About the Client
This fast-growing global online fashion retailer has more than 2,000 employees worldwide, with fulfilment handled by centres in the UK, US and Europe.
When convoluted systems were threatening to hinder growth, we came on board to help accelerate innovation. We improved the company’s ability to safely deliver software change via process automation and DevOps training.
Challenge: Online Fashion Retailer Outgrows its Systems
Business was booming for this global online fashion retailer. But behind the scenes, IT systems were struggling to keep pace.
The number of development teams had escalated from two to 35 within a short timeframe. They worked across the retail website as well payment solutions, ordering and back office development systems. Software delivery was channelled through a bespoke deployment solution, with a centralised deploy and release function.
However, the business had outgrown this manual solution. It could not scale beyond 300 releases per year, resulting in substantial pipeline bottlenecks. Maintenance was resource-intensive and inconsistencies slowed down software delivery as well as increasing risk.
It was becoming increasingly difficult to grow at scale in this highly competitive industry. There was an urgent need to modernise systems, increasing the speed and frequency with which software updates and new features could be released.
Solution: Streamlining Software Delivery
We were enlisted to replace the complex, manual approach to software delivery with new tooling and modern ways of working.
After an initial appraisal of internal processes, an automated pipeline was developed to enhance speed, efficiency and reliability. This went hand-in-hand with bespoke Agile and DevOps training for the 35 teams.
At the heart of the solution is industry-standard tooling from TeamCity, Octopus Deploy and Redgate Software, used synergistically to meet evolving business needs. As well as automating core processes, our engineers built workflow and governance models to further improve efficiency. Database deployment issues were also addressed.
Each of the development teams was migrated individually to a new Continuous Delivery pipeline. Our dedicated engineering support facilitated the transition and enabled seamless transformation of processes. Training was provided to give the teams deeper insight into the tools and how they work together. Ultimately, platform engineers within each team were empowered with the knowledge, tools and skills to handle coaching, without any need for external intervention.
“To me, the most important aspect of the project was improving our DevOps capability and culture in the organisation. [This collaboration] 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.”Programme Manager
Outcome: More Time for High-value Work
Continuous Delivery has improved efficiency and reduced the maintenance burden that previously threatened business growth.
Embracing automation and standardisation, along with a DevOps mindset, enables teams to produce higher quality code and get it into production more quickly. It also ensures toil can be identified and engineered away. This releases time to focus on complex aspects of software development that may previously have been deprioritised.
Together, these factors are driving competitive advantage. There’s more space for innovation and the business can respond more quickly and effectively 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.”Project Manager
This case study is based on work completed by DevOpsGroup before the team joined forces with Sourced Group, an Amdocs company.