Friday, 7 July 2017

Why We Use Amazon Web Services - The Techy Bits

We recently shared how we improved our IT infrastructure to cope with challenges we faced with our partnership with 7-Eleven. After dealing with extreme peaks in one of the biggest online shopping holidays we needed to find a solution to avoid parcel build-ups in our warehouses and keep customers satisfied. We solved the problem by removing the need to use Excel Spreadsheets to manage inventory and replacing it with a cloud-based infrastructure and mobile app that was based on Amazon Web Services.  

With AWS we were able to auto-scale our servers. We choose AWS as they had low entry costs and we were able to pay for the services we used on a monthly basis. This flexibility made it possible to meet the demand during peak times in Taoboa, such as Double 11 and Chinese New Year.

A second challenge we faced when working to meet the management requirements for 7-Eleven’s parcel inventory was coming up with a way for all parties to coordinate shipments. The coordination platform needed to ensure everyone was kept informed, from the online retailers to our courier business units. 7-Eleven also requested that our system needed to support additional e-commerce merchants without affecting their core systems.  To achieve this goal we used AWS Lambda that made it possible to build a server-less backend. We also adopted the API Gateway so the different e-commerce merchant systems could all be easily integrated. Additionally, we also adopted AWS EC2 that made it possible to upload the inventory data to S3. We inserted a standard data structure with DynamoDB so all data formats could be standardised over all the 7-Eleven Stores.

After all the hard work, project manager Steven Kwok was proud to announce a 300% growth within the first six months of using AWS. Thanks to the new infrastructure we’re delivering over 1000 packages each day to the 370 7-Eleven stores we service. We are now providing a return service too.  Thanks to the simplicity of AWS we were able to launch the new project in 3 months. It’s safe, secure, efficient and SSL-compliant. The project is one of the contributing factors to helping us achieve ISO9001 accreditation. 

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