Yes, computer technology we cannot seem to do without it. Recent years have seen a massive increase in online activities including but not limited to, banking, insurance, bill management and payments, shopping, trading, news, music, electronic books, social media, online gaming, online film sites and many more.
The recent surge in people staying at home showed pressure in some unexpected and some familiar places. Some governments were asking Netflix and companies alike to reduce the bandwidth usage to reduce the stress on the broadband services. I will save the broadband discussion for another day.
Ocado – A case study
Let us look at Ocado if you read the about page, and it states they are the world’s largest dedicated online supermarket and it has a quarter of a million(250,000) active customers (of which I am one) and 15% share of the UK online market.
So what happened then? Why are we getting the above page? Well, for one, when companies say they are online, it does not mean they are in the cloud. They could have their server room somewhere in their head office, and this clearly cannot scale as quickly as possible. Or they may be in the cloud but have implemented a monolithic application.
I am sure that we do not have 108,668 people queuing where I live. This number as you can see is half way. We started off with over 250,000.
So they introduce the online queuing system. The queuing system could also do with an update if you insist on using one. Take a ticket and leave your mobile phone number when there are three people ahead of you get a text to let you know you are almost next in line ( yes it can be a paid service). Let us not dwell on this; there are more pressing IT strategy issues as well as architectural issues.
IT & Data Strategy
Why are IT and data strategy essential in the cloud age? A company that wishes to grow and scale quickly must have a mandate which comes from the board of the company. Failing this all efforts from IT will be futile. For an online business, a cloud strategy is a must if you want to grow your business.
What is in the cloud?
Cloud service providers offer a wide range of services that allow your digital business assets to be secure and scale seamlessly.
A lot of companies are afraid of putting their data in the cloud due mainly to security fears. I will touch briefly on some available services.
- Cloud providers offer protection for protecting data, protecting application and protecting your infrastructure.
- Webpages can be cached at a location closest to you, allowing for low latency.
- Identity management allows you to create users, groups, roles and policies.
- Guarantees no loss of data so data will be there when you need it.
- Speed of access. Customers get fast and reliable access
- Allows an application to meet demand seamlessly when required. In other words, to the end-user nothing changes.
- Resources automatically get added as volume increases.
- As the volume decreases, the resources are released.
Networking and elasticity in the cloud
In the example case, Ocado, auto-scaling and load balancing seems to be an issue.
How will I implement the Ocado online platform differently?
- Move it to the cloud if it is not already there. e.g. Amazon Web Service (AWS ), Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Microsoft Azure.
- Use implement a scaling strategy this will allow your site to autoscale
- Partition the online service by location. Each user should be able to request a service base on their location. The calendar is not a global calendar so I am not sure what went wrong here.
It is pointless for a customer to wait on a queue for 6hrs and lose their place because it is their turn on the queue at 4 am and well it is sleep time.
One thing is for sure it seems the whole country is in one queue.