Case Study

Surfdome Upgrades E-Commerce Performance With Operational Intelligence

Executive Summary

Surfdome is Europe’s premier action sports and lifestyle retailer. Headquartered in the UK, established in 2006 and now part of the Surfstich Group, the company stocks more than 10,500 product lines across activities from surfing to skating. Surfdome wanted to ensure that it had access to Operational Intelligence across its e-commerce platform to support its international growth. Since deploying Splunk Cloud, Surfdome has seen benefits including:

  • Enhanced visibility over entire e-commerce platform
  • Improved troubleshooting capabilities
  • Immediate deployment with fast time to value
    • Legacy technology unable to cope with modern e-commerce
    • Difficulty identifying problems in infrastructure
    • Previous challenge in gaining real-time operational visibility over log data
    • Gain knowledge and intelligence from machine generated data
    • Provide automatic alerts to operators and business stakeholders
Business Impact
    • Comprehensive troubleshooting capability has improved e-commerce performance
    • Alerts mean proactive maintenance can be carried out on problem areas before they cause disruption to customers
    • The use of dashboards means that customer experience can be monitored carefully, ensuring a smooth website experience for each visitor
    • Increased visibility of systems status and inter-systems communications
    • Integrate machine data and logs into Slack for a better ChatOps experience
Data Sources
    • E-commerce applications
    • Web server logs
    • Middleware logs
    • CVM logs
    • DB logs
    • Integrations logs
    • Service management applications
    • CDN logs

Why Splunk

Surfdome has experienced rapid growth since it was established 10 years ago. To continue this momentum and support future international growth, the company decided to transform its entire e-commerce infrastructure. This meant moving away from the legacy technology it had traditionally used and investing in a cloud-first strategy. Surfdome moved the bulk of its e-commerce infrastructure to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and initially selected open-source tools to provide search, analytics and data visualization across its infrastructure. However, having experienced significant challenges in the implementation and maintenance of these tools, Surfdome recognized the need to look for alternatives. The fast time to value offered by Splunk Cloud’s ability to provide single-pane-of-glass visibility across the entire e-commerce infrastructure made it a compelling proposition.

“Splunk Cloud is a key part of our e-commerce operation and has helped us to expand our business without compromising on customer experience. With access to Operational Intelligence, we can anticipate problems anywhere in our platform before they happen.” 

Jose Pettoruti, Head of Infrastructure

Real-time hybrid monitoring enhances e-commerce experience

Surfdome now has complete visibility across the entirety of its e-commerce platform, including both cloud and on-premises elements. This has provided valuable insight into the online performance of Surfdome, critical to ensuring that the business is operating as effectively as possible. Having centralized access to its data has allowed Surfdome to establish Splunk dashboards that monitor the entire e-commerce platform around the clock. Prior to Splunk Cloud, if a new warehouse or integrations technology was implemented, and subsequently, a problem occurred elsewhere in the system, it was difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for the issue. With enhanced visibility into log data, it has become far easier for Surfdome to ensure that changes or upgrades don’t affect any aspect of the online shopping experience. 

Improved ability to proactively address problems

The improved visibility across the e-commerce infrastructure has meant the troubleshooting process has become quicker and more sophisticated. Previously, Surfdome had relied heavily on system metrics from each element of the infrastructure to understand whether a problem was affecting service. This provided only a degree of insight into any problem and no indication as to how it should be rectified. Introducing log data into the equation speeds up the troubleshooting process, leading to short resolution times and proactive maintenance. With a large number of alerts now established through Splunk Cloud, Surfdome is made aware of a potential problem before it occurs along with specific details on the log data generated. For example, if a customer is using the website and its response time falls below a certain level, the Surfdome team is informed. This allows for a speedy resolution of the problem and minimized impact on the overall customer experience. 

Splunk Cloud deployment growing to support the business

While the current use of Splunk Cloud is focused on IT operations, Surfdome is looking to make further use of the log data within the wider business. In particular it plans to use Splunk Cloud to provide detail on areas such as real-time order volumes and values to help with business planning. In addition, as Surfdome grows and begins to provide select IT services to other units within the Surfstich group, Surfdome will be able to easily expand its Splunk Cloud deployment.