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IBM Is Helping The Elderly In England


LONDON - IBM is helping Home Farm Foods, one of the UK’s leading providers of home-delivered meals for the elderly, improve customer service.

Working with IBM and Triangle, an IBM Business Partner, Home Farm Foods implemented a managed data protection solution that reduced the delivery time of critical business planning and forecasting reports from more than five minutes to a few seconds.

Tony Blood, Marketing Director at Home Farm Foods explains: “Our old system was creaking and, without a dedicated in-house IT resource, it fell to me to keep it up and running. This took a significant amount of my time and diverted me away from my core responsibilities. Now, we can relax in the knowledge that our data is safely stored without any effort on our part. In addition to the reliability and performance of our new server, we are seeing great productivity improvements. Our previously recurrent IT problems have disappeared, giving us more time to focus on improving our service to distributors and customers.”

Home Farm Foods’ 27 regionally based franchised distributors operate from their own local systems, logging onto the central server once a week to download transactional data or place stock orders. In the past, the volume of data being handled meant the head office system slowed right down. This made the extraction of crucial reports, forecasts and planning information a slow and frustrating process.

There were also concerns about the suitability of the backup procedure for vital transactional data. Like many growing businesses, the company relied on tape-based backup procedures, vulnerable to failure and human error. Home Farm Foods chose IBM and Triangle to help address its short-term problems and to deliver a longer-term IT strategy for its business.

With these key objectives in mind, Triangle reconfigured Home Farm Foods’ IT infrastructure based on a new IBM System x Express Server designed to deliver fast, cost-effective performance to mid-sized companies. IBM Express Online Backup for Distributed Servers was used to provide automatic, online backup to a secure and resilient off-site data centre managed by IBM Global Technology Services. The Express backup solution is a ready made service from IBM and in this case took under an hour to install on the Home Farm Foods’ site.

Home Farm Foods is now progressing its long-term strategy of eventually having one centrally managed IT infrastructure shared by head office and the distributors, accessed through a standardised user interface.

“This is another example of making the services used by our high-end customers available to small and medium businesses, and to deliver these services locally through their own preferred IT suppliers,” said David Stokes, IBM Vice President for SMB. “Small companies can now have resilient, effective IT without the need to resource a dedicated IT department.”


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