“The iAnywhere system management software was so successful, I decided to drive the whole process forward.”
Manager of Retail Systems
Previously, a district manager had to call each store for sales data, and process the information manually on paper. To eliminate this tedious process, Blockbuster uses RemoteWare on district managers' laptops to collect data from all remote locations; this also increases efficiency by eliminating the paperwork process.
- Blockbuster managers can assimilate vital raw data more securely and quickly than before.
- Eliminates the paperwork process for district managers
- Collects data from all stores in only 30 seconds
- Slashes costs for telephone bills and employee hours
- Assimilates business data days earlier, in a more reliable and secure form
- Retail and Distribution
Guessing the demand for a film is easy enough when you only have a few stores. But when you're bulk purchasing across an entire continent, with all the inherent tastes and cultural variations it entails, the logistics of today's Blockbuster Entertainment are complex and challenging.
Where Tight Control is Vital
This is an example of a business that is forced by the local nature of the market it serves to define an efficient and scalable distribution system. Each Blockbuster Entertainment store has to be close to the customer, which means there has to be a lot of them, making it even more vital that the overall management and distribution of goods is tightly controlled.
Blockbuster Entertainment's management controlled this growth from its U.K. headquarters in Uxbridge, West London. Novell Netware servers and IBM AS/400 computers at its main site played host to the information from the MicroVAXs and Alpha servers at each store. Historically, sales inventory and stock information were collated by polling each store's computer overnight. This was achieved using iAnywhere’s RemoteWare system management software.
RemoteWare is a family of products that automates communication between remote client PCs and corporate servers. Its functions can be categorized into three broad areas-remote systems management, application enhancement and content distribution (such as databases and software updates).
Blockbuster Extends its Use of "So Successful" RemoteWare
Satisfied with operational and support savings (not to mention the reduced communications bills) offered by improved systems management, Blockbuster's management thought it prudent to enjoy these advantages in other areas.
At this time, district managers were each manually gathering information from stores in their area. Because RemoteWare had served Blockbuster so well, Jason Chibnall, manager, retail systems, decided to extend its use. "The iAnywhere system management software was so successful, I decided to drive the whole process forward by giving all the district managers laptops with the same company's software."
Previously, a district manager had to call each store to capture cash sales, stock levels and pricing. This would take typically five minutes per store and the managers would need to repeat the process for each of the dozen or so stores in their jurisdiction. In addition, everything had to be written or printed out on paper and posted to the district manager.
A 30-Second Process
That process has been brought down to 30 seconds of communications thanks to the efficiency of the RemoteWare solution and the RemotePay and TimeSheet applications, implemented by iAnywhere's partner Intellinet.
RemotePay and TimeSheet are part of the IntellinetStaff range of applications, which also includes Staff Scheduling, Forecasting and HR Management and which is designed to operate with RemoteWare.
The cost of telephone calls, in terms of telecommunications bills and hours saved, has been slashed dramatically by the combination of RemoteWare and IntellinetStaff.
Monitoring All Activity From a Central Site
RemoteWare employs queued event architecture, which eliminates the need for continuous connection to the network. Users work offline, and the system automatically queues events that will need communications. RemoteWare enables centralized management and control, which means the network manager can monitor all activity, define all users environments and distribute software from a central site.
No Technical Knowledge Needed
The district managers across Blockbuster Entertainment's European-wide network of stores need no technical knowledge of communications or remote systems management software, as it all runs in the background and requires minimal training. The ultimate litmus test of its user friendliness is the support needed. Blockbuster has one person at headquarters to oversee the communications and no help desk at all.
RemoteWare Manages Information Distribution
Apart from providing a fast, secure upgrade to the company's communications activities, RemoteWare can also be used alongside messaging and e-mail systems to manage information distribution. The workflow concept has been adopted by Blockbuster, allowing internally scheduled network jobs to be sent automatically to each manager's laptop. Files that arrive at one point in the network can be copied across to other users automatically.
Between them, the addition of the RemoteWare applications have contributed massive savings, productivity gains and cost savings. Managers can assimilate the vital raw data days earlier, in a more secure and reliable form, in an operation that takes a fraction of the time. At the same time, they are empowered with better intelligence fed to them from their own corporate database and e-mail servers.