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Case Studies

Summary: Fact FileCompanyFirwood PaintsBusinessSpecialist paint manufacturerNumber of employees50ProjectManage very large numbers of customers...

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Company The Daylight Company
Business Specialist lighting products (distributor)
Number of employees 30
Project Collect and analyse business data from global sales operations; reduce administrative expenses and automate business processes; solve growth limitations of existing systems
Solution Implemented IBM eServer pSeries Model 615 server running Red Hat Linux, HansaWorld Enterprise ERP and CRM solution
Business benefits Single system supporting worldwide operations; faster reporting; lower operational costs; ability to integrate Web sales orders with standard business processes


The Daylight Company is a distributor of specialised lighting products that replicate natural daylight, designed for users who want enhanced visual quality. The product range includes daylight bulbs, lamps with magnifiers and grippers, such as those for needlework enthusiasts and modellers, and specialist medical fittings. Daylight employs 30 people internationally, and has sales offices throughout Europe, in the US and in Australia.

Daylight’s business IT infrastructure was struggling to manage a rapidly growing customer database. The underlying Intel-based hardware was not meeting the company’s performance requirements, and running separate systems in each of the corporate locations was expensive in terms of training, administrative support and management time.


Daylight needed a new server architecture to support a rapidly growing customer base.

Lee Raynor, Finance Director, comments, 'Gathering sales reports from different systems was taking too long, and the existing systems had reached their limits in terms of database size. One option would have been to delete some historical data, but we need that history to examine long-term trends, so we knew we needed a new server architecture.'

Seeing the light

With advice from ABS Ltd, Daylight selected HansaWorld Enterprise, planning to implement a single instance of the software at its UK headquarters, and provide Web-based access for the rest of its offices. Daylight need to ensure excellent availability and ample capacity for data growth, and duly selected IBM's eServer pSeries Model 615 running Red Hat Linux.

'Moving all our applications onto a single system for worldwide operations means we no longer have to recruit IT staff locally, and central support staff do not have to learn multiple systems,' says Lee Raynor.

'HansaWorld combines contact management, email, task management, calendar, document and information management, logistics and accounting. We needed a solid platform for this global solution, and the pSeries has proved to be an excellent choice. It offers excellent availability and is more than capable of handling our growing customer database.'

'With HansaWorld on pSeries, we can see business trends in real time, and the finance department can now focus on strategic problems rather than just trying to get the figures.'

Luminous solution offers low costs

Daylight worked with ABS on the implementation of HansaWorld, and engaged Morse Computing, an IBM Business Partner, to advise on hardware sizing, installation and configuration.

Lee Raynor comments, 'ABS was very good at understanding our requirements, and then recommending the right software for our needs. And the partnership between Daylight, ABS and Morse was a crucial factor in the success of the solution.'

The pSeries 615 is based around the IBM POWER4+ processor, a powerful 64-bit CPU offering excellent performance and flexibility. Says Lee Raynor, 'The upfront hardware cost of the pSeries is higher than the Intel-based options we looked at, but the extra power has enabled us to consolidate to a single instance of a enterprise-wide solution. As a result, our software licensing costs are lower, and support and administration costs have also been reduced.'

'And of course the ability to run 64-bit Linux natively on the POWER architecture gives us real flexibility for the future, as well as keeping licensing costs low', continues Raynor.

Bright future with Web integration

The next steps are to integrate Daylight’s Web orders with the HansaWorld systems. The IBM pSeries platform is more than capable of scaling to meet the workload, with easy upgrade options.

Says Lee Raynor: 'When you are a small company with global ambitions, you need total confidence in your main business server. The p615 is extremely reliable, which is very reassuring -- it keeps our IT resources free to focus on delivering business value.'

'The integrated view of data provided by HansaWorld has improved the quality of our management information,' he concludes.

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Topics: Operating Systems, Reviews, Software

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Charles has been in tech publishing since the late 1980s, starting with Reed's Practical Computing, then moving to Ziff-Davis to help launch the UK version of PC Magazine in 1992. ZDNet came looking for a Reviews Editor in 2000, and he's been here ever since.

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