Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Schwarz Group has adopted Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform to centrally control and manage 12,500 retail outlets. Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform supports an automation framework that allows Schwarz Group to roll-out new stores quickly and deliver digital services globally, while simultaneously supporting local markets through decentralised management.
Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform has helped to eliminate time-consuming manual processes, leaving us to focus on innovation.
The Schwarz Group is the world’s fourth largest retailer based on revenue. It operates over 12,500 stores globally under the Lidl and Kaufland brands. Ansible Automation Platform provides the group with a more consistent operational foundation that allows it to launch and distribute new and innovative digital services to every store. Services designed to ensure Lidl and Kaufland stores continue to stay competitive.
In addition, the group can launch new stores more quickly. Back-end servers and systems can be up and running and synced with centralised operations in less than 30 minutes. Each store has its own Storeserver that supports a range of functions, including CCTV, kiosk management and customer reward programs. Once activated, the local administrator can automate and deploy services remotely to the Storeserver for that specific location. From that point, new services and applications can be installed easily using Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform.
The automation framework supports the group’s expansion and future proofs stores to accommodate new services to continuously improve the customer experience. Group-wide initiatives are coordinated by the central IT function to offer a consistent brand presence across every store. As a result local teams are streamlining their efforts, saving time and resources. Equally, local IT teams can use the framework to adapt to any local demands and focus on innovation. Schwarz Group is now running up to 3,000 Ansible Automation Platform jobs a day to manage store operations worldwide.
Schwarz Group already has a comprehensive IT and cloud infrastructure in place, a brand called STACKIT. Schwarz IT identified the need for a centralised automation system to standardise and manage store operations.
Automation is a critical component of the company’s business operations, and enterprise support was a key reason to use Red Hat’s solution. It would have been highly complicated and time-consuming for the Schwarz Group to solve some of the architectural issues with the unsupported community version of Ansible. In response, Schwarz IT’s teams worked with Red Hat’s technical experts to review the architecture and establish best practices for the new automation solution during a two-day workshop.
The in-house team is now fully accustomed with the platform and its functionality. System upgrades and platform maintenance are simple and seamless, freeing up teams to devote more time to delivering business value rather than conducting routine management.
Joe Fitzgerald, vice president and general manager, Management, Red Hat
“Automation is central to business processes within the enterprise. We work closely with our customers to help them design and build an automation solution that suits their needs. With Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, it's possible to fully automate systems and processes and achieve IT governance. It can be scaled across different clouds, IT departments, business units and geographies. It provides greater agility, fosters a spirit of collaboration and frees up time to dedicate to core responsibilities. Working with Schwarz IT, we were able to help them verify the platform and work together on further scale up.”
Felix Kuehner, head of Storeserver, Compute and Runtime Services – Linux, Schwarz IT
“As an organisation, we have always been firm advocates of open source. Having a centralised automation solution in place, we can launch new stores faster, support automated workflows and roll-out innovative digital services across all of our stores worldwide. In-store digital services that deliver improved customer experiences allow us to differentiate and compete with online retailers. Overall, Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform has helped to eliminate time-consuming manual processes, leaving us to focus on innovation.”
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