Photobox Delivers Frictionless E-Commerce Experiences with Dynatrace

"Dynatrace has been revolutionary for Photobox, as our teams are now able to do work that previously would have taken hours in just minutes"

Alex Hibbitt - Engineering Director, SRE & Fulfilment, albelli-Photobox Group

Building an application for sharing life’s important memories

Photobox prides itself on delivering exceptional customer experiences with its market-leading photo printing and gifting service. With no physical stores, the digital customer journey is crucial. The nature of Photobox’s business, however, means it faces the unique challenge of needing to sustain these journeys for hours or even weeks while its customers build their personalized photobooks and gifts via its website and app. These services are powered by a bespoke technology stack and home-grown e-commerce application, built on AWS EC2 and microservices, running on Kubernetes and AWS Lambda. In addition, Photobox operates multiple factories across Europe, which also rely on a custom technology stack.

Monitoring such a diverse technology stack became a significant challenge for Photobox. The company came to rely on ten different monitoring and logging solutions across its stack, and teams had to check each of them manually to understand the end-to-end customer journey. Overseeing so many disparate solutions had become humanly impossible to manage and costly to maintain, delivering little value. To understand an end-to-end flow, an engineer would have to look across five or six different dashboards and manually build out a journey for a particular set of challenges. That required about three or four hours of work to diagnose problems. Photobox wanted an all-in-one monitoring solution that could reduce that to just minutes by providing precise, actionable answers in one place, to help teams make faster, more data-driven decisions to optimize customer experiences.

Optimizing performance across a complex stack

Photobox sought an intelligent observability platform that could consolidate all monitoring data into a single pane of glass across the company’s end-to-end technology stack. After evaluating the market, Photobox identified Dynatrace as the clear choice, due to its flexibility, comprehensive capabilities, and its ability to quickly identify and solve performance issues. Dynatrace’s availability on AWS Marketplace was a further advantage, enabling Photobox to obtain Dynatrace through its Enterprise Agreement with AWS, which simplified the procurement process and optimized its spend with Amazon.

“In the monitoring space, everyone craves having one place they can look for clear, actionable data, and we just didn’t have that,” said Alex Hibbitt, Engineering Director, SRE & Fulfillment at albelli-Photobox Group. “With such a diverse technology stack, not many solutions were able to meet all our needs, but Dynatrace was the exception. Its flexibility and extensibility enables us to monitor our custom applications with minimal manual effort. Dynatrace’s automatic discovery and instrumentation for AWS Lambda and Kubernetes have also been invaluable, and fulfilled all of our most essential requirements.”

"Dynatrace has been revolutionary for Photobox, as our teams are now able to do work that previously would have taken hours in just minutes."

Alex Hibbitt - Engineering Director, SRE & Fulfillment, albelli-Photobox Group

Life with Dynatrace

  • Enhanced customer experience: Before Dynatrace, Photobox’s team would spend hours understanding a problem before they were able to resolve it. Now, with Dynatrace’s automation and AIOps capabilities, teams can identify the root cause instantly, so they can focus on resolution. This has enabled the team to reduce their mean time to resolution (MTTR) by up to 80%, helping deliver more seamless customer journeys.
  • Improved peak events: For Photobox, the peak holiday shopping periods such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are crucial, bringing five to six times the level of usual traffic to its website. With Dynatrace, they are able to support this demand, by empowering its teams to proactively optimize the customer journey in a way that maximizes conversions and revenue. This capability has driven a reduction of 60% in the level of critical incidents that impact the availability of its services in comparison with previous peak periods.
  • Drive confident decisions based on real-time insights: While Photobox could already access insights into customer behavior, the reports would often be out of date by the time they reached the teams that needed to act on them. Dynatrace provides real-time, actionable insights on how customers are interacting with Photobox’s services and how the performance of its applications impacts the sales funnel. These business insights help teams to maximize revenue, by making data-driven decisions on where to prioritize engineering effort to drive the greatest impact on sales.
  • Resolve real user-impacting issues: Dynatrace’s Digital Experience Monitoring capabilities provide Photobox with invaluable insights into the relationship between what the user sees on the front-end and the performance of its back-end systems. This helps its engineering teams better understand user behaviour and error data, so they can resolve problems faster and more effectively. Dynatrace’s Session Replay capabilities also enable engineers to look more closely at specific bugs that are difficult to identify from the back-end, by seeing exactly what users see.

“Dynatrace has been revolutionary for Photobox, as our teams are now able to do work that previously would have taken hours in just minutes,” Hibbitt continued. “Since Dynatrace has been introduced, we’re able to identify the core pain points in any customer’s journey and focus our engineering effort on resolving those pain points. That’s allowed us to increase our customer experience massively, because Dynatrace is helping us to respond to things faster and in a more automated fashion. Dynatrace is the beating heart of our observability strategy. It supports the idea that observability is a mindset rather than a set of tools or practices, and for us, that’s key to making our customer journey as optimized as possible. In future, we’re looking to extend Dynatrace to more areas of our business, making it the core observability and automation platform for our estate.”

"With such a diverse technology stack, not many solutions were able to meet all our needs, but Dynatrace was the exception."

Alex Hibbitt - Engineering Director, SRE & Fulfillment, albelli-Photobox Group

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