The Carphone Warehouse is deploying IT process automation and management software to improve its support for critical business applications, following a successful pilot.

It is using Run Book Automation from Enigmatec after seeing “significant improvements” in its IT processes, includng provisioning servers “in minutes rather than weeks.”

The system is designed to automatically flex IT resources to meet application and user demands in real time, as well as improving business continuity service levels. Return on investment is anticipated in under 12 months.

The mobile phone retailer has 2,100 stores in 11 countries, and has implemented various Enigmatec module,s including Execution Management (EMS) and EMS High Availability for modelling high-availability configurations, fine-tuning automated processes and managing failover to the disaster recovery site. It is also using Enigmatec Virtual Orchestrator (EVO) for provisioning virtual machines requested through a self-service portal.

Simon Post, CTO of The Carphone Warehouse, said the deployment was “the most exciting software that I have seen in many years. It’s like ERP for IT, which will improve the utilisation and efficiency of IT equipment and operations staff throughout the IT lifecycle and make sure that IT is better aligned to the business.”

Post said The Carphone Warehouse’s IT function had to ensure that IT resources, technology and operations could respond rapidly to changing market conditions, and in particular cut the time to provision or re-purpose servers.

Since 2006 The Carphone Warehouse has invested aggressively in new datacentres for production and non-production systems and adopted virtualisation, standardising on VMWare for its Windows and Linux servers and IBM System p APV (advanced power virtualisation) systems for the IBM AIX environment. It has also embraced ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) and is moving towards accreditation.

Enigmatec’s software provides a layer of process automation to manage IT complexity like this, cutting opportunities for human error and meeting ITIL standards for change, asset and service level management.

The system also presents service level agreement information, such as about the time taken to provision a server, to both IT operations and business users via a dashboard.

The Carphone Warehouse also expects to reduce disaster recovery costs by using the system’s ability to virtualise business continuity. Under user approval, it can fail-over the production systems environment to the non-production development and test environment to enable the latter to double-up as the disaster recovery back-up – all in a matter of seconds.