Improving SAP Hybris Commerce Performance and Increasing Revenue with the Help of Piksel Retail on AWS – The White Company
“I find myself recommending AWS to my colleagues in retail often… I feel it’s important to explain to them that there are companies out there—like AWS and Piksel—who are experts at making technology work for them.”
Phil Burnett, Director of Information Technology at The White Company
A Homeware and Lifestyle Company Seeks to Scale Worldwide
The White Company values timeless style and attention to detail. “The White Company is a quintessentially British brand,” says Phil Burnett, the director of information technology at The White Company. “We are a lifestyle brand whose ethos has stayed the same since its founding. We want to bring individuals joy through high-quality, yet affordable items—primarily styled in white.”
The White Company has developed a reputation and loyal customer base across the U.K. and around the world. With revenues of over 230 million pounds a year and plans to continue growing at a massive scale, The White Company’s success as a retail business is dependent on its customer service, in-store experiences, and the stability, availability, and security of its website.
“Our goal from an IT perspective is to put in place the best systems we can afford and set ourselves up for success,” says Burnett. “We had faced challenges in the past with our e-commerce site, particularly around peak shopping times such as Cyber Weekend, the weekend after Thanksgiving associated with major retail sales events. As we evaluated our challenges and developed a clear five-year IT strategy, we knew we needed a system and hosting environment that could accommodate certain spikes. Simply put, we didn’t want systems ever to be a business blocker.”
The company hosted an SAP Hybris system with an on-premises provider and expensive hardware.
“We faced a significant number of challenges when we ran our SAP Hybris system on-premises,” says Burnett. “When we found that when we had a problem, it was hard for us to get the issue fixed quickly.” After experiencing issues during crucial shopping periods that impacted website traffic, customer experiences, and business revenues, The White Company began to consider new solutions for hosting its business-critical SAP Hybris Commerce system. “We needed scalability, speed, and reliability,” says Burnett. “That’s where the trusted advisors at Piksel Retail came in to help.”
Migrating SAP Hybris to DC2, Piksel Retail’s Managed Hybris Solution
With a team of experts focused on helping retailers take advantage of SAP technology and the cloud, Piksel Retail (a division of the Piksel Group, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner) knows how to enable companies like The White Company to transform. “Our goal is to build personal relationships with each retail company we engage through meticulous professional services, 24/7 cloud managed services, and ongoing optimization,” says Jonathan Kirby, general manager at Piksel Retail.
Having engaged with The White Company for over four years, Piksel intimately understood the company’s challenges in its IT environment and developed short- and long-term strategies for helping The White Company drive new business value and success by migrating SAP Hybris to Amazon Web Services (AWS).
“The White Company’s SAP Hybris environment, specifically its e-commerce platform, was struggling to scale on premises,” says Kirby. “We’ve worked with AWS since 2009 and have a lot of experience migrating SAP solutions to AWS. Given our team’s knowledge of and technical strengths working with AWS, along with the robust support AWS provides, we felt AWS would be the best fit for The White Company.” Piksel discussed migrating The White Company’s SAP Hybris digital commerce website to its Digital Commerce Channel (DC2), a stable, scalable, high-performing AWS-based solution hosted and managed by Piksel.
The White Company chose to host its website on DC2 for its benefits to site performance, uptime, and resilience and to take advantage of the ongoing managed services offered by Piksel Retail. After completing a proof of concept (PoC) to prove the viability and stability of the solution, the broader migration of The White Company’s SAP Hybris system began.
Taking Advantage of Piksel Retail’s Agility
“The cutover to DC2 on AWS went pretty perfectly,” says Burnett. “Knowing the complexity of the SAP Hybris solution, I was incredibly surprised by the painless nature of the migration and cutover experience.” The company now uses Piksel Retail’s DC2 platform on AWS to run its SAP Hybris e-commerce solution.
Piksel Retail’s DC2 platform uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for compute, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for storage, the Amazon Aurora MySQL-compatible database, Amazon CloudFront for a content delivery network (CDN), and Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) and AWS Lambda for Amazon CloudWatch monitoring alert triggers. Piksel Retail manages The White Company’s DC2 deployment 24/7 and is actively exploring areas in which it can optimize and upgrade the company’s environment. Automation plays a crucial role in helping Piksel bring new innovation and benefits to The White Company.
Improving Performance and Increasing Traffic
By migrating SAP Hybris Commerce to Piksel Retail’s DC2 platform on AWS, The White Company experienced massive improvements during the past two Cyber Weekends. Burnett attributes some of these improvements to the migration of SAP Hybris Commerce to DC2 on AWS. “This year, during Cyber Weekend, we saw a 65 percent reduction in average customer response times and a 44 percent uplift in traffic as compared to when we hosted on-premises due to improved performance and availability,” says Burnett. In addition, the company can now accept four times the volume of traffic (concurrent customers) to its site without performance degradation.
Burnett has been consistently impressed by Piksel’s technical acumen and customer-first mentality. “It’s essential that I work with people I trust. Across the board, Piksel Retail is one our most important and trusted partners,” says Burnett. “We have developed an important relationship with the Piksel Retail team that’s enabled us to let them continue supporting us by doing what they do best. I feel supported from a day-to-day perspective and I also feel confident looking forward to the future with Piksel as a partner.”
“I find myself recommending AWS to my colleagues in retail often,” says Burnett. “I recognize the ashen faces of peers after they’ve experienced downtime at peak trading periods, and I feel it’s important to explain to them that there are companies out there—like AWS and Piksel—who are experts at making technology work for them.”
Piksel Retail is now working with The White Company to help it take advantage of AWS in new ways to bring more benefits to end users. For example, the company is currently exploring how it can use a custom chatbot developed by Piksel on AWS to speed up its “Where Is My Order?” inquiry feature for customers.
“For us, it’s all about ongoing efficiencies and seeing what AWS can do for us,” says Burnett. “We believe our relationship with Piksel Retail and AWS will continue to grow from strength to strength.”
About The White Company
The White Company makes stylish, beautifully designed products, principally in white. The company combines high quality with affordable prices.
What started as a 12-page mail-order brochure has grown into a multi-channel, international business. Today, The White Company is a leading U.K. retailer in bed linen, home accessories, furniture, fragrance, skincare, clothing, and more.
The White Company faced significant challenges with their on-premises SAP Hybris system. After experiencing issues during crucial shopping periods that impacted website traffic, customer experiences, and business revenues, The White Company began to consider new solutions for hosting its business-critical SAP Hybris Commerce system.
Piksel Retail migrated The White Company's SAP Hybris Commerce to Piksel Retail’s DC2 platform on AWS.
The White Company saw a 65 percent reduction in average customer response times and a 44 percent uplift in traffic. In addition, the company can now accept four times the volume of traffic (concurrent customers) to its site without performance degradation.
About Piksel Retail
Piksel Retail is part of the Piksel Group, which has been helping some of the world’s largest brands optimize the value of technology for over 20 years. The company works with industry-leading partners including SAP Hybris and AWS to bring a wealth and breadth of experience to the table. Its clients are household names that trust the company to design, build, and manage the solutions they depend on. Piksel Retail focuses specifically on how advanced technologies can be used to solve the problems they face and help deliver their vision.
published March 2019