ASOS Enabled to Keep Pace with Growing IT Demands

As one of the largest online fashion businesses, ASOS found it difficult to keep pace with growing IT demands. NaviSite helped enable the company to provision test environments faster and to decrease the time from testing to production.

Introduction to ASOS is one of the world’s largest online-only fashion and beauty businesses. Primarily aimed at fashion loving 18–34 year old men and women, ASOS sells over 50,000 branded and own label product lines across womenswear, menswear, footwear, accessories, jewelery and beauty. ASOS has over 21.3 million unique visitors a month and 7.1 million active customers and ships to 234 countries and territories across the world for free. ASOS is a highly successful UK-based e-tailer undergoing rapid expansion.

Finding a replacement for an out-dated, on-premises IT infrastructure

Given the growth in the business, it quickly became clear that ASOS’ existing testing and development systems could no longer scale to the number of environments needed to meet the demanding goals for the business. The aging, in-house infrastructure was unable keep pace with the company’s remarkable 30 per cent plus year-on-year growth, putting the company at risk of not being able to meet demand and leave customers looking elsewhere. It was clear that ASOS needed a new, scalable and robust, solution.

The company growth was also driving international expansion and this required setting up new offices at remote locations across this world. Getting the new offices up and running and ensuring that staff has access to all the tools they required was a complex task due to the extensive range of IT services that had to be set up and configured for different work groups before local staff could be productive.

The confidence to transition mission-critical systems to NaviSite

Pete Marsden, CIO, at ASOS soon realised that only a cloud solution would provide them with the flexibility they required. When Pete searched for potential vendors, he wasn’t just looking for a technology provider, but rather a genuine partner who would be able to support their ongoing business goals. After a rigorous selection process ASOS chose NaviSite as their Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) partner.

For IaaS, ASOS used NaviCloud® –NaviSite’s enterprise-grade laaS offering -which is based on best-of-breed infrastructure, giving ASOS confidence to outsource this mission-critical development. Initially ASOS moved its Microsoft TFS development environment across to NaviCloud. The ease of setting up new development environments in the cloud, when compared to the on-premise alternative, was immediately appealing to the IT department.

ASOS was so impressed with the NaviCloud platform's performance that the company soon switched two of its most important production systems into the cloud. ASOS Fashion Finder and ASOS Marketplace are rich, interactive environments that bring fashion designers, boutiques, buyers, individual sellers, vintage traders and style leaders closer together. They also provide a significant revenue stream for the company.

The software through which ASOS delivers its services is a key differentiator for the business and keeping this secure is paramount for ASOS to remain competitive. ASOS uses overseas developers for some aspects of testing and development and in order to ensure that overseas developers can access all of the development tools to create new code, but also to ensure that this information was kept safe, they turned to NaviSite’s Desktop-as-a-Service offering.

NaviCloud® Desktops presents the contract programmers with a virtual desktop with all of the tools that they need to develop and test application code. It also ensures that they only have access to the data which they need for their role. ASOS can disable USB ports, CD-ROM drives, clipboards, and even the print facility, to prevent removal of any data at any time.

Harnessing enterprise-class technology to drive sales and overall business success

With NaviSite’s cloud solutions, ASOS has continued to develop their online platform which enables the company to deliver an innovative and award winning fashion offering to its customers.

In January 2014 ASOS posted a 38 per cent increase in global sales and a 37 per cent increase in sales in the UK. Revenues for the final four months of 2013 totaled £335.7m and a total of two million orders were dispatched. NaviCloud provided ASOS developers with a true self-service model enabling them to activate a test environment within a day. Previously, that could have taken ASOS two weeks.

ASOS also reduced the time to move from testing to production from 16 weeks to 2 days and they regularly make multiple software releases in one day using the NaviCloud platform. As well as enhanced agility and convenience, NaviCloud has improved financial accountability. It gives ASOS end-to-end budget control because it can attach a specific cost to every development environment and project.

ASOS chose to partner with NaviSite because of their flexible cloud computing solutions. With NaviSite’s infrastructure-as-a-service and Desktop-as-a-Service, ASOS has managed to support its remarkable 30 percent plus year-on-year growth and to expand into new global territories.