PacSun Stays Up and Running with WatchTower


Apparel retailer Pacific Sunwear has adopted CITTIO's WatchTower to monitor its fast-growing IT network. PacSun, in the midst of a rapid business growth cycle that has placed increasing demands on its IT infrastructure, was challenged by a lack of visibility to its servers, which number about 50, says Ron Ehlers, vice president of IS. With an increasing number of applications and systems as well as a rising need for extended hours of availability -- the company keeps a 24/7 schedule -- PacSun found that it was "no longer practical to monitor each of those servers manually, individually," he says. Yet the company was "lacking visibility to servers that [are] mission-critical to department solutions," says Ron Anderson, director of technical services. "Our problem was that we would arrive in the mornings to start our normal business day and find that a server was not available for the user community." At that point, the IT team would research the problem and fix it, but that resulted in lost productivity. The company needed to be able to resolve issues that occurred during the evening hours before employees came in to work in the morning, he says. As such, PacSun selected the WatchTower solution, which monitors the network's "heartbeat," revealing not only that a piece of hardware is down, but also what operating system it is using, what applications are running through it and so forth. "By having this in place, we get warnings in advance that things might be going awry, or that performance is degrading. And we can jump on it most of the time before the user even sees that there's a problem," says Ehlers. Two of the primary reasons PacSun chose WatchTower over other solutions were its price, and the fact that it is an agentless model, which means that it does not require client software to be loaded onto individual servers to communicate to the host, says Anderson. The solution also gave PacSun a much higher service level without the need for additional staff. Its graphical dashboard interface gives PacSun's six operators and 12 network managers visibility into whether or not the company's Wintel and Solaris boxes are up and running. "We're going after our goal of continuous availability within our environment, and this helps us take one more step toward that goal," says Ehlers. "Outages have really dropped to almost nothing," he concludes.
-- Jordan K. Speer

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JDA to Acquire Manugistics RBA Increases JDA Investment

Retail technology vendor JDA Software Group Inc. signed a definitive merger agreement in April to acquire supply chain software supplier Manugistics in a deal expected to broaden JDA's solutions scope and customer base with consumer goods manufacturers and wholesalers.
The transaction, scheduled to close this quarter or next, would boost JDA's annual revenue from about $213 million to approximately $390 million and its customer base from about 4,900 companies to more than 5,550. JDA said the acquisition would give it a unique competitive position as a solutions provider to manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers. "No other software company will be able to offer a similar breadth and depth of solutions to the very large, vertically focused demand chain market," said JDA CEO Hamish Brewer. In other news, JDA announced that long-time customer Retail Brand Alliance (RBA) has invested in several additional applications, including the Arthur Planning suite and JDA Intellect business intelligence software, to support its supply chain optimization initiative. Stefano Gaggion, vice president of MIS for RBA, which operates Brooks Brothers and other fashion businesses, said: "You need to have the right tools in place to manage merchandise to individual customer preferences. By using JDA solutions, we will be able to provide more targeted assortments at the size and individual store levels."

Laura Canada Wraps Up DigiPOS Rollout

This spring Laura Canada Inc., a 142-store women's fashion chain, finished implementing 300 POS hardware systems from DigiPOS. The rollout, which began last May, coincided with the retailer's implementation of a new POS application and a VPN environment at its stores. The firm chose DigiPOS' Retail Blade 3 hardware to replace its legacy "whitebox PC" solutions, which had a high failure rate, said Murray Shostak, director of IT for Laura Canada. "We selected DigiPOS Retail Blade 3 because of its unique ability to provide high reliability and ease of maintainability," he said.
The new POS configuration integrates with peripherals including traffic counters, cash drawers, keyboards, scanners, pin pads and receipt printers. Laura Canada will support the new hardware in-house.

Cornell Trading Chooses Raymark

Cornell Trading, which operates 29 La Cache stores in Canada, is rolling out Raymark's integrated enterprise solution for its day-to-day retail systems management. The retailer will use the Xpert-Series suite of applications, including Xpert-Store at the point of sale, Xpert-Merchandiser at the corporate level, Xpert-Planner for forecasting and open-to-buy, Xpert-Access for dynamic reporting and Xpert-Replenisher for automated replenishment. Cornell also will implement Raymark's Health Monitor automated systems alert module and Xpert-ComLink interface tool.
"The two major factors in our decision to choose Raymark were the seamless POS and head office software structure and their accelerated deployment strategy," said Zbigniew "Ziggy" Robak, MIS director at Cornell. "Raymark offers a real-time architecture which will allow us to implement the solution in a uniform and timely manner, allowing us to make better business decisions due to this instantaneous access of information."

Microsoft Embarks on 'ËœPeople-Ready' Vision
Plus: Retail POS Product Available at Best Buy

Microsoft has announced its "People-Ready" vision, which will provide the backdrop for a series of solutions it plans to release in the coming year. The People-Ready vision is based on the belief that people are the ultimate drivers of a business' success, Microsoft said. "A business that is People-Ready gives its people software tools that enable them to collaborate and work together globally, to contact and serve customers instantly, and to streamline and reinvent processes intuitively," the firm stated. Working under this vision, Microsoft plans to introduce new products in the following categories: unified communications and collaboration; enterprise search; the mobile work force; business intelligence; customer relationship management; and infrastructure. In other news, Microsoft has started selling its POS solution at Best Buy. The approximately $3,000 solution, which is designed for small, single-store retailers and offers apparel-specific functionality, is available for purchase in Best Buy's "Best Buy for Business" in-store shops and online. The distribution agreement is designed to make it easier for independent retailers to see demonstrations of the system, purchase and install it. Best Buy's "Geek Squad" staff offers training, installation and support.

Blue Genes Offers Private Label Credit Cards

Blue Genes, an Atlanta-based upscale fashion retailer, has launched a private label credit card program. The retailer of high-fashion denim wear and casual apparel, which has expanded three times since its startup in 2001, selected Shoppers Charge Accounts (SCA) to develop and administer the program. SCA is a division of TD Banknorth Inc. Customers can use their Blue Genes credit cards to make purchases in the store and soon at, earning "Prestige Points" through an integrated customer loyalty program.

Buyer's WorkMate"4.0 Introduced

IT Resources Inc. has released version 4.0 of the Buyer's WorkMate software. In addition to a new Pre-Season Forecast module, the version features an enhanced integration engine, which expedites implementation timeframes, said IT Resources president Joe Apprendi. The tool also offers enhanced functionality for store planning, multi-assortment generation, vendor product catalog importing and product image reporting. Better Excel integration and an improved PO interface also are built into the release, Apprendi said. Taps SSA Global for CRM is implementing SSA Outbound Marketing, a part of SSA Global's CRM suite powered by Epiphany. The technology will allow to enhance customer relationships through personalized, intelligent interactions, the companies reported. "SSA CRM will enable us to increase our marketing effectiveness through closed-loop campaign management, and better customer insight and analytics," said Kent Anderson, president,

GERS Partners with Showroom Technology

GERS Retail Systems and Showroom Technology are partnering to offer Showroom's SHOW/PRO consumer-interactive kiosk device integrated with GERS technology. Consumers can use SHOW/PRO devices to apply for credit cards, register for coupons and special promotions and view advertisements and promotions on screen in the store.

AML, Ingram Announce Distribution Agreement

AML, a leading developer and manufacturer of wired and wireless data collection products, has entered into a distribution agreement with technology distributor Ingram Micro Inc. Under this agreement, the AML family of barcode and wireless data capture products will be distributed to integrators in the United States through Ingram Micro's Nimax division, a distributor of AIDC, point-of-sale and mobile computing products.

7thOnline Expands in China

7thOnline Inc., a provider of merchandise and assortment planning solutions, has expanded its Product Development & Support Center in Wuhan, China. Working in conjunction with 7thOnline's U.S. core development team, the Wuhan-based development team will be responsible for solution conceptualization, design, coding and delivery. The office's client support team will provide multilingual professional services globally and help-desk operations for the Asian and European markets.

Fujitsu Attains Environmental Certification Names New Executives to Retail Team

Fujitsu Transaction Solutions Inc., a supplier of POS technology and self-ordering systems, has achieved certification under a global standard for environmental responsibility. The company has been certified by Det Norske Veritas as compliant with the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 14001 standard for environmental management. Fujitsu developed and implemented an environmental management system (EMS) for its Foothill Ranch, CA, and Plattsburg, NY, manufacturing facilities. The company reported that its EMS emphasizes "the three Rs" -- reducing, reusing and recycling -- in its day-to-day operations. In other news, Fujitsu appointed Scott Langdoc as its chief technology officer and Peter Wolf as vice president of marketing. Langdoc was the vice president and general manager of AMR Research's retail practice. Wolf was the vice president of product management at MobileLime.

Donna Karan Launches E-Commerce Site

Donna Karan has launched e-commerce operations at in partnership with eFashion Solutions LLC. The web site will offer a selection of apparel and accessories that are representative of the seasonal themes of the DKNY line and that appeal to the online customer.
eFashion Solutions will manage all of's e-commerce operations, including web site design, digital photography, direct marketing to consumers, online retail sales, payments and shipments for the brand. "DKNY will learn more about their customers through our data intelligence," said Edward Foy Jr., CEO of eFashion Solutions, who added that sales will broaden consumer access to DKNY apparel and accessories. "There are a lot of people who want to purchase DKNY products but are not living or working near a brick-and-mortar retail location that carries DKNY," said Foy.

Movaris Announces Retail Clients

Movaris, a software firm that specializes in automating financial processes, has added Sears Holdings Corp. and apparel specialty retailer Anchor Blue to its growing retail client base. The retailers are implementing Movaris' OneClose software to streamline their financial close, SOX compliance and other financial reporting processes.

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