Global Furniture Retailer
Skytap Cloud enables agile and slashes test cycle time, accelerating time to market for multi-channel sales solution.
- Shift in retail from brick and mortar to online shopping
- New multi-channel business strategy challenged internal IT
- Traditional development practices slowed application modernization
- 4-12 week turn-around time to provision a development environment
- Test cycle for full integrated environment takes 6-9 months
- Migration of applications without change to Skytap Cloud
- Fast provisioning of complex application environments
- Self-service environments reduce time to release
- Full environment cloning to enable parallel testing
- Provision and test of full application reduced by 99% to 1 hour
- Application provisioning decreased by 99% to 20 minutes
- Platform to enable adoption of agile & cloud native services
- Greater agility enabling innovation and scaling to new regions
- Foundation for modernizing other business applications
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.
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, they realized the need to shift away from its traditional brick-and-mortar ideology in order to remain competitive in an online world.
The 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.
The market landscape was changing quickly with the arrival of new online purchasing and delivery driven by Amazon’s business model. This new model disrupts 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 2008, 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.
MODERNIZE 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 6-9 months and significantly hindering innovation, remediation of issues, and delivery of new functionality.
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.
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 Cloud is the only public cloud specifically designed to support the complex infrastructure requirements of traditional applications, enabling Linux, AIX on IBM Power, and Windows Server 2008 applications to be migrated without change. With a focus on delivery of the multichannel solution, Skytap’s ability to quickly provision complex environments stunned the IT team, delivering on what was thought to be unachievable.
Once running in Skytap Cloud, self-service environments from Skytap’s template library, fast copy and cloning, and network isolation provided a foundation for adopting agile and modernizing development and test processes. For QA, Skytap facilitated fast provisioning of environments and running multiple instances in parallel, where network isolation enabled exact replicas — down to IP and hostnames — running side by side. This resulted in greater test coverage and delivery in hours instead of months. 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 includes Jenkins and Ansible, with Docker containers and saved example templates paving the way for future application teams to leverage a Skytap Cloud based Infrastructure, with a Process and Architecture modernization approach.
Overall, Skytap Cloud 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 process and modernize to cloud native tools and services.
Migrating existing applications unchanged made the move to Skytap Cloud simple, with fast provisioning of these complex environments to put IT on the right path from the start of the modernization journey to the cloud.
Fast provisioning also played a hand in reducing full test cycles from nine months to just one hour, dramatically changing the release cadence for software updates and bug fixes, and keeping delivery of the new multichannel solution on schedule.
Self-service environments available through Skytap’s template library allowed both IT & application teams to dramatically increase productivity, agility, and innovation; IT no longer had to react to environment requests, but could instead proactively manage templates, while application teams could manage their own resources to provision and clone environments as required. 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.
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 in to new regions, and remain competitive in an ever-evolving digital world. Phase 1 saw 10 applications migrated to Skytap Cloud, 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 Cloud, coupled with expanding Docker container adoption.