DevOps for Operation and Supply Chain Resiliency – Customer Success Story

fanatics, DevOps, supply chain, ITOrizon
DevOps Fanatics

About the Customer

Customer is a major online retailer of sportswear, sports equipment, merchandise and memorabilia. In 2016, Customer undertook a significant initiative to modernize its supply chain technology by moving all business-critical applications to the cloud, all while undergoing extreme growth to the point of doubling its revenue by 2020.

Because Customer utilizes a vast interconnected array of highly complex supply chain systems, successful completion would prove to be a monumental task, and would require guidance from an exceptionally knowledgeable team. ITOrizon accepted this challenge and deployed a team which boasted unmatched experience, expertise, and ingenuity.  

With ITOrizon helping to drive towards a complete and successful supply chain overhaul, Customer has already reaped rewards from the DevOps procedures designed and implemented by ITOrizon. Customer will soon enjoy a best of breed supply chain solution featuring robust architecture, optimal process flows, seamless data transfer between systems, and minimal downtime thanks to a custom-built support application, all with continued support from the ITOrizon DevOps resources.  

Technologies in Scope

DevOps Fanatics

Problem Statement

Before ITOrizon’s involvement, Customer engaged with its supply chain by navigating across a vast multitude of interconnected systems which included legacy, ERP, manufacturing, site aggregation, order management, warehouse management, transportation management, product and content, promotion management, inventory management and more.

This amalgamation of supply chain solutions was an attempt to satisfy customer demand, which grew rapidly enough to double Customer’ revenues in just a few years.  

Unfortunately, this unforeseen increase in demand added extreme levels of stress to an already overly complex system, which, as you may expect resulted in a supply chain frequently overrun with issues and breakdowns.  

To help monitor so many systems, especially during their peak months, the company invested significantly in deploying various monitoring and DevOps tools, such as Slack, New Relic, BigPanda, Graylog, Splunk, Service Now, Pagerduty, Ansible, Git, JIRA, Confluence, PowerShell, and many more in an attempt to ensure that their distribution centers and order processing systems remained stable. 

Over time this strategy proved to be unsustainable. Resources were spread too thin to resolve an ever-increasing backlog of issues and simultaneously attempt to maintain system health through the installation of code changes and bug fixes (which incidentally required a painstaking amount of testing before release and upload). With their focus on system upkeep, supply chain strategists had less time to plan for continued growth and success.  

Customer needed help, and fortunately ITOrizon was there to answer the call.  

Challenges

  • Act as independent counsel and advise Customer towards a sustainable solution, all while remaining completely neutral and agnostic towards any particular vendor
  • Plan and execute a migration strategy for system conversion
  • Leverage automation technologies to maintain continuous deployment, continuous integration, and system containerization
  • Provide incident control through automated monitoring and triage, accompanied by prompt and effective response from a knowledgeable support team available 24/7
  • Identify and map all supply chain technology systems
  • Study and compare this supply chain system to those run by industry leaders; note bottlenecks and recommend opportunities for improvement

ITOrizon's Competitive Advantage

Supply Chain Expertise

Though initially contracted to provide support, ITOrizon was asked to play a much more significant role after demonstrating a deep understanding of supply chain technology and knowledge of industry leading best practices 

Customer needed system-wide accountability of their supply chain technologies and processes, which up to that point had become a convoluted network of interconnected systems.  

Because of their supply chain technology background, ITOrizon was able to connect the dots very quickly and set DevOps procedures into motion almost immediately.  

ITOrizon granted visibility across the entire system by creating dashboards which could be utilized by production support teams and business users alike.  

Issue Management

fanatics, DevOps, supply chain, ITOrizon

To help monitor so many systems, Customer invested significantly in the deployment of various monitoring and DevOps tools such as Slack, New Relic, Splunk, BigPanda, Graylog, Ansible, Service Now, Pagerduty, Git, JIRA, Confluence, PowerShell, and many more, to ensure that their fulfillment sites and systems would remain operational, especially during their peak sales months. Unfortunately, this influx of integrated DevOps tools only added even more complexity to an already convoluted system.  

ITOrizon simplified issue management and resolution by implementing a series of  standardized, repeatable practices, and also introduced powerful automation technology which could monitor the system, push notifications to support teams, point users to newly developed SOP’s, and provide alerts for potential issues before they occur.  

Additional Value Added

Over time, staying up to date with proper system maintenance became too difficult to effectively manage.  

Customer needed an automated method to keep the system updated; thereby freeing up resources to resolve other business-critical issues.   

ITOrizon responded by creating a prototypical application which automatically performed regression testing on updates. This new tool dramatically decreased time spent performing regression testing from up to two weeks to 1 or 2 days 

No longer would Customer need their resources to devote so much time performing regression testing on an endless stream of system updates, patches, and bug fixes

fanatics, DevOps, supply chain, ITOrizon

ITOrizon Solutions and Results

Customer initially reached out to ITOrizon to specifically assist with DevOps support.

ITOrizon responded by immediately dedicating some of their most experienced resources to address the support issues head on. Impressed with the amount of supply chain expertise the team from ITOrizon exhibited, Customer challenged ITOrizon further.

ITOrizon designed and initiated a plan to ramp up support from 8/7 to 24/7. With support services now available around the clock, ITOrizon began automating key functions for failover, which included the automation of patching applications and database level tuning (which uses bots to provide information critical to maintain system integrity). This simplified all processes, and enabled self-healing functionality, which ultimately reduced manual intervention and application downtime.

To this point, ITOrizon has helped the company realize a 10% savings in time and effort across multiple areas of support. ITOrizon continues to further assist Customer by designing, building, implementing, and supporting efforts which involve and ultimately improve every aspect of this very complex system.

Key Takeaways

  • Expanding support coverage by extending hours translated to continuously available support
  • Use of our Whatis Bot was key to identifying application priority and primary stakeholder details
  • The ITOrizon team created new, accurate SOP’s and established key points of contact for each technology integrated into the Customer’s system enterprise
  • Improved system reliability allowed the ITOrizon team to easily scale up for increased demand during peak seasons

Grow with ITOrizon

ITOrizon

Are you ready to achieve Supply Chain Resiliency ?

Team up with ITOrizon for your supply chain initiatives.

ITOrizon is a Global Services Company that combines industry experience with technical innovation to enable our clients to achieve their Omni Channel, Digital Business, and IT Objectives. We have an exceptional understanding of both supply chain and technology challenges, and we carry great pride in resolving those problems in the right place with the right tools. 

Click here to view a related article about ITOrizon’s Supply Chain Programs’ Success Story.  

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