Dunelm Boosts SAP Performance by 30% with Migration to AWS
UK-based home furnishing retailer Dunelm is home to a tech team of 300—which includes a sizeable platform team—and has serious ambitions to embrace the most modern software development strategies and practices.
The ProServe team really helped us with the SAP migration. The move would have been slower and tougher without their expertise.”
Director of Platform and Operations, Dunelm
Using Amazon Web Services (AWS) since 2019, Dunelm has improved the flexibility and resilience of its website and in-store operations, and supported innovation to create a better customer experience.
This flexibility helped Dunelm to adapt to the rapid changes in customer demand following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. When Dunelm faced forced store closures and fast-fluctuating online demand, the company instantly tailored compute demand to match its real needs, so customers could order items in a timely manner.
Reducing Delivery Times and Making Developers More Productive
To accelerate its development into a customer-first business, Dunelm acquired WorldStores in 2016. As the two companies merged their IT departments, they saw an opportunity to shift to serverless technologies and DevOps, and make their transformation aspirations a reality.
Dunelm developers can now focus on providing a better customer experience both online and in stores. For instance, using AWS, Dunelm has made the time slots for its click-and-collect services more specific, allowing customers to specify a one-hour block of time, compared to three hours previously. “We are one of the largest users of AWS serverless capabilities in Europe,” says Chris Brocklesby, chief information officer (CIO) of Dunelm. “It’s so important to how our DevOps team can work—they can just get on with the good bits of the job without infrastructure and load hassles. It has totally transformed what we can deliver to the business and to our customers.”
Using AWS, Dunelm has also improved productivity. “We reckon our developers are 30–40 percent more productive on AWS—they can just get on with writing code, creating new services, and solving problems,” Brocklesby says. “This means we’re a great place to work for people interested in making use of the best technology and not having to spend time worrying about infrastructure issues. We’ve moved 500 servers to AWS, so it’s been a huge reduction in management and infrastructure overheads.”
SAP Systems Perform 30% Faster
Dunelm’s latest project involved migrating its SAP Enterprise Resource Planning system onto AWS and making its back-office systems as future-facing as its customer systems. Before this launched, all of Dunelm’s workloads were hosted in two data centers, which meant managing about 30 separate supplier contracts. The business also couldn’t scale and its systems were unreliable.
The migration was completed in just 6 months and Dunelm was able to shut both of its data centers and be cloud-first. Its SAP systems are already working 30 percent faster than before, completing what were previously 1-hour batch jobs in 40 minutes. Daily reports on operational details such as sales, customer behavior, and website performance are available faster than on the previous systems. This helps Dunelm to make prompt decisions on how to deal with issues such as the impact of gas shortages on store footfall.
AWS ProServe provided a resident architect who was always available to offer SAP specialist knowledge and to validate design decisions. “The ProServe team really helped us with SAP migration,” says Tom Hayman, director of platform and operations at Dunelm. “The move would have been slower and tougher without their expertise.”
Dunelm Develops an Experimental and Friendly Working Culture
The company’s systems are now more scalable. And Dunelm has experienced no major availability issues compared to its previous on-premises hosting, which struggled with storage capacity. With a backend that matches the instant scalability and agility of its front-end systems, Dunelm today faces no barriers or bottlenecks to innovation. The team is more easily able to run test and pre-production environments with realistic data loads on AWS than it could using its own data centers.
Using AWS, Hayman says that his staff is able to focus on innovation rather than on maintenance. He adds that this contributes to a blameless, experimental, and friendly working culture.
Dunelm is a leading UK homeware retailer with 175 stores across the UK, five home delivery network hubs, and five distribution centers.
Benefits of AWS
- Migrated critical SAP ERP systems in 6 months
- SAP systems perform 30% faster
- Developer productivity increased by 30–40%
- Improved customer experience with more specific times for click-and-collect service
- Website scales to accommodate rising online demand during the COVID-19 pandemic
AWS Services Used
SAP on AWS
Whether you are looking to lift and shift ECC to reduce costs, migrate to SAP S/4HANA, or innovate with AWS services, AWS offers proven approaches backed by unmatched experience supporting SAP customers in the cloud.
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Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS)
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