Travis Perkins, UK’s largest supplier of building materials, embarked on their digital transformation journey last year in the hopes of enhancing customer experiences, growing their business and improving the usability of their systems. At WSO2Con EU 2017, Christopher Stone, the head of integration at Travis Perkins, talked about the steps they took to go digital with the help of WSO2 technology and key partners.
To help understand Travis Perkins’ current situation, Christopher used an analogy coined by their previous CIO Neil Pearce - the house of IT.
By looking at all the areas of the house that need improvement, Travis Perkins realized that they needed to adopt integration technologies that would allow their systems to be flexible, future-proof, innovative, and reactive. “Integration is the plumbing, electrical wiring, and foundation — basically the rooms of the house,” said Christopher. “Effective integration and quality data are the key enablers for our digital agenda that is built on a solid foundation such as reliable cloud infrastructure and networking.”
Once Christopher explained this analogy, he explored how they previously worked on integration projects. He would most likely be a part of a program delivery team who is pressured to deliver fast and within a strict budget. This hinders their vision of the overall enterprise benefits and results in a point-to-point spaghetti architecture that leads to high maintenance costs, difficult to support, inconsistent standards, reliability issues, and limited reusability.
Today, Travis Perkins has a central integration layer powered by WSO2 integration and API management products. Services are developed according to project requirements, but built with the entire enterprise in mind using a set of policies, patterns, and standards governed by the project diagnostic team. This results in maximum reusability, easier support and maintenance, and continuous improvement in delivery, quality, and speed. The replacement of their core ERP system from a legacy system to an ERP vendor named M3, for sales order entry, sales order management, pricing, tool hire, finance, and supply chain is the largest program Christopher’s team is currently delivering on. But they have been involved in various other integration projects too. “The right tools combined with the correct mindset, architecture, and governance allows you to meet your goals in achieving good enterprise integration which benefits your company as a whole,” he says.
Many external parties helped Travis Perkins along their journey. In their early days, Wheeve, integration technology experts partnered with WSO2, gave them a theoretical and conceptual mindset on how an integration department should run. They helped set up the department and build up the team and aided them with their architecture and processes. During the delivery phase, Travis Perkins’ engineers and analysts were supplemented by ICT solutions providers partnered with WSO2 — Chakray and Mitra Innovation. They offered integration specialists well-versed in the WSO2 platform who helped analyze the requirements and worked in an Agile Scrum fashion to deliver the projects. “They have helped us come leaps and bounds, not only in delivering projects but also in terms of learning from their experience and knowledge of the WSO2 platform,” said Christopher.
“WSO2 is a great platform. It enables us to deliver quickly and complements our strategy to utilize open source technology wherever possible,” Christopher concluded. “When any of our engineers come across difficulties in development, the WSO2 Subscription gives us great SLA’s. We don’t need to use production maintenance support very often, but when it does happen we have a very good relationship with WSO2 for them to support us in getting back to business as usual.”
To learn more about how Travis Perkins is successfully traversing its digital transformation path, watch Christopher’s video at WSO2Con EU 2017 below.