Olímpica S.A. is a company incorporated in Barranquilla in 1953; this extensive mass consumption store chain is one of the main retail players in Colombia, with double-digit continuous growth in the last decade. As of the 2017 closing, the company had sales equivalent to Col$ 5.3 trillion and more than Col$·89 billion in profits. This company, consisting of 100% Colombian private capital, is a flagship of the Atlantic Coast and has 350 points of sale, has almost 18,000 employees in superstores (“supertiendas”), super-depots (“superalmacenes”), super-drugstores (“superdroguerías”) and drugstores of the country.
Olímpica S.A. is a company incorporated in Barranquilla in 1953; this extensive mass consumption store chain is one of the main retail players in Colombia, with double-digit continuous growth in the last decade.
Olímpica, the second most important retailer in Colombia, faced a major technological challenge in 2017 to improve the experience of technological services, which between 2012 and 2015 were enhanced with an IBM Power server solution and a storage previously purchased from HP.
The solution began to report considerable delays due to the high volume of information that meant the rapid growth of the company. Little by little, the processing system reached 100% of its capacity, which increased reports of process retention and delays of hours and days, and even the cancellation of processes, many of which had to be aborted and fragmented to comply with the operational requirements.
This overwhelming demand forced users to undertake time-consuming consolidation and reporting processes with long execution times. For its part, the storage system considerably increased the time it took to make a general backup copy, which was done once a week and forced a long pause in the operation.
All of this volume of financial, accounting, and business information increasingly threatened system slowdowns, inefficient processes, and even the possible loss of business-critical data.
Its continuous double-digit growth in the last decade led it, in mid-2017, to formulate a technological investment to improve the capacity to manage information and support it. A new processing model is designed based on IBM On-Demand solutions and a bi-brand integration in the storage component.
In Barranquilla, its main headquarters, the design would offer unbeatable response times for the current demand for information processing and backup. Additionally, it would integrate the already acquired HP storage technology. This solution was executed in 3 weeks during the month of June 2017, without trauma of any nature. Start a turnkey solution with the mentoring of Redsis, the technological ally of the business in the last 20 years. The strategy consisted of increasing computing power: An IBM iSeries 870 OnDemand server. This represented, after its implementation, improvements in the reliability and performance of the IT service offering. This model allowed the business to plan for scalable growth by 2020.
Under the processing layer, an SVC System was implemented: SAN Volume Controller and an IBM Storewize storage system, achieving the integration of the HP solution as a backup platform. Response times and reliability gave positive results, especially in the issues associated with the SAP Retail database.
One of the main benefits of the solution was the considerable experience improvement of the concurrent company users, who perform in excess of 14 million operations a day in the SAP database. According to project leaders, John Fernando Calderón, IT Systems Manager, and Armando Rodríguez, IT Infrastructure Manager in Olímpica, the efficiency level grew an average of 30% in all processes, adding value to the daily activities of the different offices.
On top of this, also there is substantial improvement in the process of the daily consolidated that enters into the POS system, which allows the company to know more swiftly the daily accounting operation of each point of sale. Previously, this process took days to be completed. Likewise, the scheme designed unveiled the latent level of demand, which was uncertain. Users perform tasks that were practically impossible to do before, because some processes that took 2 days or 6 hours, now, after the implementation, are conducted in one hour or 15 minutes, respectively. Part of the major achievements is to have daily backups of all the information through IBM Flash Copy technology, a high-performance storage feature that improves users experience. For the Systems and Infrastructure Managers of the company from Barranquilla, this highly-scalable technology integration allowed establishing the policy for information storage in solid-state drives as the reliability and security strategy thereof. Likewise, IT area costs substantially decreased by the On-Demand model for processing, especially in high commercial flow times, better controlling the delivery of resources to the user. All these also facilitated to the company to be in sync with the business own needs and its commercial activity, which includes the opening of an average of 25 stores a year throughout the country and a subsequent bet on the electronic market.
The success of this solution allowed redesigning other IT area components like the adaptation of a new Data Center at main office. This project demonstrates the Company’s efforts to maintain its competitive position thanks to technology allies like Redsis, that strengthens as an extensive-experience provider and integrator with knowledge of the business challenges that companies like Olímpica face in Colombia.