Cloud technologies help to shorten time to market for enterprise-class loyalty programmes

OVH and Divante

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10+
years on the market

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150+
people on board

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300+
projects developed

Executive summary

One of the biggest eCommerce software houses in Europe, Divante delivers enterprise-class eCommerce solutions, based on cutting-edge technologies. Headquartered in Wrocław, the company employs over 150 experts, with strong competencies in Pimcore and Magento integration projects. 

While working with multiple companies across Europe from the retail sector, Divante identified several fundamental business challenges that those companies need to overcome to increase sales and enhance their user experience. The high customer acquisition cost (CAC), lack of a centralised customer and transaction database, and high percentage of one-time buyers are the key areas online merchants are struggling with. A customised loyalty programme can tackle those challenges head-on.

“At Divante, we have always been focused on technologies that drive business – especially eCommerce. Our motivation to create our Open Loyalty platform emerged from the business needs of our customers.”

Piotr Karwatka, CTO of Divante

But bringing enterprise eCommerce businesses closer to their customers through loyalty programmes was only one of Divante’s objectives while developing Open Loyalty. The company wanted to offer the same opportunities for building long-lasting relationships with customers to all online merchants, regardless of their size. 

This is where cloud technology enters the game. By introducing a software-as-a-service (SaaS) version of Open Loyalty, based on cloud technologies, Divante breaks the entry barriers of high costs and long implementation, putting it within reach of all online merchants.

Piotr Karwatka, CTO of Divante, sat down with us to discuss how moving to the OVH Private Cloud helped them rapidly and successfully implement this new loyalty platform for their customers.

The challenge

Boosting time to market for loyalty programmes

For years, Divante has been working with financial, retail and B2B sector companies, designing bespoke software for them. As a result, they were fully aware of the technological challenges that lay ahead for any such project. The lengthy development phase and high cost of implementation for a custom-made loyalty platform made it impossible for companies to introduce it as a proof of concept, putting it out of reach for small and medium-sized online retailers.

Divante, aiming to help eCommerce companies to increase the number of touchpoints with their customers in order to build long-term relationships, has developed the open-source Open Loyalty platform, which offers a full range of loyalty features, as well as tools to create a range of applications, such as loyalty modules for eCommerce, motivational programmes for sales teams and full loyalty programmes with supporting mobile apps.

To deliver Open Loyalty as a SaaS solution, Divante needed a fully managed and scalable infrastructure. The Dedicated Server infrastructure they had been using previously at OVH, though cost-effective and reliable, didn’t offer the level of ready-to-use automation required for their new platform.

Divante diagram

 

The solution

Kubernetes on vSphere to host the Open Loyalty SaaS

Divante has been working with OVH for several years, using numerous services from the company’s Dedicated and Cloud portfolios. The core of their infrastructure at OVH was based on Dedicated Servers, serving heterogenous applications for multiple projects.

In December 2016, when the company started looking for an easier to scale and more automated solution on which to host their SaaS Open Loyalty platform, they once again chose OVH as their provider.

To ensure that the new Private Cloud infrastructure would be up to the task, OVH offered Divante a monthly trial. This way, Divante’s IT experts could get a hands-on experience of the proposed solution before coming to a decision. As they were already familiar with both VMware technology and the OVH Private Cloud, this trial went smoothly, and they then adopted the new cloud infrastructure on a permanent basis.

Besides the scalability, the infrastructure security was a key requirement for Divante. The Open Loyalty platform hosts huge amounts of personal data, and it is therefore crucial for the company to provide adequate data protection. OVH guarantees that the Private Cloud IaaS is in accordance with European data protection regulations (particularly the GDPR) and offers a high level of security, as dedicated and network resources are not shared in any way. This provided Divante with the peace of mind they were looking for

Kubernetes on vSphere

Divante’s Open Loyalty SaaS is making full use of Kubernetes (K8s): an orchestration platform for automating the deployment and scaling of application containers across clusters of hosts. 

Kubernetes is an extensible open-source software tool for managing containerised workloads and services. It consists of a master and various nodes. The nodes in K8s act as the compute resources, while the master is the management plane of the distributed system. The “etcd.” is a key-value store which contains the cluster configuration. In Kubernetes, a node can run multiple pods, and a pod can run multiple containers. The applications are run inside the containers. Deploying Kubernetes on vSphere helps maintain applications’ resilience and high availability. 

As the project grows, so too does the demand for resources. For this reason, the Private Cloud with VMware vSphere interface, enriched by OVH network and resource add-ons, allows for instant orders and the rapid deployment of new hosts and datastores. These features allow Divante to scale their infrastructure easily, and along with a distributed resource scheduler (DRS), they balance computing workloads automatically within the available resources. The infrastructure consists of L+ hosts and four datastores. Two of these are SSD-based storage solutions, providing higher throughput and lower latency than standard disks. 

The result

The accelerated implementation of a first-class loyalty platform

The Open Loyalty SaaS is a game changer for the retail market. Previously, when an enterprise chose to launch a loyalty programme, they’d start with a costly market research. The development process would then take at least several months, and cost tens of thousands of euros, before it was even possible to estimate the programme’s potential ROI. 

Now, the cloud-hosted Open Loyalty offers the opportunity to start a proof of concept at the minimum cost, enabling companies to test and experiment in order to define the right benefit strategy for their customers. 

Thanks to using Kubernetes in the Private Cloud environment, Divante can deliver Open Loyalty instances within several minutes and securely separate client applications. Since more demanding customers require an extensive amount of resources, Kubernetes’ resource pools allow Divante to scale out their application to a cluster of OVH Dedicated Servers.

Divante has partnered with OVH for several reasons. The company required a European provider that is dedicated to personal data protection and possesses a deep understanding of the eCommerce market. Furthermore, OVH’s recent investments in datacentres all over Europe have opened up the possibility for Divante to replicate their infrastructure in different locations, allowing them to host their customers’ data in their native countries whenever required.

“Thanks to the cloud approach, the timeline for the typical implementation of Open Loyalty is between just 2 to 12 weeks.” 

Piotr Karwatka, CTO of Divante

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