J. Peterman's Technology Is No Seinfeld Joke

Catalog and Web clothing retailer J. Peterman -- yes, that J. Peterman of Seinfeld fame -- takes a surprisingly innovative approach to rejuvenating its reborn business with virtualization, backup appliances, and even WiMax Internet connections.
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"Now We Get To The Fun Part"
All of this work has finally put J Peterman on "solid footing," Rogish claims, allowing him to "stop worrying about servers blowing," and having management "stop worrying that a power outage will put us out of business."

But that foundation is only the beginning. It feels good to know it's there, Rogish admits, but it doesn't drive the business forward. It's just the basic blocking and tackling that everyone needs to have. "We're not a big data company," Rogish says. "We're a product company." But "We needed solid footing before we can push more orders through" without repeated the dropped-order problems.

"Now we get to the fun part!"

"Initially, I was brought on to basically form our growing interactivity strategy," Rogish recalls. The goal was to figure out how to push more people to the Web site, he says, because it's so much cheaper than the catalog. "We love catalogs," Rogish cautions, and J. Peterman will never stop producing them. But the Web is much more cost efficient. And now he can finally start making a difference in those areas.

J. Peterman is looking at a new backend accounting software solution. Currently, it's still using Peachtree, which involves lots of manual labor. There's no inventory forecasting, and generating statements takes two to three weeks! The goal is to integrate inventory management with the e-commerce system, Rogish says.

The company also needs a business reports tool to replace its homegrown Microsoft Access database. Next year, J Peterman hopes to add better operational and strategic reporting capabilities.

despite the economy, it continues to grow. "The market is still bigger than what we have," Rogish says. Although the company experienced "some pre-emptive cuts" last year, it remains "cautiously optimistic." We're going to meet our expectations that we set last year.

Today, the company employs some 30 - 40 full-time workers -- plus seasonal staffers -- and runs its own call center. Another of Rogish's initiatives is to support teleworking for call-center workers as the Winter season approaches. "Then we'll be ready to rock and roll."

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