Maplin is a High Street electronics retailer with 218 stores, turnover in excess of £300m and significant growth over recent years. Online sales are a significant percentage of total sales and internet channels are showing much higher year on year growth rates.
Maplin’s product range has tripled with many new and exciting ranges of high tech products added in collaboration with its vendors, including CCTV Cameras and Drones. The introduction of service innovations such as ‘reserve at store’, and ‘click and collect’ have been key drivers along with the investment the new Hybris web platform. Maplin seeks to unite its sales and service channels for the best customer journey and continues to invest in a group of technology advisors.
At this point, Maplin had a best-of-breed application architecture, including a new e-commerce and marketing solution and a cloud-based business intelligence solution to implement Maplin’s digital transformation strategy. But with multiple sales channels and all stores competing in real time for the same stock and logistics information, it was imperative to provide faster distributed exchange and processing of sales order and stock movement data.
Maplin’s heterogeneous environment combined commercial systems with in-house applications in a tightly coupled point-to-point architecture where systems communicate by producing, transferring and consuming files as part of overnight batch processes. This was leading to a high level of delay, due to the dependency on each system and the vendors and suppliers responsible for them – as any change on one system could have an undesired ripple effect on one or multiple other systems and the business units that rely on them.
Maplin was also keen on improving their customer experience by being more agile when it comes to the points of interaction with the company and with their business partners. For instance, contacting the customer to book a CCTV installation immediately after buying a CCTV camera, is a much better customer experience than being contacted after a prolonged gap.
Maplin engaged Integrella to evaluate several architectural options and technologies and together they concluded that an ESB and message-based architecture would provide the most suitable framework in which to execute the retailer’s digital transformation strategy. After creating a short-list of ESB technologies and writing a Proof of Concept, Integrella helped evaluate the vendors by using their established tools to compare the ease and speed of development, and other important functionality including API management and other features.
InterSystems Ensemble was selected as the ESB for its advanced message tracing and ease of use. Integrella proposed RabbitMQ as the messaging platform for integrating with each store. The Integrella engagement was extended to deliver the first of two pilot implementation projects which are now in test. The first collects sales data from stores in real time and consolidates it in a central repository, and the second integrates CCTV installation service partners with CCTV purchases.
Maplin has also engaged Integrella to conduct knowledge-transfer to staff for key SOA Governance and API Management techniques, including best practices in service modelling, naming conventions, service categorisation, versioning and security as well as a canonical services and data domain model which is 100% driven by the business.
With the ESB technology and messaging platform implemented, Integrella also led the specification and setup of the physical Hybrid cloud architecture that provides high availability and disaster recovery. Integrella also set up activity to enable the management of services in a centralised registry together with processes to manage their life cycle from idea to retirement, taking account of business impacts of change in a specific service version on dependent business units.
In addition to leading the enforcement of best practices with regards to RESTful services and Swagger-based API definitions, Integrella supports RabbitMQ as a key component of the architecture that provides fault tolerance in the connections between stores and the main data centre.
Our support has enabled Maplin executives to quickly absorb market developments and maximise reuse of existing software and data assets in delivering real-time integration of its web presence and High Street stores.
Integrella continues to support Maplin in the provision of proactive service monitoring, continuous integration and infrastructure provisioning automation services. With an API factory and reliable messaging platform now in place, the team is well positioned to develop additional service innovations to further improve customer experience, speed up operations and reduce time to market.
We enable digital transformation through API management, DevOps and Microservices. Our expert IT integration services include consulting, development, delivery, support and resourcing. We deliver our solutions by partnering with top vendors in the industry.
We have extensive experience working in Healthcare, Public Sector, Financial Services, Retail and Utilities sectors.