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Transforming Your Enterprise Magazine

Fall 2008

Large Enterprise Business


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Dressed for success

Succeeding as a fashion retailer requires fancy footwork in the IT shop as well as in the retail shop: HP services and systems have given this fashion house the agility to stay ahead of the curves.

Dressed for success

Offering sophisticated clothing at moderate prices is big business. Chico’s FAS, once a mom-and-pop operation, has mushroomed into a chain of more than 1,050 specialty stores in 48 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The retailer sells exclusively designed, private-label women’s clothing, intimates and accessories under the prominent brand names Chico’s, White House | Black Market and Soma Intimates.

Fueling these operations are more than 20,000 technology devices, including store cash registers, which link to company headquarters in Fort Myers, Florida. Back office systems support purchasing, clothing design, material sourcing, distribution, financials and myriad other processes.

To manage growth and operate in the fast-paced, mercurial retail industry, Chico’s has been standardizing on HP technologies in recent years. Today, HP solutions—HP POS systems, HP Integrity servers, the HP BladeSystem and HP Services—touch every facet of the retail enterprise.

It started with a major point-of-sale (POS) upgrade in advance of the 2005 holiday shopping season. “It’s all about customer service,” says Scott Bader, Director of Store Systems for Chico’s. “The shopping experience ends with checkout, and we want this to be a pleasant and timely process for our customers. POS system performance is a key driver. We ensure our applications are driven by the best possible technology.”

In with the new

Chico’s IT staff evaluated IBM, NCR and HP POS systems and soon began rolling out HP rp5000 POS devices into new stores.

“HP rp5000 POS devices enabled us to reduce the number of software images and the need to support multiple images and environments.” — Scott Bader, Director, Store Systems, Chico’s FAS

“We found that we could get a retail-hardened, reliable advanced machine from HP with larger Intel® processors and more memory priced well below the IBM and NCR options,” explains Bader. “On top of that, we could maintain the same chip set for five years when previously we had to migrate to a different machine and chip set every nine months. HP rp5000 POS devices enabled us to reduce the number of software images and the need to support multiple images and environments.”

The retailer hired HP Services to integrate and deploy roughly 1,000 HP POS devices in more than 700 North American stores in six weeks. The deployment expanded application functionality, improved inventory-in/sales-out data reporting performance and sped up customer checkout. The specialty retailer has since adopted HP rp5700 POS devices.

While HP POS systems reign in Chico’s stores, HP Integrity servers rule in the back office. Chico’s previously used IBM eight-way servers for the database layer, but in late 2005 engaged HP’s Solution Centers to help oversee the testing of an HP Integrity rx8620 Server running 64-bit Microsoft® SQL Server 2005. The outstanding results prompted the retailer to select the HP server to run SQL Server databases and link to Chico’s e-commerce site.

“We don’t just get servers from HP, we get solutions,” says Steven Ross, Vice President of Technology for Chico’s. “The entire implementation curve was handled for us. The HP engineers did a fantastic job on the initial implementation and the upgrade.”

Crunching the numbers

Recently, Intel and HP Services helped Chico’s maximize compute capacity at the Fort Myers facility and determine its power constraints.

“Implementing a new data center can be expensive and disruptive,” says Ross. “HP and Intel conducted cooling ratios, segregated hot and cold isles, re-routed some of the cooling and performed some venting. They helped with our circuitry and power consumption loads. At their recommendation, we are buying more c-Class blades, which require less cooling.”

Since deploying the first HP Integrity rx8620 Server, Chico’s purchased another and also an HP Integrity Superdome Server with Dual-Core Intel Itanium processors. The retailer has about 500 HP ProLiant c- and p-Class server blades running Windows, the company’s SAP application tier and the Chico’s Web site.

“We depend on the built-in redundancy, efficient cooling and power consumption of ProLiant blade servers, and the flexibility to put two- and four-way servers in the enclosures on the fly. The HP BladeSystem allows us to provision application services quickly,” says Ross.

Fashions change fast. But innovative HP solutions and services enable Chico’s IT staff to adjust quickly, while helping the company to maintain a healthy balance sheet.

“We have a strong bond with HP, and as a result we have a close working relationship. This relationship equals good service all across the board,” Ross concludes.

Related link

»  HP rp5700 POS devices

Table of contents


» Virtual for all the right reasons


» The green standard
» Common Ground: Turning distress into ‘de-stress’


» Rethinking virtualization
» From IT tool to business enabler
» Virtualization beyond IT
» Built for virtualization
» IT leasing makes sense in tough times


» The perfect virtual fit
» Selective outsourcing
» HP fuels The Indy Racing Experience
» Stepping up to service delivery
» The power of partnership
» Dressed for success


» Pick-and-choose-support
» Getting the most out of outsourcing
» Teaching the data center to think green
» Storage briefs
» Data deduplication eases storage headaches


» Mission-critical blades now available
» Taming the wild petabyte
» PDM moves up
» New 8P server addresses capacity, growth needs
» Storage for all sizes
» A SAN for all reasons
» Security without walls
» Putting petabytes to work for your company


» The great leap forward
» Puzzled by power?
» The partner portfolio
» Server management simplified
» Two worlds as one
» The better road to open source
» Two blade servers in one
» Feedback
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