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Alcampo trusts BT On Demand Compute to support the growth of its online services
For customers across Spain, the Alcampo website is not just a favourite place to shop. It’s also a favourite source of information. Raimundo Gonzalo Pozuelo knew new servers would make things even better. But a short deadline, a tight budget and hard-to-predict traffic called for an unconventional approach. So he turned to BT for something out-of-the-ordinary.
Now, a BT On Demand Compute hosted virtual infrastructure powers the new Alcampo website. Being cloud-based it’s fast, flexible, and easy to change. And at half the traditional cost it’s tailor made for challenging times. That’s great for sales and the customer experience – and satisfying for Raimundo too.
The BT service has allowed us to reduce our investment requirements at the same time as allowing us to innovate through the use of a cloud computing service.”
- Raimundo Gonzalo Pozuelo, Director of Logistics, Organisation and Systems Alcampo
Alcampo is part of the Auchan Group of hypermarkets and operates in Spain. The chain began trading in Spain in 1981, with the opening of a hypermarket in Utebo, Zaragoza. Today, it is present in 14 regions with 56 hypermarkets and 27 filling stations, offering a wide range of services aimed at making everyday life easier for a growing number of customers.
One of the most important IT projects within the Alcampo strategy for continuous customer service improvement was the upgrade of its corporate website. This site acts as a communications channel for Alcampo customers and delivers additional online sales for the hypermarket chain.
The main task for the Alcampo IT team was to focus on the functional development, testing and production of the new customer interface, working with a technology partner that could take care of the support infrastructure within a defined timetable. The infrastructure supporting the existing website was already being hosted on dedicated servers provided by BT. The team soon however realised that if it was to meet its deadline and architecture requirements it would need an alternative approach.
A team, led by Raimundo Gonzalo Pozuelo, Director of Logistics, Organisation and Systems at Alcampo, started evaluating the possibility of building a dedicated environment for the project. This would have meant renting, or more likely buying, new servers. Installing and configuring them in a short space of time would have been a highly challenging task. It would also have meant several thousand euros of investment.
There was yet another consideration. What if the number of users of the environment was to grow? This would mean further investment and additional hours of work dedicated to the infrastructure and potential impact on the service.
In the preceding weeks, BT had demonstrated a new service to Alcampo called On Demand Compute, an enterprise-class, pre-provisioned, hosted infrastructure. BT On Demand Compute enables customers to create, deploy, monitor, and manage their own virtual data centre through a self-service secure portal. An automated service delivery process ensures maximum efficiency.
Thanks to the latest advances in virtualisation, the On Demand Compute infrastructure is self-healing and inherently resilient, with 99.9 per cent availability. Furthermore, it offers total cost of ownership savings of up to 40 per cent compared to traditional approaches. These capabilities can be complemented with BT professional services for systems operation and management.
Alcampo was already a BT customer in Spain, having brought in BT two years previously to provide hosting services for its existing web infrastructure. Raimundo Gonzalo Pozuelo was keen to put On Demand Compute to the test.
The solution for Alcampo was physically created in a BT data centre in Spain that forms part of BT’s global network of cloud services. Currently, Alcampo accesses data and applications over an internet connection, although an MPLS network link will soon be provided. BT carried out the configuration and management of the systems for Alcampo, although in practice it’s very easy for customers to configure the On Demand Compute solution themselves using the tools available on the BT Selfcare portal.
Raimundo Gonzalo Pozuelo says: “The response from BT has been very satisfactory, not just in the meeting of deadlines but also in the range of services proposed, which met our requirements perfectly.”
BT On Demand Compute has allowed Alcampo to provide a fully operational web platform in a fraction of the time it would have taken using a traditional approach. Raimundo Gonzalo Pozuelo estimates: “BT On Demand Compute cost just 50 to 60 per cent of what it would have taken to find, configure, and maintain a dedicated server in the traditional way.”
In fact, cost was a critical consideration given the need for Alcampo to maximise return on investment in the development of the new functional environment for its customers. However, the ease and speed of deployment of BT On Demand Compute was equally important.
With On Demand Compute having completed its first challenge for the corporate web environment, Alcampo is now considering extending its use for other business-oriented applications. For example, it could be used for situations where there’s a need for infrastructure for short-term projects, or instances where the demand for resources is seasonal or unforeseeable.
- BT On Demand Compute virtual data centre services