Customer Stories / Construction Real Estate / United Kingdom
Travis Perkins Group Implements Modernization Strategy Using AWS
Travis Perkins operates a number of trade focused businesses that serve the UK’s construction industry. It began using Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2015. In 2018 it chose AWS to help the business transform its legacy IT estate, so that it could get the most out of its data. By migrating its systems to the cloud and using built-in service integration, the company has increased its data processing speed significantly. This provides better insights into the business and has unlocked data from legacy silos. Colleagues can now focus on innovation and improving the customer experience to maintain Travis Perkins’ established role within the construction sector.
Travis Perkins is a UK-based distributor of building materials and a long-established supplier to the construction industry. Headquartered in Northampton, it comprises a number of businesses, including the Travis Perkins building supplies chain, Toolstation, BSS, CCF, Keyline, and others. With reported 2022 revenue of £5 billion, the group—which dates back over 200 years—has grown and expanded through a number of mergers and acquisitions, many of which have come with their own technology and systems.
As a result of the group’s expansion in this way, user data and information about customers, selection, stock availability, and pricing were inconsistent across the many businesses. The company decided to streamline how it handled data to make real-time sharing of information across its businesses possible. It chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) to achieve this.
The migration to AWS has also improved the speed of prototyping of omnichannel initiatives and innovative products, such as the Travis Perkins app, which allows customers to check stock, purchase goods, and manage and pay their accounts on the move and at the touch of a button. It also deployed Amazon Connect to improve the experience of the 20,000 employees across the businesses using a new omnichannel cloud contact center for all human resources queries.
Opportunity | Unlocking Business Data from Legacy Infrastructure Using Amazon EKS
When Travis Perkins began to migrate its workloads to AWS in 2018, it identified its customer-facing systems as the place to start transitioning its infrastructure. It planned an early proof of concept with an ecommerce platform that was running on premises. “We wanted the ability to scale and to do it at speed,” says Jon Ingham, site reliability engineering manager and cloud centre of excellence manager at Travis Perkins. “Our on-premises infrastructure made this a challenge, but we saw the opportunity to overcome that using AWS.”
To gain speed, flexibility, and scalability, Travis Perkins adopted a modern, cloud-based infrastructure. Using Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS)—a managed container service, to start, run, and scale Kubernetes—made a big difference. The containerization of workloads—the discrete packaging of software code and its dependencies in a virtual compute environment—delivered real benefits to the business. “We can now build microservices, which have served as enablers for our mobile apps and customer websites, so we deliver better experiences for our customers and see accurate information in real time,” says Ingham. “Our platform on AWS gives us the breadth, resilience, and high-performance security we need to provide excellent services to our customers.”
Travis Perkins can now scale compute resources as required, using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), which provides secure and resizable compute capacity for workloads. This has optimized costs and freed staff who were managing the group’s disparate legacy infrastructure to focus on innovations and more complex areas of development.
AWS gives us the breadth, resilience, and high-performance security we need to provide excellent services to our customers.”
Site Reliability Engineering Manager and Cloud Centre of Excellence Manager, Travis Perkins
Solution | Putting Data to Work Making Better Business Decisions
After successfully migrating its ecommerce platform—and reducing cost to run the platform by 50 percent—the business used the lessons learned to consolidate data and applications and use that data to improve decision making and deliver a high-quality experience for employees. “We had data, but it was challenging to access,” says Ingham. “We didn’t have access to real-time data because our data moved slowly through batch systems.”
Travis Perkins can now do more with its data using Amazon RDS for MySQL, a scalable, cloud-based relational database. The company uses AWS Cost Explorer—which provides an easy-to-use interface that lets companies visualize, understand, and manage their AWS costs and usage over time—and AWS Budgets—which can track costs, usage, and coverage with custom budgets—to apply FinOps principles of financial control. FinOps is a set of tools and practices that help organizations better understand how cloud resources are used. “We now know what we’re spending, how we’re using our resources, and how much value we’re deriving from them,” says Ingham. “It’s been so educational and exciting for our finance and technology teams.”
Travis Perkins’ developers can also innovate more quickly using AWS. Automating development processes and using containers on Amazon EKS eliminated the need for downtime when updating code. Instead of one major update annually and monthly servicing, all of which required systems to go offline, the IT team can now deploy code to production daily.
The switch to AWS also makes recruitment and retention of IT talent easier for Travis Perkins. Top candidates are eager to work with state-of-the-art technology in an innovative company. “The best people like to have the best tools and want to do exciting things,” says Ingham. “In a competitive labor market, it makes a difference.”
Outcome | Delivering Better Employee Experiences Using Amazon Connect
With improvements to customer-facing systems complete, and data more accessible throughout the organization, Travis Perkins next wanted to improve the HR experience for its employees. To make its HR team more accessible to workers, the company wanted to implement a contact center solution. After a review of other providers, it chose Amazon Connect because it is simple to use, cost effective, and quick to implement. “It’s now so quick for anyone with a query to directly communicate with our HR team,” says Ingham. “And HR can run the contact center technology themselves, with minimal input from IT. Plus, we’ve got support from AWS, if needed.”
This system allows Travis Perkins employees to contact HR via web and mobile technology. It also features powerful analytics for better call allocation and the tracking of calls. It also has task management tools, that enable HR reps to prioritize, assign, and track tasks to completion to ensure issues are resolved as quickly as possible.
The company implemented Amazon Connect in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, and it proved valuable when many Travis Perkins employees were working from home. “We all had the period of being stuck in our houses and sometimes our branches needed to speak to HR about urgent staffing issues,” says Ingham. “Our contact center, built on Amazon Connect, was reliable and easy to manage at a difficult and unusual time when we really needed to support communication throughout our organization.”
Travis Perkins still runs about 70 percent of its operations on premises in a hybrid model. It plans to expand its use of AWS going forward, because of its flexibility, scalability, and reliability. “We feel free to try things now, because I can provide my team with the right tools, when and where they want them,” says Ingham. “I also appreciate the input I get from our AWS account team. They’ve helped us to unlock new capabilities and ways of working that were previously outside of our domain.”
About Travis Perkins
Travis Perkins plc is a UK-based distributor of building materials and a long-established supplier to the construction sector with roots going back 200 years. It employs over 20,000 staff in the UK and Europe and reported 2022 revenue of £5 billion.
AWS Services Used
With Amazon Connect, you can set up a contact center in minutes that can scale to support millions of customers.
Amazon EKS is a managed Kubernetes service to run Kubernetes in the AWS cloud and on-premises data centers.
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. Access reliable, scalable infrastructure on demand. Scale capacity within minutes with SLA commitment of 99.99% availability.
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Amazon RDS for MySQL
Amazon RDS for MySQL frees you up to focus on application development by managing time-consuming database administration tasks, including backups, upgrades, software patching, performance improvements, monitoring, scaling, and replication.
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