Show and tell
Big technical and operational changes don't come easily. The bottom line when making a major investment is that upper management must agree to foot the bill. Bryan Timm and Craig DeMerit, the director of technology at Guess?, recognized that they would need help with hardware and software, and they would need broad support within the company for the initiative. Their strategy included sending a Guess? posseincluding cochairmen and joint CEOs Paul and Maurice Marcianoup to Silicon Valley to visit Cisco Systems and learn more about how to invest intelligently in technology.
But the upper management at Cisco had a surprise in store for Guess?. "Amazingly," quips Timm, "the Cisco people didn't even talk about product. Their focus was primarily on using technology to meet the needs of customers better. That customer could be a supplier or could be a buyer of our products. This angle on using technology helped us make decisions with regard to our supply chain."
The trip proved to be an eye-opening experience for Guess? and a great lesson for other companies. Says Timm, "We were very impressed [with] how a technology company attributes much of their success to customer service and less to the products they supply." Given that the Guess? portal system is about to go live, complete with Cisco routers and load-balancing equipment, we'd say Cisco accomplished its mission.
How Guess utilizes load balancing
In order to ensure that its portal will be available on 24/7 internet time, Guess? has put high-availability, redundant hardware in place.