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Scandinavian House Uses Cloud to Improve Services for Both Itself and its Customers

Anne Ridgway Director and co-owner, Scandinavian House - Photo by Dan Prince


Customer: Scandinavian House (Kids Avenue)
Headquarters: Shipley, England
Business: Designing, importing and distributing children’s bedroom furniture
Challenge: Gaining better insight into its operations for both itself and its customers
Solution: Working with Proximity to develop a cloud-based online service on the IBM Power Systems platform
Hardware: IBM Power Systems
Software: IBM DB2 for i, Zend Technologies’ Zend Server for IBM i and Zend Studio, BCD Software’s WebSmart PHP and Clover, and Sage 50 from Sage

For some small companies, “IT departments” often consist of someone who, on a part-time basis and perhaps with no formal training, manages desktop PCs and off-the-shelf servers. That’s it. No programmers, no developers, no dedicated administrators.

And employees might have to rely on simple programs such as Intuit QuickBooks, Microsoft* Office and online services like Google Docs to get their jobs done. But when margins are tight and IT resources are scarce and expensive, there are often few other options. These smallish companies take what they can get and, to their credit, make the most of it.

Thanks to cloud services, however, that doesn’t have to be the case. These same businesses can now tap into similar resources as their larger counterparts, including advanced servers, around-the-clock administrators and full-time developers—all without the hassles of managing IT resources by themselves.

“Ultimately, it comes down to keeping your customers happy, including not just retailers, but also end consumers—and especially the kids.”
—Anne Ridgway, director and co-owner, Scandinavian House

Such is the case with Scandinavian House, which, once reliant on those inexpensive IT resources, has now partnered with IBM i software developer and modernizer Proximity to tap into a fully realized IT environment that has a dramatic impact on how it conducts business. As part of this effort, both Scandinavian House and Proximity were honored with the 2015 SHD Logistics Award for Innovation Technology.

“We were up against some really, really big boys, which was very exciting,” says Anne Ridgway, director and co-owner with her husband, Dan, of Scandinavian House. “I could not believe it. But I feel both we and Proximity, which has been such a great partner, did indeed deserve it. We’ve done some remarkable things together.”

Things that would make those big boys jealous.

On the Verge

Based in Shipley, England, Scandinavian House is an importer and distributor of funky and functional children’s bedroom furniture as part of its Kids Avenue moniker. (It’s also venturing into outdoor play sets, although the indoor furniture remains its primary focus.)

As such, it works with companies in Europe, including France, Denmark and Estonia, to manufacture beds, desks, dressers and other accouterments that will make kids happy when they’re told to go to their rooms. In addition to having its own in-house designed furniture, it also offers items from leading brands such as Flexa, Parisot, Stompa and Thuka.

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at jjutsler@provide.net.

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