Coles moves to Azure for faster e-commerce deployment


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Friday, 15 September, 2023

Coles moves to Azure for faster e-commerce deployment

Coles has migrated its e-commerce technology infrastructure to Microsoft Azure to streamline development processes and accelerate application deployment times.

By making the change, Coles has been able to accelerate from monthly to weekly updates while improving the online experience for customers.

The company has been pushing an omnichannel strategy for many years in response to the evolving marketplace, according to Coles Senior Engineering Manager, Web Patrik Mihailescu. “Really, for us, it’s about the changing needs of our customers,” he said.

“Not just recently through COVID, but really looking to support customer preference around being able to shop online and also in-store. We’re really pushing a lot around the omnichannel strategy, because we find that customers have a preference for both.”

For example, the company has been developing the mobile experience as a hybrid experience for both in-store and online shopping, with customers able to integrate the mobile app into their visits to a store.

Using the Azure DevOps solution, Coles has been able to significantly improve the efficiency of its application development process, taking release times down from six weeks to one and reducing build times from hours to 10–15 minutes.

“We deploy during our peak periods where customers are on the site, but through the work that we’ve done we have zero downtime. There is no impact to our customers,” Mihailescu said. “We’re going to be moving to daily deployments in the next six to nine months and definitely with the Azure tooling, that’s going to be super key in enabling us to go even quicker.”

The Coles team also uses Azure API Management gateway to ensure secure payment and processing for online shoppers while blocking fraudulent activity, and has been optimising the customer experience through the Azure Cosmos DB, which provides an aggregated view across channels to enable further customer insights.

Mihailescu said Azure is now enabling Coles to move as quickly as it is capable of without taking on added risk. “Azure DevOps tooling definitely enabled us to be able to rapidly deploy changes to production by allowing us to safely create changes, to test those independently before they were merged into our master branch … and to create rapid pipelines,” he said.

As part of the project, Coles has also been working with Microsoft partner Azenix to improve its pipelines and create custom build services to meet specific needs.

Image credit: iStock.com/deepblue4you

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