain, up-to-date.

Goodwin added: Software licensing is not always something that is top of our business agenda because we do not have an internal IT team. The fact that K3 Managed Services now looks after all our IT licensing is a huge weight off our minds and means that we are never using unlicensed software.

Hardware and software support

K3 Managed Services now provides support for Weird Fishs entire IT network and its 40-user based Dynamics AX software. It is also responsible for the up-keep of Weird Fishs hardware, Windows OS, Microsoft architecture, SQL databases, email and antivirus software.

The retailer also benefits from the provider’s Sentinel Support Service, which provides a remote pro-active monitoring service from its Network Operations Centre in Hook, Hampshire. This monitoring service is deployed onto the Weird Fish IT network to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) in real-time. 

It scans for disk errors, memory usage and potential problems, seeking them out before they become major issues. If it does detect a potential problem, Sentinel alerts the helpdesk where a member of the K3 Managed Services team is available to help. This ensures that Weird Fish always has a safe backup for its IT and sensitive data. 

A key differentiator of the support that we receive from K3 Managed Services is the onsite engineer support. They make an effort to come on site when they can and really make an effort to inform us of any problems that do occur so we understand fully how everything is operating. We always have the same engineers visit us too, so we know just who to call on should we have a problem whether it is general or something more specific like a Firewall issue, added Goodwin.

Maintaining business as usual

K3 Managed Services also provides Weird Fish with break/fix support, giving the company unlimited parts and labour support for all hardware issues. This covers everything from hardware replacements to complete server rebuilds.

By having all of our IT support and provision from the same company we dont have to worry about our IT and can get on with our business. Dynamics AX is going to be an integral part of our move into e-commerce, and knowing K3 Managed Services will ensure all of our IT is running smoothly without any glitches gives us confidence that we are heading in the right direction for our business,Goodwin concluded.

Weird Fish

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