Some Azure Case Studies in the Retail Sector

Company (Click on Logo for Details) Summary Use Case

Nobody does it better" than secret agent James Bond. So it was natural that when world-class brewer HEINEKEN launched a global marketing campaign, it would partner with the Bond franchise. And when that campaign needed an equally first-class cloud platform, HEINEKEN turned to Microsoft Azure. HEINEKEN then used Azure for promotions that were even more technically demanding, including one with the UEFA Champions League. Azure "put our stakeholders at ease," says an executive.

Digital Media & Marketing

CCA wanted to create a more differentiated brand experience for consumers. CCA implemented a solution from TKM9 and Microsoft based on Windows Embedded, Kinect for Windows, and Microsoft Azure that uses digital signage to create an immersive experience at point-of-sale locations.

Customer Engagement
Digital Media & Marketing

December is the most important month of the year for UK retailer Marks and Spencer, and its advertising campaigns are the cornerstone of its holiday strategy. When its 2013 primetime holiday TV ad campaign encouraged people to visit a dedicated website, it was vital that it could cope with the spike in traffic. The retailer created a website using Microsoft Azure to support huge volumes of traffic while avoiding the expense of purchasing physical servers and relying on internal IT resources.

Digital Media & Marketing

To reduce operating costs and find more effective ways to attract and retain customers in the hyper-competitive airline industry, United Airlines is working with Microsoft to expand private cloud computing to the enterprise. United Airlines uses Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V Replica and Microsoft Azure Site Recovery to expedite the migration and consolidation of virtual machines and mission critical services to its new data center in Chicago and provide high availability services when hardware fails.

High Availability
By deploying thousands of Windows 8.1 tablets and taking advantage of Azure Data Factory in the cloud, Alaska Airlines differentiated itself from competitors and provided its customers with a better entertainment experience. Customer Engagement
With Azure, Jet has created a cloud infrastructure that’s ready to meet the company’s most ambitious growth plans. “To be one of the best e-commerce destinations in the US, we will have to handle millions of customers, placing tens of thousands of orders a day. That requires a top-class e-commerce system built on a flexible, open cloud platform. That is exactly what we got with Azure,” says Mike Hanrahan, , CTO at Jet Ecommerce
BlackBall, a Taiwanese restaurant chain, wanted better business intelligence (BI) to help support regional growth. With help from Fusionex, BlackBall implemented a Big Data solution in a hybrid cloud deployment based on Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise and Windows Azure HDInsight Service. The company is using new insight into data from multiple sources, including social media feedback and its own product sales, to improve its competitive advantage and make better marketing decisions. Analytics
Orckestra’s award-winning enterprise commerce platform Overture is the foundation of next-generation grocery, powering Sobeys’ new comprehensive omnichannel capabilities to drive seamless customer experiences across all stores, channels and digital touchpoints, and improve back-end operations to ensure orders are fulfilled accurately and on time. The national grocery giant launched their new online grocery experience across 247 of their 285 IGA stores in Quebec. Ecommerce
Chili's is using new Ziosk tablets, powered by Azure, to give diners more info on the menu and the option to pay for their meals directly. Analytics
Customer Engagement
McDonald's Sweden's Microsoft Azure system is named best-in-class across the fast food organisation's global operation. Users of the app get personalised offers based on their location, the time of day, the weather and personal purchasing habits. The importance of simplifying the back end while exploiting cloud technologies led McDonald's to choose Microsoft's Azure cloud platform. McDonald's developed the system in partnership with local digital agency Apegroup and mobile personalisation experts VMob. Customer Engagement
Seeing actual sales figures mapped against multiple variables brings new insights and immediate impact. For instance, the company’s Sales Waterfall Chart combines sales information and the effect of other variables to answer the question of why the sales increase or decrease over specific periods of time, such as days, weeks, months, or even years. This automated model actually finds the reasons why sales have changed. Now, instead of spending enormous amounts of time coming up with these answers, revenue growth managers can now slice and dice the effects of multiple variables, practically in real time. And that means they have more time to focus on business strategies, instead of analysis. Analytics
Devices can, and are, playing an important role in supporting JJF Food’s technological bridge. Orders are easier for restauranteurs with a mobile app that has the same predictive features as their web site and call center. Another mobile app allows drivers to know what, when, and where to make deliveries – simply by using their smartphone. Bluetooth technology is making a big difference for temperature-controlled deliveries. “Many of our products are temperature controlled, so we’ve added Bluetooth sensors to our trucks and via the drivers phone we receive real-time data for our whole fleet. The customers don’t see this, they just know that their orders arrive fresh every time,” says JJ Food’s COO. Analytics

By using Microsoft Azure, Callaway can deliver servers to remote offices in hours versus months and scale capacity quickly to ensure great reseller and consumer experiences on Callaway websites. It has also eliminated maintenance downtime that used to plague international offices. Callaway uses Windows Intune to proactively manage sales computers and keep salespeople productive. The company is also evaluating Microsoft hybrid cloud storage as a way to further reduce costs.

High Availability
Chronodrive pioneered the concept of online-to-drive-through grocery shopping in France. To ensure that its stores are stocked with the right products, the company upgraded cloud storage for its Microsoft Azure–hosted Slim4 inventory control application to Microsoft Azure Premium Storage. With the upgrade, Chronodrive halved its nightly batch-order processing time and expects to reduce excess inventory costs. Scalability & Performance

British fashion designer Paul Smith sought a vendor that offered interoperable, foundational technologies with the right combination of innovation and value. Paul used Windows Server, Hyper-V, and Microsoft System Center hybrid cloud and data center technologies to virtualize more than 80 percent of its servers, improve data center density by 200 percent, and save more than £840,000 (US$1.4 million) in IT costs in one year. It also reduced recovery time from 48 hours to 5 minutes for its mission-critical applications.

High Availability
Disaster Recovery
Harvey Norman reduces the risk and capital costs of launching online bargain site with highly flexible cloud hosting. With previous experience of Microsoft enterprise resource planning applications, they chose Microsoft Dynamics NAV to manage the site’s finance and supply chain operations. For the shopping interface, they chose an e-commerce retail storefront, custom-built by Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Hands-on Systems, which is capable of processing up to 100,000 transactions per hour. Ecommerce
Lacking a centralized platform to host APIs, Newmarket was unable to see how partners and customers were using its technology. And without detailed insight, it was almost impossible to monetize its APIs or provide support. After considerable research, Newmarket decided to host its APIs in the cloud on Microsoft Azure and to manage them with Azure API Management. API Management
With its explosive growth, The Absolut Company’s hosting platform had become quite complex, involving a number of agencies each with its own method and source code. Absolut websites were grouped together on single servers, and the work of maintaining the servers, which had grown in number to 25, was bogging down the marketing process. By using Microsoft SQL Server and Azure Web Apps, Episerver’s Digital Experience Cloud provides a platform as a solution that helps Absolut combine content and commerce and easily push it directly onto the company’s websites and across multiple channels. Digital Media & Marketing
In the airline business, security is paramount. In 2014, Garuda Indonesia (Garuda), the flag carrier of Indonesia, enhanced the security of its ticketing systems by redeploying its existing, open source e-commerce websites to the Microsoft cloud service, Azure. With expert onsite support from Microsoft consultants, the project took just six weeks. Today, Garuda’s customer data is protected by top-grade security on Azure and in-house web developers can maintain websites using their favourite open source technologies. Ecommerce
Kanoo Travel turned to Azure to run its Krystal Point-Of-Sale platform in the cloud. As a result, it gained much greater flexibility to expand and grow its business. Azure provides always available services and guaranteed high performance; supporting millions of transactions each year without a single instance of failure. At the same time, the company is able to develop systems on-site for large corporate clients to make ticket sales easier and ensure enhanced customer service. Cloud Based POS

Spirits and wine company Pernod Ricard USA had two weeks to build an event registration site for a 35-city tour. The company used Windows Azure to meet its deadline, delivering a compelling solution that can be maintained without technical assistance. In addition to meeting its immediate needs quickly and cost-effectively, Pernod Ricard USA now has a solution that requires no IT administration and easily scales to support new uses

Digital Media and Marketing
Not only to equip the company with a robust online store, but also to offer its customers a seamless experience between the physical stores and their online presence, with services like reserving a product online to be picked up at a physical store. The open-source solution Magento was chosen, together with hosting on Azure, whose flexibility was a good match for the company's needs. Today, their online store makes a significant contribution to Guy Degrenne's business, as 13% of customer sales come through this channel. Ecommerce
Pet Supplies Plus’s new system needed to work together across the organization—financial capabilities, inventory, procurement, point-of-sale, business intelligence, and ecommerce. The company looked to partner Junction Solutions for a single, end-to-end retail management solution that was inherently integrated and provided room for growth. By putting their business infrastructure in the cloud, Pet Supplies Plus gains both more flexibility while lowering costs. Infrastructure in the cloud
In 2013, Amway conducted a pilot test of a prerelease version of Microsoft SQL Server 2014 software, focusing on the software’s AlwaysOn Availability Groups for high availability and disaster recovery. That feature is based on multisite data clustering with failover to databases hosted both on-premises and in Windows Azure, the Microsoft cloud-computing platform. High Availability
Disaster Recovery
Casino’s e-commerce subsidiary Cdiscount has opted for Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform to accelerate its international expansion.  Nine new sites were thus deployed in record time thanks to the Azure Cloud. Ecommerce
Kwik Chek’s new technologies connect its customers’ mobile phones to gas pumps, store point of sale (POS) terminals, loyalty programs and more, while integrating existing store infrastructure and software that tracks inventory and fuel. The resulting connected system is transforming operations for the Texas-based chain, vastly improving reliability and efficiency of its processes and staff. It’s also enabling unprecedented insight into customer habits and desires, resulting in improved sales and inventory for Kwik Chek, and happier and more loyal customers across its 39 store locations in Texas and Oklahoma. IoT
Customer Engagement
Retailer Pier 1 Imports wanted to better connect with its customers using insights and data. To do that, the company took to the cloud to pilot a predictive analytics solution based on Microsoft Azure Machine Learning and Microsoft Power BI. As a result of the pilot, Pier 1 Imports may use data insights to predict which products customers will want in the future, create a dynamic website using predictive modeling and create more efficient and effective marketing campaigns. Analytics
Laura Geller Beauty needed to increase website capacity to support high traffic during sales and promotions. To ensure sufficient site performance, the company chose Blucarat Commerce, built on Windows Azure and created by New York–based e-commerce expert Blucarat. Laura Geller Beauty also chose Blucarat Social, which complements Blucarat Commerce with rich social-collaboration capabilities. Consequently, the company’s revenue and market reach have rapidly expanded. Ecommerce needed a highly scalable platform that would elastically and cost-effectively support periodic peaks in traffic. Traditional on-premise infrastructure or hosting service are not an option for one of the biggest e-commerce sites with perfumes and cosmetics in Poland. chose Microsoft Azure for its scalability and OSS interoperability. Ecommerce
All 400 service vehicles in the WASH fleet have GPS tracking tied into their computer systems, which has dramatically driven down fuel costs, thanks to better tracking and routing – to make sure the closest tech gets to a given location first. And, through Azure Machine Learning, customers are getting better service, too. Azure ML gives the company the power of predictive analytics, which leads to making sure techs are carrying the right parts. Analytics
kugellager-online GmbH & Co is using an Open Source E-Commerce Platform called nopCommerce on Azure. nopCommerce is ASP.NET (MVC) based with a MS SQL 2008 (or higher) backend database. Ecommerce
Sierra Flower Trading wanted to exploit growth opportunities, serve its customers better, and enhance its own efficiency by developing a cloud-based e-commerce environment. The company used Windows Azure to support the Sierra Flower Finder web 2.0 encyclopedia, and an e-commerce website for florists. Now Sierra Flower Trading has enhanced its business agility and reduced costs, while reaching new markets. Ecommerce
Ricoh Canada wanted to build a full-service web portal that would offer customers online access to the products and services they need. The company wanted a ready-made, easily scalable infrastructure, so it built and launched a customer service portal on Microsoft Azure. As a result, Ricoh Canada streamlined internal and customer business processes, lowered its infrastructure costs, enhanced customer satisfaction, and gained a competitive advantage. Web Portal
HHV Handels GmbH is a successful online retailer of vinyl, Streetwear and urban fashion. They deployed a SQL 2014 Datawarehouse VM on Azure to streamline their reporting. Data Platform
As business grew, Indiaplaza’s existing technology infrastructure could not handle the resulting spike in demand. The company decided to move to a cloud-based infrastructure and chose the Microsoft Azure platform for all its needs. As a result, Indiaplaza gained the scalability it wanted while avoiding capital expenses and reducing IT maintenance time by 100 percent Ecommerce is the largest online drugstore in Poland. It provides more than 10 thousand different products available for customers on virtual 'shelves', both of recognized brands and those that are rare but sought after. To ensure the full availability of the product range, there are 550-600 thousand packages of pharmaceuticals in the warehouse of store. The store competes not only through attractive prices, but also by providing comfortable and fast shopping experience. Ecommerce
RadioShack wanted to deliver timely and accurate product-availability information and promotional coupons to its customers and sales partners. The retailer worked with Pariveda Solutions to develop inventory and coupon management solutions based on Windows Azure, which helped RadioShack build better partnerships, enhance customer satisfaction, collect better data, and increase revenue, all at less cost. Customer Engagement
Zespri International is the most successful marketer of kiwifruit on the planet. After the business was disrupted by an earthquake and plant virus, Zespri decided to move its business-critical SAP systems to Microsoft Azure. With the move, Zespri will reduce IT costs by up to US$1 million, insulate the business against natural disasters, and gain instant IT scalability to accommodate global growth. Zespri can maintain great SAP performance by adding Azure resources in minutes. SAP on Azure

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