Surfing products and clothing retailer City Beach has moved to an enterprise-class e-commerce platform thanks to upgrades to its e-commerce cloud computing platform.\nThe national retailer has entered into a three-year, multi-million dollar deal that will see mid-market service provider Brennan provide support for City Beach\u2019s expanding online presence and take responsibility for the company's networking, maintenance and support services.\nCity Beach CIO Paul Downs told CIO he sought out cloud-based solutions for storage because of a lack of capability within the organisation.\n\u201cWe just don\u2019t have the resources from a people point of view or a capability point of view. As for a data centre, I only have the use of a couple of cupboards," Downs said.\n\u201cThe IT team I inherited evolved with the business and hasn\u2019t been exposed to new technologies, practices and service delivery on any level. I didn\u2019t want to be running IBM enterprise class software on a Mickey Mouse server in a cupboard.\u201d\nDowns is confident cloud computing is the best solution for City Beach and credits Brennan\u2019s infrastructure and IBMs WebSphere Commerce (run by Salmon) with being significant factors in the company being able to build an e-commerce system in 100 days.\n\u201cBy having the technology in place quickly, it was just the hard grunt of developing the processes and content to go on the site [that was left to do],\u201d Downs said.\nCity Beach was able to build an e-commerce business in 100 days and has been nominated for an Online Retail Industry Award in the category of the most innovative use of technology.\n\u201cThis is the first deployment in Australia of WebSphere Commerce on VMware,\u201d Downs said.\nDowns' advice for CIOs who may be in the same predicament as City Beach when it comes to wanting to expand into e-commerce without having the right level of in-house expertise.\n\u201cLook at cloud computing seriously as a viable alternative. The trick is to be able to manage your supplier \u2013 it doesn\u2019t absolve you of responsibility. If you don\u2019t know how to manage a data centre or a standard backup environment then these guys will run rings around you and won\u2019t deliver,\u201d he said.\nBrennan\u2019s general manager of sales and marketing, Stephen Sims, said the deal will provide City Beach with ease of use and simplicity.\n\u201cOur clients generally don\u2019t have large IT departments and so they would prefer to deal with one person who controls their IT," Sims said. \u201cThey don\u2019t have to worry about the IT skills in house to manage the project.\u201d\nSims said Brennan provides City Beach with the solution on a \u201cper server, per month basis\u201d and was adamant that cloud storage solutions are popular with most of his clients.\n\u201cWe\u2019ve been providing the infrastructure-as-a-service product for nearly two years, so we didn\u2019t call it cloud computing at the beginning. But we realised it was the right model for our clients. It\u2019s providing them with the service they want but it\u2019s giving them flexibility,\u201d he said.