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Shop Direct is using IBM’s SoftLayer hybrid cloud as part of a 10-year outsourcing deal to provide analytics, mobile and social applications.
Shop Direct said the IBM cloud would improve its customers’ online shopping experience while empowering its workforce to collaborate more easily and improve productivity.
The hybrid cloud infrastructure will provide capacity on demand allowing the online retailer, which runs Very.co.uk, to react to market changes quickly and support digital initiatives, such as building a more personalised customer experience.
IBM will also develop services for Shop Direct employees and partners – such as taking orders and fulfillment – running on multiple devices. These user services include new desktops and laptops, along with secure mobile device management and support for tablets and smartphones to support a mobile workforce.
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Andy Wolfe, Shop Direct CIO, said: "We’re looking to tap IBM’s cloud computing expertise to allow us to innovate and add value to both the experience we deliver to customers, and the working experience we offer our people."
As more of its applications use IBM’s cloud computing, the company will be able to respond quickly to change through peak periods to meet the growing demands of its customers. The hybrid cloud model will enable Shop Direct to scale to support peaks in demand when online traffic spikes, while only paying for the infrastructure it uses.
IBM MobileFirst Protect will underpin mobile productivity to enable secure access for Apple and Android devices.
In 2013 Shop Direct was involved in the Extreme Blue programme, which gave undergraduate interns working at IBM Hursley labs a chance to build a prototype application for the online retailer. Social media and the use of personalisation were the areas both IBM and Shop Direct shared common objectives. The interns worked on a project for Shop Direct that investigated the use of gamification to engage with customers.
IBM has been building out its European Hybrid cloud presence, which began ramping up with the $2bn acquisition of SoftLayers in 2013. The company opened a London datacentre in June 2014 as part of a $1.2bn European expansion programme.