7711

Veritas

Network and Wi-Fi environment for all 117 stores

Background

The well-known and popular retail chain Veritas is bursting with ambition. With 117 stores across Belgium and Luxembourg, the company’s aim for 2013 is to  increase their number of branches to 130 and to expand into other countries such as France, Germany and the Netherlands. Veritas is a retail chain with a unique concept in which creative ideas are combined with a wide range of high quality accessories for women. It is a retail chain with a history stretching over 120 years
that is looking to get digital as it prepares for the future.

Just like Veritas, the digital and online world is constantly expanding. The retail chain’s core operations are completely reliant on this POS system which is used
to both process payments and manage stock. Johan De Witte, IT Manager at Veritas: ‘The checkouts installed in our 117 stores nationwide are directly linked to Veritas head offi ce. All sales activities are forwarded online from the checkouts and this allows the amount of supplies delivered to stores to be managed from head offi ce, thus ensuring that stocks are adequately replenished. This is a fully automated process, which is centrally controlled. The POS system is critical to our organisation. Simply put: if the checkout fails, we can’t do business.

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Challenge

Evolution in retail

Veritas’ constant expansion meant action had to be taken. One of Veritas’ objectives is to use digital and online services as a business accelerator. Johan De Witte: ‘Retail stores are increasingly evolving into an advisor in online surroundings. Our employees are taking on the role of consultants rather than salespeople which means they must be able to support our customers through the provision of online tools.

Online ambitions

Based on this development, Veritas has a number of plans in the pipeline and a solid, reliable network and Wi-Fi environment is an essential part of achieving those. As De Witte goes on: ‘We have already introduced wireless scanning in our stores. Wireless scanning allows us to use a mobile scanner to scan products being purchased by those waiting in a queue. We have made Wi-Fi scanners available to do this. Another important aspect is our efforts to improve customer loyalty through, for example, the introduction of loyalty cards. These cards increase our potential to conduct expanded and targeted promotion campaigns.’ But there are also plans for the near future. Johan De Witte: ‘We are planning to install kiosks in our stores which allow customers to submit a digital request for our catalogue or browse our catalogue online. As well as this, we would like to allow guest access which means we would be able to off er customers the opportunity to go online using their own smartphones or tablets. Within the next year, our sales consultants will also be provided with tablets to allow them to provide customers with up-to-date information. Our district managers are already experiencing the convenience of our new Wi-Fi network because all they have to do is open their laptop in the store to gain direct access to our network.

Technology used

Solution

Expertise

All these benefi ts provided by online solutions for both customers and employees mean that a solid, effi cient and secure network and Wi-Fi environment is essential. Johan De Witte: ‘In order to realise these plans, we have invested in a new network environment. An increasing number of people—including both customers and employees—have access to the network. An advanced security solution is vital in providing them with a safe environment. To ensure this, we have called on the knowledge and expertise of SecureLink.’

Veritas’ internal IT department focuses on everything the business needs and leaves the technical matters to specialists. Johan De Witte: ‘Networking has become much more complex. We have the conceptual knowledge but have to outsource the technical work. We
didn’t hesitate to enlist SecureLink’s services as a knowledge advisor. They are completely up to speed with the network market and have been able to tell us precisely what we need in our environment in order to realise our online objectives. Their expertise was evident from the design and technologies they used. The project layout and redundancy were very well thought out and demonstrated their high level of expertise—expertise we don’t have ourselves.’

The solution is a project design with the renowned Juniper Networks for LAN, WLAN and fi rewalls along with a datacenter solution from F5 Networks to ensure the optimal, safe and smooth operation of applications. In the context of Alternative Working Practices, Veritas aims to facilitate safe remote working. This involves providing homeworkers with an SSL VPN connection. In order to ensure secure access through user authentication, Veritas opted to use the Vasco Digipass for mobile and hardware tokens.

Full Managed Service

In addition to the proposed design and use of technologies, there was a more important reason for Veritas to choose SecureLink. Johan De Witte: ‘SecureLink was able to fulfill our requirements by offering a full managed service for this project. This is crucial and certainly not self-evident given that everything goes via the network, including the connections between the checkouts and head office, as well as the updates that are carried out online. We’re talking about 118 stores which means a lot could go wrong. A constant data connection between our sites and head office is crucial to our business. SecureLink takes care of these matters and we are extremely pleased with how they manage the infrastructure. If a problem were to occur, we have agreed on whether or not I would be informed. Thanks to SecureLink’s full managed service, the internal IT team can focus on its core activity: business.’

Johan De Witte concludes: ‘We still have more initiatives that we plan to roll out in our stores in the future. We now have the basis to do so thanks to SecureLink.

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