Case study: global online fashion retailer
See what the DevOpGuys have achieved with this global online fashion retailer with more than 2,000 staff. This popular online only retailer sells over 80,000 branded and own-brand products through localised mobile and web experiences which are delivered from its fulfilment centres in the UK, US and Europe to almost every country in the world.
At A Glance
DevOpsGuys’ client is a global online fashion retailer which in order to maintain its rapid business growth, needed to increase the speed and frequency of its software deployment. The business was burdened by a resource-intensive bespoke deployment solution which required replacing with DevOps processes, practices and automation tooling in order to meet the company’s deployment targets.
DevOpsGuys appraised and transformed the client’s processes and also provided extensive coaching and training sessions regarding this new approach. New automation tooling was implemented to give the client a streamlined, standardised pipeline process which was backed up by the skills and knowledge to make the most of it. Creating huge resource efficiencies and increasing scalability, the result was consistency and quality with new processes and automation tools.
The capability and culture within the organisation has been transformed, significantly freeing up staff time away from monotonous manual tasks, allowing them to concentrate on innovative development to improve the company’s competitiveness. The new processes and tools also allow the client to rapidly scale up the number of releases as the size of its operations increases.
The client is a rapidly expanding company and has grown the number of development teams it has from two to around 35. These teams are responsible for a wide range of aspects of the online business, from the website itself to payment solutions, ordering and back office development. Some time ago, the client had developed a bespoke deployment solution managed by a centralised deployment and release function.
However, the solution could not scale beyond around 300 releases a year and significant bottlenecks were being created in the pipeline. It was cumbersome, extremely manual and required a lot of resource to maintain. This affected the speed of deployment, meaning it was harder to release new features and updates quickly – a significant problem in the fast-moving online retail environment. An inconsistent deployment story also slowed the process and increased the risk involved with releases.
“The challenge was to devolve the responsibility for deployment out to the individual teams” recalls the Programme
Manager for Continuous Improvement. “We spent a lot of time developing and maintaining our own solution which wasn’t fully embraced by our development teams, so it was really time to use industry standard tooling to achieve our goals.”
DevOpsGuys worked with the client to introduce an industry standard set of tooling, including TeamCity, Octopus Deploy and Redgate software. DevOpsGuys holds top tier accreditations with all three of these vendors and was therefore well placed to deliver this solution. The result is a streamlined, standardised automated pipeline process that allows workflow and governance models to be built in, which wasn’t possible before. Each development team was migrated individually. Staff from DevOpsGuys were embedded within each of them.
“DevOpsGuys helped us understand the kind of people we need to recruit, and showed us what ‘good’ looks like.
They challenged a lot of our thinking and made us reconsider what we accepted as normal, the development teams to support the move to the new tools and to transform the team’s processes. The platform engineers within each team were also given the knowledge, tools and skills to take over the coaching of each of the teams moving forward, without having to rely on DevOpsGuys. Training on the Continuous Delivery pipeline has also given the client’s staff essential insight into
how the tools work and how they link together. Finally, DevOpsGuys worked with Redgate to address the company’s database deployment challenges.
“To me, the most important aspect of the project was improving our DevOps capability and culture in the organisation,” says the Programme Manager. “DevOpsGuys helped us understand the kind of people we need to recruit, and showed us what ‘good’ looks like. They challenged a lot of our thinking and made us reconsider what we accepted as normal – for example, what good testing looks like.
“They also helped me with one of my key challenges which is helping our tech service colleagues understand
and embrace the new approach, so they themselves can change the way they work.”
Large amounts of human resource have now been freed up, as the deployment tools do not need the huge
amount of maintenance that the old bespoke solution required. Greater automation and standardisation
have also saved staff time and allow the client to scale up the number of releases as the business grows.
“The teams are producing higher quality code and getting it into production more regularly, so they can now
focus on the harder aspects of software development that they couldn’t give so much attention to before.
This directly contributes to the company’s competitiveness, by allowing more time for innovation and letting
the business respond more quickly to changes in the marketplace.
“The release process is now consistent from development to live. We have a much higher rate of success and better visibility, so we can see who made changes and when, and where problems are occurring. We couldn’t do this before, and management now have far more confidence that everything is being done in the correct way.”
“We’ve had a huge mind shift, and we now have the foundations of a true DevOps culture to build on. They also helped me with one of my key challenges which is helping our tech service colleagues understand and embrace the new approach, so they themselves can change the way they work.”
The End Point
The client now has consistent, standardised processes and tooling to increase the rate of deployment and free up its employees to focus on higher-value tasks.
It has also transformed the way that it thinks about DevOps. “Working with DevOpsGuys has given me
a different perspective on how DevOps should be done in our organisation,” concludes the Programme
Manager. “We’ve had a huge mind shift, and we now have the foundations of a true DevOps culture to build
Can DevOpsGuys Help my Business?
In order to specify a tailored solution for our clients, DevOpsGuys draw from three complementary
product areas: Education, Acceleration and Transformation. (E.A.T)
• Education – We provide a range of public and client-specific workshops focussing on DevOps and Agile
best practices. We also offer specific technical training courses on individual automation tools.
• Acceleration – DevOpsGuys has significant experience in helping organisations to implement automation
tools to accelerate software delivery. We are specialists in the creation of Continuous Integration and
Continuous Delivery pipelines in both Microsoft and open source environments.
• Transformation – We work in partnership with our clients to define, build and ratify their DevOps
transformation strategy and ensure it is aligned to the business objectives and priorities. Our Transformation
services remove departmental bottlenecks and improve cross-team collaboration and transparency to
allow increased innovation.
Contact us on 0800 368 7378 or at email@example.com to discuss how we could transform your
software development and delivery processes to make your business more competitive. To read more on DevOps, Digital Transformation, and how we partner with our clients to aid thier DevOps journey, visit our website www.devopsguys.com and our blog www.devopsguys.com/blog
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