Harry Rosen has been an iconic Canadian fashion brand since 1954. This iconic status is cemented by 14 mainline stores, 2 branded stores, 3 outlets, and an online site creating over $300 million in revenue in 2019. For many men in the Canadian business world, the purchase of a Harry Rosen suit is almost like a rite of passage.
But since the pandemic hit, pushing people to remote, or hybrid work, one might think purchases of high-end clothing would decline. However this was not the case for Harry Rosen.
In a virtual event hosted by Dave Pearson, VP of infrastructure solutions at IDC Canada, Harry Rosen’s EVP and Chief Information Officer Stephen Jackson discussed how the company was able to navigate the pandemic disruption by focusing their efforts and strategy on improving their core technology with the help of TELUS.
“Harry Rosen has always considered itself to be in the business of relationships,” said Jackson. “Our challenge really was ‘how do we provide the same level of service remotely or digitally compared to in-store?’”
Click here to watch the full webinar, also featuring Navin Arora, President of Business Solutions at TELUS and Joey LeMonier, Sales Director, Americas Service Providers at Cisco.
A history of digital transformation
The executive team at Harry Rosen recognized early on that long-term success meant early-adoption and adaptation with digital technologies. Their transformation has been decades in the making, continually updating with solutions that made sense for their customers.
For example, Harry Rosen first introduced a computerized customer relationship management (CRM) system over 25 years ago. They began offering free WiFi in store in 2006, during the era of BlackBerry supremacy and before the iPhone even existed. Advisors would use handheld PDA devices to help customers in-store. And of course, they made the leap to e-commerce in 2009, much earlier than comparable Canadian fashion retailers.
But after years of e-commerce success, the company wanted to increase flexibility and uptime, while decreasing reliance on monolithic applications and providers, along with other back-end concerns like real-time inventory tracking.
“Our supply chain logistics order management systems became extremely important to us,” said Jackson, noting that many stores were becoming like “mini distribution centres.”
“The overall volume we were seeing over the past few years for omni-orders or for online orders was just increasing dramatically year-after-year, you know, double, triple-digit growth,” he added.
Getting trusted advice
The challenges Harry Rosen was facing were complicated enough before a global pandemic, many of which led back to their network. Greater online sales weren’t the only thing loading the network. There were also more client advisor virtual meetings and new mobile app users adding traffic. At first, the company tried to solve these issues, as Jackson put it, “by throwing more bandwidth at it.” But it soon became clear that that strategy wasn’t going to work.
“We needed to take a holistic approach to our customer journey, as well as all the various touch points as part of that journey,” said Jackson. “We are a TELUS partner. We really turned to them early in 2020 to say, “solve this problem for me. How can we do this?”
After consulting with TELUS customer solutions architects, the cornerstone of Harry Rosen’s solution was a migration over to an SD-WAN based network. Coupled with the elimination of on-premises servers in favour of cloud providers, Harry Rosen went from the old “hub and spoke” network model to one that was more responsive, flexible and resilient.
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The Result: A business led transformation
With Harry Rosen adopting SD-WAN, they’ve experienced greater network efficiency, utilizing existing lines that were previously only deployed as back ups to intelligently route traffic. It’s also increased resilience with automated self-healing technology implemented along the network; no more manual line switching back and forth if network lines experience trouble.
“We can’t afford to have our network down,” said Jackson. “You know, 98%, 99%, all that sort of nonsense you used to talk about years ago, we have to have 100% uptime. It’s mandatory for us. This technology really provides that.”
So what does all this really mean? It means customers in Vancouver using the Harry Rosen app no longer have to connect to servers in Toronto. It means higher quality online consultations with fewer disruptions or technical difficulties. It means the ability to upgrade the company’s inventory tracking with greater ease. It means lower costs compared to building out their old network.
In short, the new network means better customer satisfaction, which means better business outcomes. TELUS was able to help Harry Rosen grow e-commerce sales by 300%. Online sales through consultants went from 3% of their business in 2019, to 10% in 2020. Their goal for 2021? 15%.
In addition, Harry Rosen has focused on how the business processes could be improved. The network enabled a complete migration to the cloud; that means productivity and collaboration with Office 365, to HR solutions, to VOIP telecommunications. Upgrading the network was enabling the business demands.
Jackson notes that Harry Rosen’s digital transformation is not led by IT, it’s led by the business, with full buy-in from the executive team, “which was extremely important.” But he also credits the help provided by TELUS.
“There’s no way we could have gotten through this without TELUS’ assistance,” said Jackson.
“It didn’t change our digital journey. What it allowed us to do is execute on it.”
If you have a small to medium sized business and are looking to learn more about how digital solutions can power better business outcomes for your organization? Request a free TELUS digital consultation.
Don’t forget to watch the free virtual event, on-demand: Digital transformation story: How Harry Rosen tailored their network for business success