Husqvarna Group, the Swedish-based maker of outdoor lawn and garden equipment, is powering up an updated e-commerce network designed to better share business information with tens of thousands of trading partners around the world and facilitate order fulfillment with the company's factories.
"The idea is to bring together all aspects of the process," says Lars-Stefan Holmberg, Husqvarna's global test manager about the business-to-business supply-chain application built with assistance from IBM. Based on IBM WebSphere, it creates an automated workflow from the buyer's order online to its fulfillment in factories. But Holmberg notes that application performance monitoring becomes critical in all this because if the application fails, it could actually disrupt the factory manufacturing of Husqvarna's products, such as lawnmowers, chainsaws and utility vehicles.
Within the space of just an hour, a disruption in workflow around buyer orders could actually mean "factories would stop," he points out.
Among the tools Husqvarna is using to do this monitoring is the BlueStripe FactFinder, which works through a software agent placed on critical servers used in the e-commerce process in order monitor transaction flow and identity glitches in the software or on the network that must be corrected fast.
The new e-commerce application is first being put into production now in the U.S. and Poland, where the company has a factory, and will be rolled out next year across the rest of Husqvarna's global network and server-based links to trading partners.
The Husqvarna Group's global network is sizable, encompassing private lines supporting 10Mbps in the U.S., Shanghai, Germany and Sweden, among other places, to connect four main data centers and 200 other separate data-processing sites, such as warehouses. "If a primary line goes down, we'll always have a back-up," says Holmberg, who cites Verizon as a main carrier.
The WebSphere-based multi-lingual e-commerce system is replacing an older web-order application largely created in-house by Husqvarna. But the server infrastructure, databases and network that's already in place will be used by the new IBM-built e-commerce application. BlueStripe FactFinder, which the company has been using for about a year, can also monitor and identify performance issues associated with internal networks and databases. "It works across all the layers to see how long a transaction takes," Holmberg says. "We want to keep control over our internal network."
Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.