Many companies in the retail industry are experiencing the benefits of virtualization in their administrative and production processes. Such is the case of Makro Colombia, with the adoption of a virtual desk system in the 16 stores they have in the country.
This company is part of the SHB Business Group, one of the most important in the Netherlands, which has a presence in 6 countries in the world. Its core business focuses on the sale of mass products to professional customers, large families and wholesalers.
Juan Carlos Montoya, finance and systems director at Makro Colombia, made the decision to virtualize because the traditional figure of computing posed very expensive schemes in maintenance processes, information management and return on investment. "we also have an additional priority issue such as information security and the proper handling of large volumes of information. This forced us to have fragmented security schemes in stores and not centralized, these aspects being the most important to have made the decision to virtualize", explains the executive.
It was like this that a financial modeling of the project was made comparing it with the traditional computing model, as a fundamental element when exposing it to the board of directors.
Makro Colombia sought to leverage processes and objectives within its strategic business plan, such as raising the productivity levels of its commercial and administrative areas. In order to achieve this, it was vital to streamline thier expansion strategy for the opening of new stores and comply with the regulations and security policies defined by the parent company.
SolutionTaking these strategic values into account, the development of the project is being carried out by SERBAN GROUP, the integrating company. Lisbeth Rodríguez, account manager, explains that CITRIX Xen Desktop Platinum Edition, licenses were implemented for virtualization, selected so that the user had the same or a better experience than when the apps were installed on each machine. Greater information security and finally the possibility of integrating all users into the workplace implementation strategy.
Citrix Repeater was also implemented,a wide area network optimization communication technology that ensured lower bandwidth consumption in the communication channels of remote offices. And finally, thin Wyseclients, which ensured a longer lifecycle, a lower failure rate and zero device management.
"Faced with the large number of thin clinets in the market, we chose Wyse to make a solid and robust integration with Citrix. They have excellent performance, simplicity, low failure rate, little administration, zero antivirus and 90% energy savings, "adds Enrique Charri, head of infrastructure at Makro Colombia.
Enrique Charri, head of infrastructure at Makro Colombia, recalls that the subject was surprising because after seeing the benefits, strong reasons were found: "We undertook an analysis taking into account the growth that the company has had and the projected growth for the coming years, and it gave us a return on investment of 20% and a TCO of 18% in approximately 4 years. Thanks to these benefits, the project was proposed in phases, "he explains.
The first phase focused on a transition process to 150 jobs and phases 2 and 3 with 700 virtualized PCs, for a total of 850 desks.
Makro's operation consisted of short-lived PC platforms, with high costs due to licensing processes, maintenance, damage to equipment and times in the provisioning of jobs, being very slow.
Juan Fernando Calle, Juan Fernando Calle, RM and ALC manager Makro Tunja, says that: "One of the greatest impacts that the virtualization project had is in terms of time, mainly because the assembly of a machine takes up to 10 to 15 minutes, while previously we needed 4 or 5 hours to install the applications and the entire commercial system of the store. Now we spend barely minutes, which is basically assigning an IP so that the user is ready to work on their machine."
In addition, each store had a local server, which caused loss of information if there was an electrical damage or service outage.
Virtualization in Makro Colombia has had an impact on all fronts of the company. According to Jorge Díaz, IT manager, at the internal customer level, software and version updates have been improved quickly; processes have been standardized, communication is much more agile and fast, as has the entire backup system. At the external client level there is greater productivity, mobility; all this in the same place, which allows employees to work wherever they are, thus giving an incredible experience of use.
Finally, for Juan Carlos Montoya, finance and systems director at Makro Colombia, one of the key factors for this type of project to be successful is to have an assisting consultant with sufficient experience, capacity, commitment and good practices. "If this is not presented as a fundamental value, it is very unlikely that by circumventing problems that naturally arise in this type of implementation, it will be possible to compensate with the company's time," he explains.
The executive concludes by assuring that virtualization is a trend that all large companies will have to reach due to costs and improvement in their communications, information management and productivity. All this is achieved thanks to the robust development of telecommunications in recent years. Without this consolidation, virtualization would still be just a nice idea.