February 22, 2007 13:04 ET

Home Farm Foods Opts for Managed Services From IBM

Home Farm Foods Mixes Ingredients From IBM and Triangle to Secure Data and Improve Productivity

LONDON -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 22, 2007 -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced an agreement with Home Farm Foods, one of the UK's leading providers of home-delivered meals for the elderly. The agreement is helping Home Farm Foods improve customer service, protect valuable transactional data and provide a reliable infrastructure for a growing business.

Working with IBM and Triangle, an IBM Business Partner, Home Farm Foods implemented a cost-effective, reliable, managed data protection solution that reduced the delivery time of critical business planning and forecasting reports from more than five minutes to a few seconds. The company also increased productivity by freeing up staff time, allowing them to focus on core activities rather than system availability tasks.

Tony Blood, Marketing Director at Home Farm Foods explains: "Our old system was creaking and, without a dedicated in-house IT resource, it fell to me to keep it up and running. This took a significant amount of my time and diverted me away from my core responsibilities. Now, we can relax in the knowledge that our data is safely stored without any effort on our part. In addition to the reliability and performance of our new server, we are seeing great productivity improvements. Our previously recurrent IT problems have disappeared, giving us more time to focus on improving our service to distributors and customers."

Home Farm Foods' 27 regionally based franchised distributors operate from their own local systems, logging onto the central server once a week to download transactional data or place stock orders. In the past, the volume of data being handled meant the head office system slowed right down. This made the extraction of crucial reports, forecasts and planning information a slow and frustrating process.

There were also concerns about the suitability of the backup procedure for vital transactional data. Like many growing businesses, the company relied on tape-based backup procedures, vulnerable to failure and human error. Home Farm Foods chose IBM and Triangle to help address its short-term problems and to deliver a longer-term IT strategy for its business.

With these key objectives in mind, Triangle reconfigured Home Farm Foods' IT infrastructure based on a new IBM System x Express Server designed to deliver fast, cost-effective performance to mid-sized companies. IBM Express Online Backup for Distributed Servers was used to provide automatic, online backup to a secure and resilient off-site data centre managed by IBM Global Technology Services. The Express backup solution is a ready made service from IBM and in this case took under an hour to install on the Home Farm Foods' site.

Home Farm Foods is now progressing its long-term strategy of eventually having one centrally managed IT infrastructure shared by head office and the distributors, accessed through a standardised user interface.

"This is another example of making the services used by our high-end customers available to small and medium businesses, and to deliver these services locally through their own preferred IT suppliers," said David Stokes, IBM Vice President for SMB. "Small companies can now have resilient, effective IT without the need to resource a dedicated IT department."

The agreement was signed in 2006.

About IBM

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About Triangle

As a premier business partner of IBM for 25 years, Triangle offers the business world a well-proven and radical approach in the selection and deployment of Information Technology solutions. Triangle is positioned as a total business solution centre for businesses today, offering a unique combination of skills across intelligent workstations, mid-range computing to communication infrastructure and application software from a single source; this is achieved by focusing on the tools available from IBM and Lotus of which empower their customers to truly achieve both financial and business process benefit from technology investments.

About Home Farm Foods

Home Farm Foods is a well established British company with a national network of distributors located in communities throughout the country. Back in 1994 when it was established, it was one of the pioneers in providing a home delivery service for frozen meals and desserts.

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