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TECHNOLOGY

Dillard’s scales IT resources to meet customer demand

BY Dan Berthiaume

A department store chain has removed unpredictability from managing its IT capacity.

Like most retailers, Dillard’s experiences increases in shopper engagement at stores and online during the holidays and clearance events. However, unpredictable costs made properly accommodating these spikes in transaction volumes with IT capacity challenging. Dillard’s would estimate sales volumes using historical data and trends to suggest what IT resources should be available.

However, due to the unpredictable nature of online and in-store customer behavior, typically Dillard’s wound up over- or under-provisioning resources. Over-provisioning meant the retailer wasted resources and faced increased costs, while under-provisioning created risk of not being able to provide adequate levels of customer service.

To resolve these issues, Dillard’s has adopted tailored-fit pricing for its IBM Z mainframe servers. Leveraging this consumption-based pricing model, the retailer is now billed on the basis of million service units (MSU) consumption rather than peak four-hour rolling average.

This enables Dillard’s to consume IT resources on-demand with completely predictable pricing. In addition, the retailer has upgraded its IBM Z environment, deploying the latest-generation IBM z14 servers to increase performance.

“With tailored fit pricing, we can take full advantage of our IBM Z capacity,” said Terry Glover, director of infrastructure at Dillard’s. “Surges in demand are now an opportunity rather than a challenge. By providing stable and consistent IT services, we ensure that shoppers get the same great service no matter where or when they buy from us.”

Based in Little Rock, Arkansas, Dillard’s operates 265 stores and 26 clearance centers spanning 29 states.

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