Specsavers is a leading optical retailer that aims to provide the best value optometry and audiology services to its customers. With more than 1,900 stores across Europe and Australasia, Specsavers is always looking at innovative ways to improve its service and grow its business.
Together with the BJSS Managed Service team, Specsavers has enhanced its global e-commerce platform. The BJSS Managed Service has helped to make the e-commerce service more reliable, stable, and maintainable than ever before so Specsavers can continue to deliver an outstanding online customer experience.
Specsavers, the world’s largest privately owned optical group, is facing increasing levels of competition, and changing customer demands. The rise of e-commerce optical retailers has driven consumers away from making purchases in-store to online channels. As a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer, Specsavers had to make the shift to a brick-and-click model – offering both online and in-store purchasing channels. This led to the creation of its e-commerce platform, which has made Specsavers’ optical and audiology products available to purchase online. As the e-commerce platform grew in sophistication and was scaled across 11 countries, it became evident to Specsavers that the managed service of the platform was not keeping up. It had become unreliable and poorly managed, making it difficult for Specsavers to achieve its e-commerce ambitions, including the addition of more product types and serving a higher volume of customers. The managed service needed to evolve quickly to stabilise the platform and allow Specsavers to get back to focusing on growing its online business.
Specsavers selected BJSS as its new managed service partner. Our aim was to provide the support, maintenance and expansion of the e-commerce platform and the wider global web stack aspects of the solution. To achieve this, we commenced the engagement with a clear and straightforward service transition approach, which focused on three key aspects:
ITIL service transition – we took on and implemented robust practices to ensure ongoing support of the platform, covering SLAs and KPIs
Cloud platform take-on – we took on the ownership of the platform, code repository and technical release management
Technical take-on – we quickly gained a clear understanding of all aspects of the code to provide ongoing development
We then started to look at how the e-commerce platform could be improved to achieve higher levels of reliability, stability, security, and maintainability. This saw the team introduce agile ways of working to the service to support rapid delivery and increase the focus on quality. A roadmap of improvements was identified to remedy the stability and maintainability issues with the platform. This included the improvement of metrics and logging to identify problems and speed up diagnosis. The ease and speed of deployment was also improved to increase the development and release rates. Technical debt was reduced, and we have decreased the running costs of the AWS platform. In conjunction with our service improvements, we provide second and third line support for the platform through a 24/7 service desk for all eleven countries. This allows us to resolve complex incidents at pace, achieving minimum disruption.
Stability of the platform The BJSS Managed Service has improved the stability of the Specsavers’ e-commerce platform. The retailer is now able to effectively scale and modernise the platform so it can continue to provide an outstanding online customer experience. Since taking on the service, we have met 100% of SLAs and have had no service credits accrued. Incidents have been reduced by 30%, and release cycles have been shortened from three weeks to two when compared to the previous managed service.
Continuous improvement Unlike the previous managed service, the BJSS team is not just focused on incident resolution. The team is always looking at ways to improve the e-commerce platform. From improving processes and making innovative tech stack recommendations through to progressing pen test issue resolutions. These improvements have helped to make the e-commerce platform more resilient and secure than ever before, reducing the risk of significant security incidents and service downtime.
Agile ways of working As part of our aim to continuously improve the platform, we have introduced agile ways of working to the managed service. We work collaboratively with Specsavers as ‘one team’ to iteratively enhance the e-commerce platform. Our approach has helped speed up delivery and improve quality, all while keeping risk to a minimum. We have introduced more structure and control to the service through proven change management frameworks. Importantly, our approach has made the e-commerce platform more efficient to manage. We have automated processes where possible and documented our ways of working, enabling a seamless knowledge transfer from BJSS to Specsavers. We’ve taken Specsavers on the journey with us, helping its team to work with us in ways that are beneficial to how both organisations operate.