Picture a scenario where you are analyzing the results of a marketing survey which shows that a high percentage of consumers prefer same day shipping, online tracking of their orders, choice of shipping options, and deliveries within a specific time slot. Then you find out that retailers already fulfill around 65% of these needs, but there is a gap in the market, a gap that you can fill by offering a novel service. This is precisely what a UK-based logistics and delivery service provider did when they developed their delivery service, which allows shoppers to receive their orders during a one hour time slot of their choice without extra costs.
“We wanted to positively disrupt the time slot delivery space. In doing so, we wanted to build an API ecosystem that sparks interaction, open new channels and reach new streams of revenue,” says a Senior Solutions Consultant at the logistics and delivery service provider. At the heart of of this project was generating value for users and driving innovation, “This delivery service is all about convenience for consumers, be it as a fulfillment method or in terms of collection and delivery time slots. We also wanted to simplify integration and create a developer community through our API ecosystem,” he adds.
Defining the key challenges was one of the first steps before introducing the delivery service to consumers. To begin with, the organization had to move their data centers to the cloud in order to become a cloud native platform. They also had to create open RESTful APIs, enable identity federation, foster innovation so that it can result in a community of developers who will think up new marketable ideas and simplify integration. Selecting open source software is one of main tenets at this organization, and as such, they set about developing an open source platform made of WSO2’s API management, integration and identity and access management capabilities, using a DevOps approach. Meanwhile, the architecture was developed using Apache’s Tomcat and Cassandra, and WSO2Carbon used for continuous deployment.
By placing API management at its core, they were able to achieve the required functionality and formed their innovation community (an interesting anecdote on the latter, aa event was organized where high profile companies sent teams of developers to build innovative products within 24 hours. Results have been quite amazing with an added bonus of introducing the organization to new leads).
From a business perspective, implementing this project was primarily underpinned by issues of costs, in addition to those of speed, integration, lifecycle, and skillset. When this organization introduced more complexity into the system, this also meant they potentially introduced a time lag. Yet, can this platform control costs through simplification and reuse? Is there a way to save time by simplifying integration? Is the skillset future proof? Can they model the whole lifecycle?
The delivery service answers all the above with a yes. This cloud native platform has empowered the logistics and service delivery provide to enter the market with an adaptable platform, which allows developers to self-sign and begin using the APIs, it is integrated as there are multiple systems working together, they have also connected data and devices, integrated platforms with those of their partners, and connected the user experiences of both customers and partners. Following their successes in the UK, plans are underway to make this delivery service a global phenomenon and this organization is certain they can achieve this with the right technology.