Grocery broker looks to cloud for IT infrastructure

One application now shared across six sites

Grocery industry merchandising broker Master Brokers has re-hosted its core business application on a cloud computing platform to enable better scalability amid inter-state expansion.

Master Brokers previously operated from a single office in Brisbane using a database application to produce reports and weekly worksheets for its sales staff, but the business now has six offices and 154 sales representatives across the country.

Master Brokers director John Cutuli said the application had served the company well in a single site situation, but staff wanted to share the same applications across all sites and not have different versions of data at each location.

“Previously when we had to compile a national report, Victoria, for example, had to produce its reports in Excel and e-mail them up to me, and I then had to take that file and merge it with my Excel reports. It was cumbersome and very time consuming,” Cutuli said.

Local cloud computing supplier LC9 proposed to host Master Brokers' existing application on a hosted Citrix service built on 3tera's AppLogic platform, negating the need for a new database.

LC9 ran a trial and I thought it was perfect,” Cutuli said. “We just enter a username and password into a Web page, and we’re up and running. Our one application is now shared across the six sites.”

Master Brokers negotiates on behalf of smaller manufacturers that do not have the scale for their own sales team to get their products on to supermarket shelves.

According to Cutuli, LC9’s offering was the only service of its type in Australia he could source.

“I rang a number of IT companies and did a lot of Web browsing, and there was really nothing else out there that could take a product like our database application and make it user-friendly across multiple sites,” he said.

Now when information in the Brisbane office is updated it is automatically replicated across the whole country and there are no longer multiple versions of documents.

Master Brokers will now consider hosting e-mail, collaboration and Web services on the LC9 cloud computing service.

Local technology company firstservis is the sole distributor of 3tera’s solutions in Australia and New Zealand and worked with LC9 in the development of its managed service.

Derek Merdith, managing director of firstservis said having these services based locally brings “great value to the Australian marketplace [and] improves performance of the cloud as there is no latency”.

“And businesses do not have to worry about time zones and response times when seeking support,” Merdith said.

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