When Reitmans (Canada) Ltd. in Montreal wanted to increase worker productivity and to enhance customer satisfaction at its almost 900 stores across the country, it turned to IBM Canada Ltd.

for 1,200 desktop computers in an effort to upgrade its existing point-of-sale (POS) solution.

The $1-million deal will require IBM Canada to not only provide the apparel and accessories retailer with desktop computers, but also call for it to include its ThinkVantage Technologies software, which features a Rescue and Recovery tool used to backup data.

“We’re in the process of doing a significant upgrade on our POS and had acquired upgraded software…to use at the storefronts on the POS machines,” said Doug Deruchie, vice-president of finance for Reitmans (Canada), mentioning software provided by an IBM partner. “And that (IBM) software first and foremost requires a fairly powerful machine, a front-end POS machine to operate it properly and get out of it what we want out of it.”

There were two critical areas that the retailer needed to address, he said. It wanted the customer experience at the cash register to be smooth, and it wanted the hardware to perform in conjunction with the software so that the captured information could be transmitted on a minute-by-minute basis to the head office. Merchants could then access the transmitted data.

Because the retailer had successfully used IBM machines with its old POS, said Deruchie, it made sense to implement IBM hardware for the planned upgrade. He did, however, note that most of his company’s POS, including the screens, keyboards and printers, will remain as is.

According to Dominic Laplante, personal computing division sales specialist at IBM Canada’s Montreal office, it was IBM’s software-hardware combo that sealed the deal.

“Reitmans was interested in getting the Rescue and Recovery (component), which is a type of software backup to make sure that each POS PC desktop in each store will be backing up data,” said Laplante. “Rescue Recovery incorporates the Rapid Restore piece of software.”

Reitmans (Canada) is in the process of beginning the deployment, said Deruchie. He said the deployment process will involve rolling out the solution at one outlet for a given period of time before, if everything works out, deploying it at an additional 10 to 15 stores. If the retailer is satisfied at this stage, the solution will be rolled out at each of its remaining stores in Canada over the next two-and-a-half to three months.

Calling the Reitmans (Canada) contract a significant one for IBM Canada, Deborah Rourke, marketing and sales manager for the retail distribution sector at IBM Canada’s Montreal office, said her company hopes the deal will show other small and medium retailers in Canada that IBM doesn’t cater only to large enterprises.

“The hope is that there are still companies out there, especially in mid-size or smaller retailers, who don’t know that IBM has solutions for them,” she said. “So IBM does offer a variety of solutions for retailers—the different POS (systems), different PC solutions…That’s the key thing we want other people to know so that if they’re looking for a solution, they think to call and ask.”

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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