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Softwear B.V. is a fashion retail software company, set up in 1990 with two partners by Jeroen de Vries shortly after finishing his degree, together they built ERP-software for the fashion retail business.
“Since working with TelecityGroup we haven’t experienced any downtime at all. Unlike our previous colocation provider, TelecityGroup gives us a sense of security, knowing that we will have constant uptime.”
Jeroen de Vries,
Founder and co-owner of Softwear
Softwear’s software meets the challenge of the diversity in the fashion retail industry, for example the variation in men’s and women’s sizes or placing orders before clothing has been produced. Because of Softwear’s strong focus and understanding of the market it is a robust company. Softwear has been closing its fiscal year with figures showing excellent growth since its foundation in the late eighties. It currently has 480 clients and 2,000 users.
Softwear’s clients are increasingly using Application Service Provider (ASP) model software to control cash registers, ordering and financial systems. If the central cash register system application should fail during a late night opening, hundreds of shop owners would be affected. Since Softwear placed its servers with TelecityGroup, however, the 1,500 users of the applications are now assured that availability is guaranteed 24/7.
Jeroen de Vries, founder and co-owner of Softwear comments: “Since working with TelecityGroup we haven’t experienced any downtime at all. Unlike our previous colocation provider, TelecityGroup gives us a sense of security, knowing that we will have constant uptime.”
De Vries explains: “Fashion retail is a very fragmented market. Big players such as MEXX and De Bijenkorf only make up five percent of the market. Aside from these there are small shops and attic room wholesalers. As well as this fragmentation, fashion retail is also an unique in its software requirements.”
Softwear does not sell boxes containing client/server software as it has switched to the ASP model. 260 of its clients have already switched to this modern software service. Using Microsoft Terminal Services the central application is brought to the clients’ PCs, thin clients and cash registers. In total, more than 1,000 users are connected to the central servers. They are now automatically working with the latest software version and they immediately benefit from every update. Seven full time helpdesk and support staff monitor the functioning of the applications and support the users via telephone, email and text messaging.
The servers for the new ASP service were located in Softwear’s office; there was no problem with downtime but De Vries was concerned about business continuity should there be an incident such as fire or theft. Any incident would mean its clients would lose access to data and applications.
Fit for purpose
Softwear decided to locate the servers at a dedicated site. De Vries explains: “We initially worked with an Internet Service Provider which had just started a colocation service, however we found the infrastructure was not fit for purpose and designed for servers with low power usage. When the equipment was installed the fuses blew. We began to experience downtime continually; sometimes ten minutes, sometimes for over an hour. Our clients became nervous about using our service.”
In 2006 Softwear decided to move its hosting to TelecityGroup. De Vries comments: “It was a breath of fresh air to finally be able to work with experts who understand our business demands. Through its expertise in colocation TelecityGroup proved to be a flexible partner. We decided to take a 12 m2 private suite.”
Window of time
Softwear managed the move itself, in a time window between 2am and 6am, as Softwear’s customers begin trading at 6am, with a few customers in Hong Kong affected by downtime during this time. By using a rented vehicle the equipment was transferred in two trips, with a TelecityGroup engineer on hand to ensure a smooth installation.
Since the move to the private suite at TelecityGroup’s AMS3 facility in January 2006 there has not been any downtime. De Vries comments: “This is a huge comfort for us and a relief for our clients.”
Softwear is currently expanding on a weekly basis within the six racks that are in the private suite. It is also planning to ‘double’ the hosting by using a redundant location.
De Vries concludes: “Our experiences with TelecityGroup have been so positive that we don’t need to look any further.”
Softwear chose TelecityGroup because:
- Downtime is unacceptable for its members in the retail business
- TelecityGroup continually proves flexibility and pro-activity
- TelecityGroup could offer a private suite made to order
- TelecityGroup has capacity for expansion
- TelecityGroup has a number of locations