“Using Dynatrace, was the first opportunity we’d ever had to really understand what our applications were doing. We spoke to AppDynamics, but they didn’t offer the level of granularity we needed. The Dynatrace platform blew us away.”
Abdul Al Tayib, E-Commerce Operations Team Leader, Travis Perkins
Builders’ merchant, Travis Perkins, was traditionally focused on selling building materials to traders. It then expanded into the B2C space, with the £950m acquisition of consumer brand, Wickes. With Wickes facing fierce competition in the DIY market, Travis Perkins needed to deliver innovation through new e-commerce features while ensuring consumers experienced a faultless experience. The company decided the best way to do this was to bring management of its e-commerce platform, SAP Hybris - in-house, so that it could have greater control. However, the team soon ran into challenges.
“This was our first serious foray into online, so as you can expect, it didn’t run smoothly at first,” E-Commerce Operations Team Leader, Abdul al Tayib explains. “We suffered from an unprecedented number of service errors and were dealing with website outages of up to two hours on a regular basis. We had no way of monitoring performance, so we’d often only learn that there was a problem when customers rang in to complain.”
The IT team was constantly on the back-foot when it came to resolving problems and had no visibility into why or where the problems were occurring, Tayib adds: “We were fishing in the dark, as we couldn’t really get into the guts of the e-commerce platform and see what was going on inside. It was incredibly difficult and time-consuming to find and fix the cause of any problems, which became very stressful and demoralizing for the IT team.”
The Wickes website was failing to meet the expectations of the business and it was evident that the IT team needed detailed performance monitoring data that went beyond the norm. Dynatrace was the only solution that could offer the level of granularity that Travis Perkins was looking for.
“The only way to describe our impressions of Dynatrace is ‘eye-opening’. It was the first opportunity we’d ever had to really understand what our applications were doing. We spoke to the likes of AppDynamics, but they didn’t offer the level of granularity we needed. The Dynatrace platform blew us away and it was great to see that as technology environments have been redefined, so has the monitoring from Dynatrace. Ultimately, it has given us the ability to understand what the experience is like for every user, across every transaction going through the website; as though we were sitting there with them.”
Dynatrace was able to get Travis Perkins up and running fast through its cloud and professional services: “Our website is already hosted in AWS, so we were up and running on Dynatrace’s SaaS solution within hours,” says Tayib. “The Dynatrace team remained on-site over the following weeks to provide support and training to help us build out the custom dashboards that we needed to support our operations. The additional training helped our team to develop a high-level of understanding of the technology, meaning we were able to gain the full value from day one.”
Dynatrace integrates Artificial Intelligence and automation capabilities, so Travis Perkins can examine thousands of pieces of performance data and instantly pinpoint the root cause of any problems. This is helping Travis Perkins to fix issues before users are impacted: “Moving from being reactive to proactive is a key goal for us and the AI capabilities of Dynatrace have exceeded what we thought was possible. We are now able to spot problems and identify the precise configuration change needed to stabilize the website before customers feel any impact,” explains Tayib.
As a result, Travis Perkins has been able to reduce website downtime by two-thirds and reduce the time it takes to resolve performance issues by 75 percent. “Dynatrace has allowed us to completely revaluate how we work; it enables us to truly grasp the factors that impact the customer experience,” adds Tayib. “If there’s a problem, we can see how many customers were actually affected and what effect that had on revenues, so we can fully understand the business impact. But luckily, thanks to the AI capabilities in Dynatrace, the number of problems that actually impact customers has drastically reduced.”
Travis Perkins sees Dynatrace as a vital component as it transitions to DevOps. Tayib explains: “We plan to roll out Dynatrace across our testing environments so that our development teams can access the same performance data and automation capabilities as our ops team can. This will be vital in supporting continuous development workflows, allowing us to rapidly improve the quality of the code being created. Ultimately, this will help us bring new digital services to market, faster and transform the way we do business,” he concludes.