Global Furniture Retailer

Challenge

A leading global furniture retailer needed to shift from in-person commerce to supporting growing online sales as consumers’ purchasing habits changed

Results

The company’s sales order management system was migrated to Skytap in less than 5 weeks and subsequent environments provisioned in less than 20 minutes versus 4 to 12 weeks.

One of the largest global furniture retailers, well known for its customer-centric culture, has long focused its operations around mindfully sourcing and manufacturing its products to provide a unique shopping experience that delivers quality items at affordable prices.
skytap cloud

Knowledge Gaps in Traditional Commerce Applications

Business critical applications built and maintained by partners, outsourced development teams, and IT suffered from knowledge gaps, adding to the challenges of modernizing to support the multi-channel sales approach.

Long Test Cycles

Standing up a fully integrated environment and smoke testing was a slow and tedious process, with test periods ranging from six to nine months and significantly hindering innovation, remediation of issues, and delivery of new functionality.

Need for Agile Development

The new business strategy provided challenges for IT. Technical and process debt meant a new approach would be needed to increase release cadence, introduction of cloud native services, and containerization of applications.

With the onset of the millennial generation, the customer base that was once willing to spend the time picking up and building furniture in exchange for lower prices now don’t even want to leave their homes. Life today is busier and more fast-paced than ever, and the modern consumer wants a convenient, on-demand shopping experience, to receive quality goods for a fair price, and fast delivery. As the retail landscape has modernized, the company realized the need to shift away from its traditional brick-and-mortar ideology in order to remain competitive in an online world.

The market landscape was changing quickly with the arrival of new online purchasing and delivery driven by Amazon’s business model. This new model disrupted the classic approach to selling furniture through predominately brick and mortar stores, challenging the global furniture retailer to come up with a more modern approach. A new multichannel strategy would require modernization of existing commerce applications. Built on Linux, AIX on IBM Power, and Windows Server, the Oracle DB, WebSphere, Sterling Commerce and Greenfield applications had been built upon over more than 15 years, and incorporated sales, inventory, storefront, product, and pricing applications critical to business operations.

In response to the changing consumer landscape, the retailer initially experimented with innovations ranging from pop-up stores to the purchase of a task service provider to help customers with logistics and assembly. Yet this only grazed the surface of their modernization challenges and required a greater solution to transform its data, applications, and infrastructure.

 

Skytap’s intuitive user interface, fast cloning, and supported partner solutions enabled application development teams to evaluate and adopt new agile and DevOps tools and processes. This included Jenkins and Ansible, with Docker containers and saved example templates paving the way for future application teams to leverage a Skytap-based Infrastructure, with a process and architecture modernization approach.

The significant time savings realized by implementing Skytap also enables faster speed of delivery and time to market in global expansion efforts, which ultimately drives revenue growth.
Overall, Skytap provided a path to the cloud for traditional applications, while enabling IT to meet the demands of the new business strategy and an intuitive platform for application teams to adopt agile processes and modernize to cloud native tools and services.

Skytap has not just helped resolve a technical, time-consuming problem, but working with IT and application teams has provided a solution to accelerate the modernization of other traditional applications, innovate with new cloud technology and containers, scale into new regions, and remain competitive in an ever-evolving digital world. Phase 1 saw 10 applications migrated to Skytap, coupled with a reference architecture that lays the foundation for modernizing the rest of the application portfolio. Phase 2 will see the next 10, largely AIX applications, migrated to the Skytap, coupled with expanding Docker container adoption.

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