RBTE 2015: Paul Smith fashions entire new IT infrastructure from the cloud

The complete overhaul of the IT infrastructure of fashion business Paul Smith is being made possible by it utilising a cloud-based solution that removes the need for a large upfront capital investment.Speaking at RBTE 2015 in a presentation slot with software firm Cegid, Lee Bingham, IT director at Paul Smith, told delegates that using a 'Software as a Service' (opex) model as opposed to the capital expenditure (capex) approach made the firm's desire to replace its entire IT systems a possibility.

"It made it more accessible. It is less of an overload and enabled us to support a greater degree of transformation. We wanted to change everything, end-to-end, hardware and software and this made it possible," he explained.

The project – with Cegid as its IT partner – began in 2014 with the first phase of deliverables defined and now Bingham says Paul Smith is three months away from UK site implementation. The rest of the world will then follow and is expected to be completed by end-September. Phase two will then be defined and consist of value-added services that will be built atop the new platform.

Because of the global nature of the Paul Smith business – with stores in a dispersed set of territories – and an objective of developing an omnichannel environment the company preferred to work with a single vendor with global experience and a standardised solution. Cegid was selected on this basis and because of its impressive list of fashion clients including L'Oreal, Sweaty Betty and Gant.

Bingham was also keen to employ tailored retail technology involving bespoke solutions that could be introduced into the company's retail environment – to enhance the business's individual approach to physical retail space. "We wanted a cohesive set of technologies that are aligned digitally and in-store – with 'clientelling',CRM and mobile PoS," he remarked.