European Fashion Retailer.

Boosting data intelligence and agility through a major digital makeover on Google Cloud.

  • Improved infrastructure & enabling cloud to power business transformation.
  • Leveraged cloud-native tools to improve speed to market.
  • New data analytics solution to drives more meaningful business insights

Background.

This company is a major European fashion retailer, with over 1,200 physical stores, plus multiple online stores and nearly 8,500 employees. 

No stranger to utilising the cloud, the retailer had already set up a Google Cloud solution and begun refactoring their ecommerce platform to a microservices setup. 

However, this wasn’t going according to plan. Deadlines were passing by and goals weren’t being hit. Technical Google Cloud expertise was required to achieve the company’s ambitious digital goals. 

Challenges.

Every industry has been permanently changed by post-pandemic. But retailers in particular, were faced with empty physical stores and unprecedentedly high demand on their ecommerce platforms. 

For this retailer, it meant Black Friday-levels of customer traffic on a regular weekday, putting strain on IT infrastructure. 

Its previous cloud environment wasn’t quite realising the company’s ambitious customer experience goals. The team chose to work with Nordcloud as a cloud-native partner to apply in-depth technical knowledge and Google Cloud expertise – to regain control of its cloud environments.

As a retailer and growing digital business, we work with large datasets and needed an e-commerce platform that was able to scale in a fast and flexible way.

Head of Infrastructure, European Fashion Retailer

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Priorities.

Migration and modernisation of their setup and workloads from on-premise to Google Cloud was a top business priority, to enable new services and cost optimisation. This was broken down into these major focus areas:

Microservices

The retailer wanted to move from a monolithic infrastructure to a microservice container-based environment built on GKE (Google Kubernetes Engine).

Data Functionality

Prioritised improvements to data analytics capabilities through their company goal of becoming the leading data and tech-driven fashion company in Scandinavia.

Hybrid enablement

To enable flexibility and speed at scale, the retailer required a hybrid cloud framework for standardised platform architecture and governance across cloud environments.

Infra support.

Nordcloud were brought in to streamline and improve the cloud environment, working collaboratively with the retailer’s teams to recreate the infrastructure.

Landing zone

The existing Google landing zone was improved to better fit their unique needs as a fashion retailer. A new Google Cloud Identity domain was created, and Cloud Identity user groups and Google Cloud permissions were managed with Terraform.

Microservices

Nordcloud streamlined its microservices infrastructure, productionising Google Cloud and enabling teams to develop, test and deploy services independently and faster.

Kubernetes

With 95% workloads already running through Kubernetes, Nordcloud improved this setup and run fully on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), which includes automation tooling. With GKE, the retailer can now leverage most of the System Operations from Google Cloud.

The nature of our retail business means we continually move our goal posts, but we’ve achieved a lot with Nordcloud and remain agile. We started with a complete refactoring of our platform, and we’ve managed to achieve a very stable Google Cloud environment that is easy to operate and maintain.

Head of Infrastructure, European Fashion Retailer

Modernisation.

The power of technology to deliver seamless customer experiences both online and offline has never been more apparent or, with the right technology partners, more attainable.

Architecture support

Nordcloud’s Google Cloud experts took on a consulting role, providing guidance on cloud architecture and working with the retailer’s teams to prioritise refactoring and rearchitecting to applications to perform more effectively in Google Cloud.

Best practices

Our consulting experts helped rebuild Google architecture according to best practices focused on speeding up releases and delivery and a proactive approach to suggestion solutions and improvements.

New apps & AI

Nordcloud’s cloud-native Google services enabled the building of new applications – such as a machine learning-driven pricing and campaign application, an order management suite and several other machine learning and AI services.

Data Build on Google Cloud.

Nordcloud helped guide and build a revamped data platform and data analytics solution. A modernised, truly cloud-native data solution was needed to provide improvements in analytics, reporting, dashboarding and give users the access, visibility and insights to meet the retailer’s ambitious data needs.

  • Supported data platform setup

The data platform backend with data lake and batch processing was already in place. Nordcloud helped with some guidance around Cloud Endpoints, Kubernetes and best practices.

  • Data analytics build

For the data analytics solution, Nordcloud put the building blocks in place for data processing and reporting to work in tandem, including Jupyterhub, Google Cloud Composer, BigQuery and Data Studio, as well as onboarding the new analytics team to Google Cloud.

  • Single source of truth

The data sources – from supply chain and production to sales and marketing – are at the heart of retail business intelligence, and the new cloud-native Google Cloud solution provides a single source of truth and a new level of business intelligence.

Hybrid cloud setup.

Nordcloud helped develop the retailer’s hybrid cloud setup, providing standardised, automated and pre-developed cloud infrastructure, so internal teams can use self-service APIs and develop rapidly while aligning with established rules.

Central framework across clouds

A shared framework for architecture and governance, enabling provisioning and management of resources across different cloud and on-prem environments.

Operational excellence & automation

A highly available platform with standardised tooling covering automation, IaC, development, deployment, Kubernetes, VM, server less, and databases.

Multi-cloud governance & security

Resources provisioned and managed through the framework needed to have in-built configurations and security to ensure compliance at scale.

We now have a high-quality cloud environment that provides us with resources needed to continue the next steps in our cloud journey, while still being able to support what’s already been delivered.

Head of Infrastructure, European Fashion Retailer

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Cloud guidance & consulting.

While the retailer’s team were already up and running on Google Cloud and understood its potential in driving new services and data capabilities, they were happy to work with Nordcloud, as true cloud-native experts, to help unlock this technology.

Architecture guidance

The team trusted Nordcloud to proactively identify and solve issues with existing Kubernetes and microservices setups, while also guiding new developments.

CCoE input

Nordcloud experts became embedded in the retailer’s Cloud Centre of Excellence, allowing an extremely collaborative, transparent approach to achieving their cloud goals.

Cloud-native skills

Nordcloud’s cloud-native approach helped implement best practices, such as setting up CI/CD pipelines to improve speed of releases.

Results.

Through simultaneous work on infrastructure and application development, the retailer has experienced a digital makeover.

With Google Kubernetes Engine, it now has automation tooling, so it’s possible for IT teams to develop, test and deploy services independently and faster due to the new microservice infrastructure. They can now leverage Google Cloud for most of their system operations. 

On the application side, the retailer now has a pricing and campaign application that decides and dictates prices across their ecommerce platform via machine learning, among other new applications. 

This data analytics setup enables data-driven, proactive decisions and to respond quickly to a changeable external environment. 

The relationship between the retailer and Nordcloud continues to today based on knowledge exchange and end-to-end collaboration. 

Our work with Nordcloud has been a true collaboration. We’ve been able to work very collaboratively, share knowledge and build solutions our platform users are satisfied with.

Head of Infrastructure, European Fashion Retailer

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Ilja Summala
Ilja Summala LinkedIn
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Ilja’s passion and tech knowledge help customers transform how they manage infrastructure and develop apps in cloud.