Shop Direct turns to hybrid cloud to support digital and mobile transformation

Multi-brand e-tailer Shop Direct has signed a 10-year, large-scale services agreement with IBM to move to a hybrid cloud model.

IBM’s cloud will underpin the delivery of a suite of analytics, mobile, social and security offerings that will enable Shop Direct to improve its customers’ online shopping experience while empowering its workforce to collaborate more easily and improve productivity.

With a number of digital department stores, including £800m flagship brand, Shop Direct is one of the UK’s largest online retailers, delivering more than 48 million products a year and clocking up over a million daily visitors across a variety of online and mobile platforms.

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The company’s 4,000 employees work with a diverse network of partners and vendors to provide its customers with a seamless shopping experience – from online browsing to point-of-purchase to delivery.

IBM will deliver services utilising a range of technology platforms that enable Shop Direct to continue building its capabilities in a digital and mobile world. The agreement focuses on improving the company’s customer experience in two distinct areas.

First, the use of a hybrid cloud infrastructure will provide capacity on demand so that Shop Direct can react to market changes quickly and support digital initiatives for its strategic agenda, such as an ever easier and more personalised customer experience.

Secondly, IBM will provide new, enhanced end-user services for Shop Direct employees and partners across a broad range of devices to improve satisfaction, as well as productivity aligned to key business processes like order taking and fulfilment.

These end-user services include new desktops and laptops along with secure mobile device management and support for tablets and smartphones to support a mobile workforce.

“We’re looking to tap IBM’s cloud computing expertise to allow us to innovate and add value to both the experience we deliver to customers and the working experience we offer our people,” said Andy Wolfe, Shop Direct CIO.

The new cloud platform enables Shop Direct to evolve and improve customer service by being better prepared to tackle challenges such as high site traffic on Black Friday.

IBM teams will work as part of Shop Direct’s IT organisation to deliver high-availability management and ensure resilience of platforms and applications.

Over the next 10 years, IBM Cloud will work to improve Shop Direct’s efficiency and cost-effectiveness. As more of its applications leverage the platform, the company hopes to respond quicker to change through peak periods so that it can meet the growing demands of its customers. The hybrid cloud model will enable Shop Direct to better scale to support peaks in demand when online traffic spikes, while only paying for the infrastructure that it needs.

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The new agreement between IBM and Shop Direct is a reaction to the shifting demands in a mobile-connected, cloud-enabled world. SoftLayer, IBM’s cloud infrastructure platform, will provide an enterprise computing platform with managed services from IBM Global Technology Services integrated with dedicated high-availability systems. IBM MobileFirst Protect will underpin mobile productivity to enable secure access for Apple and Android devices.

“This announcement is a significant milestone in the deployment of enterprise cloud and extends IBM’s position as the premier global cloud platform,” said Tony Morgan, client chief innovation officer for strategic outsourcing in Europe at IBM. “Our secure, open enterprise cloud platform will enable Shop Direct to quickly deliver new innovations to its customers and staff and continue to build its leadership as a digital retailer.”

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...