When developing modern IT solutions, it is not always feasible to completely replace or rewrite legacy applications. Software development is expensive, and the benefits of a new system may not always outweigh the costs. New development may introduce issues in processes and calculations that have matured over time in legacy software.
Pepkor recognized that by API-enabling their legacy systems, the company could avoid many risks and costs, while also benefiting from modern technologies such as mobile, web, bots, third-party services, and a variety of cloud services.
A modern enterprise's software landscape is frequently a mash-up of different components, including in-house apps, off-the-shelf solutions, and now software as a service (SaaS) hosted in the cloud. It is difficult to make all of these components work together and meet the service level agreements (SLAs) required by the business. The implementation of an integration strategy, supported by a mature and scalable integration platform, assists Pepkor in meeting these objectives as it develops solutions for the retail industry.
Country: South Africa
Pepkor is a South African retailer with 5,500 stores spread across 10 African countries, giving it the largest store footprint of any retailer in Southern Africa.
Pepkor was founded over a century ago and quickly established a reputation for providing South Africans with the right products at the right price. Over the years, the group's footprint has steadily expanded to include significant reach into Southern Africa, as well as a limited range of other African economies.
The majority of Pepkor's retail brands operate in the discount and value market segment, which has natural resilience due to customers' ability to buy 'up' or 'down' based on their budgets and economic conditions.
To realize this vision, Pepkor deployed WSO2 Enterprise Integrator. The integration layer was able to directly connect to databases in order to convert stored procedures into Web Services and RESTful calls. File-based integrations, such as FTP or corporate share drives, could be converted into XML or JSON messages and delivered to systems via APIs. Integrating with proprietary protocols — such as SAP, Business Application Programming Interfaces (BAPI), etc. — was made easier by utilizing connectors available from WSO2's Connector Store.
These integrations, as well as legacy and new APIs, are made available through the corporate API Store. WSO2 API Manager ensures that all software assets can be shopped in a single location, regardless of the software system or its development/product owner's location. Internal software developers as well as those from external vendors and partners can interact with in-house systems regardless of their technology. The required source code to connect to these APIs in over 20 different languages can be auto-generated, cutting development time in half.
For hosting and services, Pepkor employs a hybrid on-premises infrastructure and cloud providers. All parties, regardless of location, must have access to software and services. WSO2 API Manager ensures a unified view of the corporate API landscape, while the integration runtime ensures connectivity between the various locations as needed.
Corporate users are managed in multiple on-premises Active Directory instances, one for each of Pepkor's retail brands, as well as the new cloud environments implemented across the organization. External customer credentials are stored in a variety of software-specific data sources, such as databases and LDAP services. WSO2 Identity Server was installed to unify all of these instances in order to create a single view of all users. The duplication of user accounts was avoided by merging them into a single federated identity.
The software's single sign-on functionality benefits web-based applications. Externally facing applications can also use the same platform to integrate social media authentication, eliminating the need to keep these credentials in-house. These processes generate security tokens that can be used to access all modern applications and APIs consistently.
Pepkor can leverage its existing IT and human resources while strategically embracing new capabilities enabled by modern applications and/or cloud services thanks to WSO2's Enterprise Integrator. Both are critical to the success of a modern retailer, and this is certainly true in the case of Pepkor.
Access to legacy databases was reduced from one month to two days as part of the integration effort. The company can now securely expose new APIs with consumers in just one hour, compared to one week previously. The time it took to integrate user identity management into applications was reduced from months to days.
By using WSO2's Integration Platform, Pepkor IT was able to modernise and digitally transform core data and services in its Systems of Record, rather than replace them with costly new solutions - bridging the gap between connecting legacy applications and modern applications in a heterogeneous IT environment.”
Natasha Kriel, Enterprise Architect
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