IT solutions for the retail sector.
I’m Ian McBeth, I’m the group IT controller here at Furniture Village.
Furniture Village is a retailer at its heart, we’re not a technology company and we don’t aspire to be a technology company. What I’m interested in is holding people within my department who are retail IT experts and not generalists.
Esteem provides maintenance services for our infrastructure, our networking, our server base, our operating systems, our security firewalls, data centres in Slough and in Bedford. They also provide maintenance services for our desktops, printers and networking equipment out in our stores and warehouses. We rate the quality of Esteem’s engineers as being excellent.
As part of a refresh of our whole infrastructure two years ago, Esteem came in to help us out with refreshing almost all parts of it. We implemented a Citrix environment, we put in new firewalls, new routers, new servers, a virtualized server environment. It really was a whole refresh.
As a retailer, we have a lot of seasonality in our trade, and some of the key trading periods are certainly around the December time and especially in the January Sales and so Esteem were very mindful of this. The project was geared around delivering the store improvements around the January sales. And the guys at Esteem worked really hard to ensure that the project and their promises they made to us to get the stores up and working were delivered on time and indeed they were.
Since we did the infrastructure refresh with Esteem, we’ve seen a wide range of improvements across a number of fronts. We have much more faith from the business at large, from the staff that are using the systems and ultimately the service we’re providing to the customer has improved massively as well.
Having the network refresh has given us the platform to build upon and without it we wouldn’t have dreamed of putting in some of these larger projects which we’re now considering. We are now looking at ERP systems, we’re looking at transportation systems, we’re looking at business intelligence systems, all underpinned by the infrastructure we’ve got with Esteem.
When I came in to head up the department, we realised there was a skills gap in the department - we didn’t have the amount of skills necessary to look after the infrastructure that we had. We went outside of the business to have a look at managed services provision and we went to Esteem because they have been a long term trusted provider of services and we wanted to expand our relationship with them. What we found was that virtually expanding our walls and virtually expanding our team to include Esteem’s technical support and technical prowess, we found that our capabilities as a department has been greatly enhanced. We’ve gone from a department who was sitting there trying to be reactive to problems and trying to fix problems to one that is looking forward and is trying to implement new services and features that’s going to help us be more commercial and ultimately give the customer a better service. So it’s fantastic having Esteem on board because they are really helping our internal guys move forward.
Our unique selling point to our consumer is in the service that we provide both in store and in warehouses, and in our call centres and support centres. When we don’t have the systems, the guys just don’t have the information to hand to be able to deliver that quality of information, and that quality of service. So it is really important that we have the tools available to them and that we can service the customer in the best way possible.
“ By virtually expanding our walls and virtually expanding our teams to include Esteems technical support, we found that our capabilities as a department have been greatly enhanced. We’ve gone from a department who are sitting there trying to be reactive to problems, to one that is looking forward to trying to implement new services that will help us be more commercial and give the customer a better service." Ian McBeth, IT Manager, Furniture Village