A PERPETUAL EDGE ON GROWTH

How CSI is enabling a major retailer to speed up the delivery of new offerings to their target market in order to sustain growth.

Our Client: is evolving its online retail website to take advantage of containerisation to drastically reduce the time taken to release new functionality. The new transactional shopping system will also reduce operational overheads.

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Context

As an omni-channel retailer, our client must exploit new technology to enhance offerings in-store as well as online.

In today’s fast-moving e-commerce environment, the company has seen dramatic growth online, raising revenues by 35% over the past five years. The companies ambition is to increase online revenue by 50% year-on-year for the next three years.

Goal

To reduce the time to deploy new functionality from the current three to four day process – and increase the deployment cycle from monthly to weekly. Ultimately the company wants to be able to introduce new features daily.

Challenge

The current e-commerce platform is based on HCL Commerce (formerly IBM WebSphere). The version deployed is essentially a very large monolithic Java application.

Our client wants to introduce new features and functions at pace, but this is hampered by the unwieldy nature of the application and the need to thoroughly test new releases before launching into production. The current deployment schedule is resource-intensive and takes days to complete, resulting in a monthly release cycle at best.

The company needed a solution to achieve two objectives: increase the frequency of deployment while reducing the cost of each deployment.

WITH HIGH PROCESSING DEMANDS FROM CUSTOMER INTERACTIONS, CONTAINERS OFFER A WIDE RANGE OF ADVANTAGES, FROM BETTER HANDLING OF ORDER PEAKS THROUGH TO IMMENSE REDUCTIONS IN COSTS DUE TO THE REDUCED DEMANDS ON THE COMPANY’S INFRASTRUCTURE.

Solution

By moving to a containerised version of the application, our client can exploit the advantages of this recent technology.

By breaking the application into smaller units, different areas of functionality are isolated from each other. Each area can be changed, tested, and deployed independently. This simplifies the deployment process and reducing the time to implement new features.

Compared to virtual machines (VMs), containers make more efficient use of infrastructure. At any time, resources are only required for the number of containers necessary to run the current workload.

New versions of software can be rolled out seamlessly and with no down-time thanks to the container orchestration engine that manages the process.

Outcomes

The success of this containerisation initiative can be measured across several factors:

  • Deployment processes have been decreased by 60%.
  • Deployment frequency has been increased by a factor of four – effectively moving from a monthly implementation cycle to weekly releases.
  • Peak server load is 15% lower than previously due to more efficient use of resources.

In the digital economy, services need to be available 24/7 and new updates must be introduced regularly. Our client required tools that guarantee speed, stability and scalability and cloud-native technologies such as containers offer maximum flexibility and adaptability.

15%

Channel shift is significant in this market. 15% of 2019’s sales made online (double the level in 2015)

10,000

The company offers an extended range of over 10,000 products on its online shopping website

£3BN

In 2019, this retail sector was worth over £3 billion – an increase of almost 20% over the last five years