Case study: A tech and fashion partnership that rose to the cloud

Luxury accessories designer Anya Hindmarch, who has seen her brand grow into a global business with more than 50 stores around the world, had much to celebrate last week when she was awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours for services to fashion. It is just one of Anya’s many notable achievements in the world of business which has been one long success story.

Part of Anya’s success has depended on her IT support which has helped develop her business strategy. It was back in 2002 that Anya linked up with us, Conosco, an IT services provider. Some 14 years down the line, we are still working successfully together in establishing shops around the world with flagship stores in New York, Tokyo, LA and, of course, here in London.

Much of Anya’s initial expansion was through small stores and concessions, and it was up to us to provide reliable IT infrastructure to keep these sites running efficiently. We have a great partnership with Anya, and to see the business flourish and grow is part of the reason we do what we do. It shows the power IT has to change business in a positive way.

As a result of close co-operation between the two companies, Conosco recommended that Anya migrate to a hybrid cloud infrastructure to address the performance needs of their business. The implementation involved all production servers being migrated to the VMWare vCloud Air platform while retaining on-premise servers to provide print, image deployment and Windows domain services. This project eliminated the traditional risks associated with having on-premise core server infrastructure and created a consistent, global, multi-national platform, including a new head office and 20 other stores.

As part of the vCloud Air project, Conosco configured an innovative interconnect between the vCloud Air platform and Anya Hindmarch’s MPLS network. This created a direct, secure connection between all sites and the hosted infrastructure without routing traffic over the public internet. Additionally, all servers on the vCloud Air platform have replicated backups through a new StorageCraft ShadowProtect (backup) server on the vCloud Air platform. So, in the unlikely event of something going wrong with the vCloud Air platform or the backup server on the platform, Anya’s data can be restored from another cloud provider. Due to this work Conosco has been named as a finalist in the UK IT Industry Awards for the category of ‘best use of cloud services’ for this very project.

Dan Orteu, operations and IT director at Anya Hindmarch, said, “As the business continues to grow in the UK and abroad it has become more important to have a truly scalable business that’s robust and has a solid IT infrastructure. The migration of all our head office servers to vCloud has made this possible. It has allowed us to streamline internal processes and improve file sharing and communications across our global estate of stores, warehouses and offices. Working in this way has reduced the costs of our off-site back-ups, allowing us to put in place effective business continuity and disaster recovery plans.”

Key business benefits that Anya Hindmarch has experienced from the migration include:

  • Improved efficiency, performance, and productivity in operations as a result of easier and speedier file access, collaboration and sharing across multi-national sites.
  • Staff are able to work more efficiently with their cross-continental colleagues – safe in the knowledge that their data is always accessible and secure.
  • Anya Hindmarch’s business infrastructure is a fully scalable operation.

Max Mlinaric is managing director at Conosco UK