Moving a retail icon to AWS

The opportunity at a glance

A scalable, robust and resilient platform to enable the organisation to better customise the experience they deliver to customers.


Customer overview

Our customer is a leader in Australian department store retailing. They have a footprint of 67 stores in prime retail locations supported by online, digital and mobile capabilities.

Business challenge

Our customer had identified a strategic objective to improve agility and further reduce the cost of running their eCommerce platform.

As a result, a project was initiated with a focus on:

  • relocating existing eCommerce infrastructure from a traditional data centre into AWS and

  • improving the customer experience, particularly on mobile devices.

They recognised that to meet their customers’ needs, the platform would have to flex as demands changed, whilst also allowing them to deliver change regularly with confidence.

To do this successfully, the organisation needed access to expertise and experience in moving large-scale complex systems into AWS. This would include guidance and direction on best practice methods for migration, as well as assistance in re-architecting the ecosystem to best utilise the AWS platform.


With strong experience in migrating existing workloads to the cloud as well as solid capability to design cloud-scaled solutions, Cevo joined the team to accelerate the project.

The proposed approach consisted of three key actions:

  • ‘Lift and Shift’ the legacy ordering and fulfilment platform

  • Move the existing Commerce platform

  • Re-imagine the customer experience with a mobile-first, cloud-scaled solution

These three activities needed to be executed in parallel to achieve the ambitious sales uplift and innovation targets demanded by the business.

At project initiation, Cevo collaborated with internal teams to create a migration roadmap. This required pragmatic prioritisation as well as decisions around people, process and technologies. The development of the roadmap included an initial proof of concept to validate the technology stack and proposed methodology. This also involved defining the problem, identifying the ‘unknowns’ as well as gaps in the architecture and current systems.

Migration of the backend systems to AWS was then undertaken, incorporating repeatable infrastructure deployments as well as Ansible automation for application deployment and configuration management. In addition, the team migrated the in-house alerting and monitoring solution to SaaS with consideration for cloud and scaling. Continuous delivery was key to this engagement to give the group the ability to deploy regularly and get feedback from the platform on the migration strategy.

To achieve the migration task, Cevo assisted in tailoring an Agile delivery approach aligned with the capability and maturity of the project team. Mentoring, upskilling and capability building was also central to ensuring internal teams had the confidence to run the platform on AWS going forward.


The benefits to our customer in completing a migration of this magnitude are significant. The platform is now scalable, robust and resilient allowing the organisation to better customise their front-end user experience and create online interaction that delights customers.

Key outcomes include:

  • The migration to AWS is expected to produce material year on year cost savings through infrastructure right-sizing
  • The improvements to the platform and the ability to accommodate ongoing customer traffic growth should also result in further revenue increases
  • An observed marked performance and customer experience improvements on the e-commerce platform. Response times have halved, and no downtime was experienced through subsequent peak trade periods including 2018 Cyber Weekend and Christmas
  • Continuous Delivery has reduced the release cycle time from six-weekly to weekly. As a result, they now have the capability to deliver incremental improvements and value to their customers more frequently
  • Throughput and productivity has been uplifted with the availability of ‘on demand’ development environments
  • Cost savings through a reduction in active Windows licences
  • Increased confidence in all aspects of deployments, through automation and infrastructure as code
  • Increased security through an uplift in security scanning and patch awareness

These outcomes mean the organisation can innovate and move faster in response to market threats or opportunities, and be a more modern omni-channel retailer.