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  • Shifted from monthly to weekly deployments with plans to move to daily deployments
  • Build times reduced from a couple of hours to 10-15 minutes
  • Utilised Azure services to create a secure and efficient online shopping experience

The Problem

Coles, a leading supermarket brand in Australia, recognised the shift in customer behaviour towards a more integrated online and in-store shopping experience.

Customers’ preferences were changing daily, requiring a flexible and responsive system to meet these needs. The existing infrastructure was not agile enough to adapt to these rapid changes, and there was a lack of efficient data utilisation to enhance customer experiences.

The Opportunity

The evolving landscape of customer behaviour presented an opportunity for Coles to become a leader in offering a seamless, omnichannel shopping experience. Since many of the products offered Coles are substitutable by other retailers, adding value beyond the individual products can increase customer retention – a critical element in By leveraging technology, Coles had the chance to not only meet but exceed customer expectations, thereby setting a new standard in the retail industry that would provide a competitive advantage for years to come.

The Solution

Coles, with consultation from Azenix, a company by Mantel Group, integrated a comprehensive suite of Microsoft Azure services to overhaul its retail operations. The technical specs included the use of Azure Kubernetes Service for engineering standardisation, Azure DevOps for rapid deployment cycles, Azure Cosmos DB for aggregating customer data across channels, and Azure API Management Gateway for secure online transactions. Additionally, Azure App Service was employed to enable zero-downtime deployments, even during peak customer usage periods.

The benefits of this solution were as follows:

  • Rapid and flexible deployment capabilities, enabling a shift from monthly to weekly releases.
  • Efficient utilisation of customer data for personalised experiences.
  • Enhanced security protocols for secure online transactions.
  • Zero-downtime deployments, ensuring uninterrupted customer experiences.
  • Streamlined engineering processes, allowing the team to focus on service delivery over setup.

Learn more

See how our Azure experts improved deployments and reduced build times to 10-15 minutes.

Our Approach

  • Initial Assessment and Partnership Deepening: Coles started by evaluating its existing systems and identifying the need for a more agile and data-driven solution. This led to a deepening of its partnership with Microsoft, focusing on Azure as the platform for transformation.
  • Selection of Azure Services: A suite of Azure services that would best meet the company’s needs were reviewed and selected. This included Azure Kubernetes Service, Azure DevOps, and Azure Cosmos DB among others.
  • Engineering Standardisation: The first major step was to implement Azure Kubernetes Service to standardise engineering processes. This allowed engineers to focus more on the service delivery aspects rather than the setup and maintenance.
  • Data Utilisation Strategy: Coles then focused on how to best utilise customer data. Azure Cosmos DB was implemented to aggregate data across various channels, enabling better customer insights.
  • Rapid Deployment Implementation: Azure DevOps was introduced to shift from monthly to weekly deployments. This involved setting up new pipelines and training the team on the new deployment cycles.
    Security Protocols: To ensure secure online transactions, Coles implemented Azure API Management Gateway. This was crucial for secure payment processing and to counter fraudulent activities.
  • Customer Feedback and Iteration: Coles set up a system to quickly address customer feedback. This involved using Azure tools to identify issues and implement changes rapidly.
  • Team Upskilling: Throughout the project, knowledge-sharing sessions were held to ensure that the entire team was up-to-date with the new technologies and processes.
    Future Planning and Scaling: With the new system in place, Coles began planning for future enhancements, including the transition to daily deployments in the next 6-9 months.

By following this sequential approach, Coles was able to successfully implement a solution that made its retail operations more agile, secure, and customer-centric.

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