Dell on cloud nine

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The problem arose after the company integrated original design manufacturers and expanded the number of global retail partners it deals with.

Instead of sending orders, updates, inventory data and tracking information back and forth to a few internal manufacturing units, Dell needed to share information with dozens of external manufacturers around the world, many of which use different hardware, software and business processes.

By expanding the number of retailers, the hardware and software at its data centre also had to aggregate, process and cross reference millions more transactions with retailers daily.

Dell was already supporting more than 20 different supply chain software platforms running on 200 servers, which were processing some five million transactions daily involving 300 transaction types.

The company’s IT team estimated that over time the new additions would more than double the transaction volume, which would require large staffing additions.

Michael Amend, director of enterprise architecture at Dell, says: “The sheer volume of new retail partners, multiplied by time zones, languages, customs and standards was daunting. Staffing up internally was not the best option because we would have to downsize quickly when the onboarding work was done.”

Dell decided a cloud computing model would best suit its needs as it would simplify the IT infrastructure and allow it to focus on its core business without having to add or remove resources.

In addition, Amend points out that the company “wouldn’t have to purchase hardware or software that might become idle when the demand changed. We’d be able to access resources over the internet and pay only for what we actually used.”

Inovis has consolidated Dell’s platforms into a global service centre, onboarding and supporting more than 1,900 trading partners over five years and managing the day-to-day aspects of its supply chain communications with manufacturers and retailers.

Inovis also provides analytics to help Dell manage trading partner performance and a service portfolio management SaaS application for it to manage the governance of serviceorientated requests to the IT group.

As a result Dell has greatly simplified its IT operations.

Amend says: “So far we have eliminated three legacy supply chain platforms and decommissioned more than 200 servers, 20 data centre racks, 20 private network circuits, ten databases and six terabytes of storage that we no longer need for internal supply chain processing.”

Additionally, the company can now bring a new trading partner into the system in a few days. “Previously, the process could take months.”

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