Business leaders are always looking for new and innovative ways to monetize digital properties, explore creative business models and engage the consumer across digital and physical touchpoints.
But all too often, these initiatives are hindered by legacy systems that are either incapable of supporting omnichannel requirements or require a series of patches and work-arounds that make them increasingly fragile.
For this reason, business and IT leaders are turning to more modern and flexible technology solutions. Microservices architecture solves the pains of the inflexible legacy monolith, enabling rapid development and delivery at significantly lower cost.
Microservices are particularly effective for solving unique digital channel requirements. At Infosys, we see these transformative projects every day in our digital consulting practice.
The following three case studies are examples of leading organizations that have leveraged microservices to unlock new streams of revenue and customer value.
Case study 1: National Wholesale Club
This big-box omnichannel retailer sells everything from furniture and electronics to high fashion and fresh produce. But it was unable to break into online grocery due to its aging and inflexible commerce platform. The retailer was also ill-equipped to use digital to support local shoppers with geo-specific pricing, offers, delivery or curbside pickup.
Additionally, the retailer wanted to give local store managers the ability to run their own store-level promotions based on the real-time condition of perishable goods. But the legacy system only supported centralized catalog management, with ‘one-price-fits-all’ control. To build this capability into its 12-year-old legacy system would have taken 18 months and several million dollars.
With microservices, the retailer not only went live in just three months – with a low six-figure investment – it also added the grocery department to its online catalog for the first time.
It didn’t stop there. Next, additional microservices were added to support local fulfillment of online grocery orders through Instacart and DoorDash, making its operations fully omnichannel.
Case study 2: Multinational CPG manufacturer
For consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands, direct-to-consumer digital is becoming increasingly critical to the marketing mix. But for most, the brand website is not the primary purchase channel for consumers, who typically buy their packaged goods from supermarkets, Amazon and third-party delivery apps, such as Instacart, Shipt and DoorDash.
While many CPG players are exploring transactional experiences and adding shopping carts to their websites, others are getting creative with content-and-commerce projects. One US$25 billion food manufacturer has turned its long-standing house magazine into a rich resource for recipes.
Using headless application programming interfaces (APIs) for commerce capabilities like catalog, search and recommendations, the company has transformed its recipe database into a shoppable utility. Readers can add ingredients to a shopping cart that can then be exported to the local channel partner of their choice – including Walmart, Target, Amazon Fresh and Target – to check out.
In addition to shoppable features, the recipe site serves as an effective way to ‘own’ customer data. Integrated with Consumer Genome, Infosys’s customer data platform – along with a loyalty module and AI-driven personalization – the CPG giant can now capture thousands of behavioral and demographic attributes to create ‘taste profiles’ for each registered user. This enables the house of brands to target a ‘segment of one’ with content and offers across the digital shelf.
Case study 3: Telecommunications provider
For telecoms, the business-to-business (B2B) segment is a highly profitable (and highly competitive) market. Compared to consumer accounts, corporates subscribe to a more varied range of value-added services, support tiers and add-on products, such as travel packs and personal hotspots. Demand for multiuser account management and digital self-serve tools means carriers that support these features win and retain more business.
This global telecom embarked on building a new self-service portal for end users of its business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) channel to service requests that are traditionally handled and serviced through third-party agencies. The portal enables employees to request voice minutes, data upgrades, new devices, repairs and other services directly through a website or mobile app.
Without microservices, it wouldn’t have been possible to add these B2C capabilities to the B2B commerce platform. The project began with adding custom cart and checkout microservices, with bespoke business logic tuned for its unique use cases and requirements.
The company continues to systematically replace components of its legacy monolith with microservices, in order of need and business value. Ultimately, microservices will completely ‘strangle’ the old platform, leaving the organization with a modernized, flexible and futureproof system end-to-end.
APIs: The future is flexible
There’s good news for brands, retailers and enterprises that want to digitally transform faster and with less risk than traditional rip-and-replace projects.
With microservices, new capabilities can be hooked in and around legacy systems to satisfy unique requirements, customize business logic and make rapid changes at significantly lower cost.
Are you ready to embrace an API-first future?
Written by Amit Kalley, CEO, Infosys Equinox