Case Study

Real-time Operational Intelligence Keeps Otto Group Running 24/7

Executive Summary

Founded in 1949, the Otto Group (Otto) is a worldwide-operating retail and services group comprised of over 120 companies in more than 20 countries. With more than 53,000 employees worldwide, Otto Group is the world's biggest online retailer for fashion and lifestyle products, and the world's second largest web retailer, overall.  Otto Group needed a real-time monitoring solution that could provide operational and digital intelligence across its complex infrastructure. Since deploying Splunk Enterprise, Otto Group has seen benefits including:

  • Increased operational efficiency
  • Reduced downtime
  • Improved speed and quality of new software deployment
    • Could only monitor call centers individually, not as a whole
    • Had to recognize and resolve system errors
    • Needed to speed up and stabilize rollout of new solutions across the group
    • Wanted to optimize code before production
Business Impact
    • Increase in operational efficiency
    • Faster and more accurate troubleshooting
    • Optimized maintenance; reduced downtime
    • Increased satisfaction with GTP (IT service provider)
    • Improved testing and system optimization before going into production
Data Sources
    • Application & transaction logs from call center software
    • Syslog files
    • Business operations data
    • KPI measurements of end-to-end business workflows


Why Splunk

In addition to its online stores and warehouse management, some of the most critical systems at Otto Group, which need to be up and running 24/7, are its CRM call-center application and the central processing system. The central processing system runs on a distributed and complex infrastructure and processes all customer, product and order information. The system comprises all 20 Otto Group call centers in Germany, as well as the largest Otto Group web store.

Group Technology Partner (GTP), the IT service provider of the Otto Group, initially deployed Splunk Enterprise to achieve a consolidated monitoring approach and gain insight across its transactional infrastructure (it has an SOA based architecture set-up with databases, application server and client applications).

Splunk software was initially used as part of the monitoring system for production use. Soon, the 10GB (per day) license wasn't enough, as GTP realized the full potential of the Splunk solution and upgraded to a 100GB (per day) license. The use of Splunk Enterprise has also been expanded to the development and QA testing environments. Now, in addition to monitoring, GTP is using the software in a Dev/Ops capacity to optimize code, configurations and setups before they go into production. The operations team also uses Splunk software for reporting and analytics.

“The Splunk solution allows us to simply and quickly identify, analyze and fix problems such as failures, work processes and delays. Furthermore Splunk Enterprise helps us with achieving our KPIs through identifying the actual system stability and performance. Splunk is indispensable in our daily work.”

Michael Otremba, Department Manager, Customer Care Center Software Development, Otto Group

Harnessing machine data to achieve operational excellence

Before deploying the Splunk solution, GTP could only monitor exceptions within single call centers. Through utilizing Splunk Enterprise, all 20 of Otto Group's call centers can now be monitored in real time, including 100 percent of all relevant backend requests. This ability has significantly improved GTP’s ability to recognize, identify and solve system errors, often before they can impact users. In addition, the time it takes to resolve problems has been significantly reduced, overall downtimes have been decreased and maintenance has been optimized. Thanks to Splunk software, when a call center reports a failure to support, GTP is already aware of the problem. The average time to act on a highlighted issue has now decreased to five minutes.

Speeding up launches and meeting compliance requirements

Introducing Splunk to the development and QA testing teams has increased the speed and ability to launch more stable solutions and set-ups into the production environment. As a result, the quality of software deployments has improved significantly. Splunk software has also been deployed in network operations at Otto Group to monitor its switches and internal proxy servers. As an added benefit, Splunk software's long term data retention helps Otto address German compliance requirements by saving internal proxy server logs for 90 days. Furthermore Splunk Enterprise offers analysis that wasn't possible with the previous log management solution. 

Building on Operational Intelligence to achieve Dev/Ops excellence

Catalogue business, e-commerce and over-the-counter retail are the three pillars of the Otto Group's multichannel retail strategy. Splunk software has saved the whole Otto Group valuable resources because it needs so little configuration. It has helped create increased collaboration between Dev and Ops, streamlining development efforts. GTP has a very complex SOA architecture and Splunk has made multi-system analysis much easier.

Splunk has helped GTP to innovate new ideas that help Otto Group gain Operational Intelligence across its infrastructure. The Splunk solution is being used to create a real-time hourly "Top Seller" list for the customer care center software client and to deliver data for a mobile KPI-App. It is also used within the procurement department to monitor the procurement system and provide troubleshooting and analytics.