Bite-sized steps take Italian supermarkets away from legacy systems
Gruppo PAM is a large Italian supermarket chain facing many of the legacy software issues retailers face anywhere in the world. While it was not impossible to make changes, the pace of change was unnecessarily slow, and maintenance costs were high. IT had to find ways to keep with the pace of business changes and get legacy costs under control. Gruppo PAM’s Development Manager, Marco Bon, attended a conference where ThoughtWorks presented on how enterprises can evolve their legacy systems incrementally, with less time, waste and risk than complete replacement. The presentation was based on ThoughtWorks’ experience in real-world enterprise projects, and Guerilla Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) techniques. The Application Director arranged for ThoughtWorks to follow up with an intensive two-day workshop at Gruppo PAM so that they could satisfy themselves that this was a robust approach that would work for them and their business critical systems. Convinced, they asked ThoughtWorks to take on some complex and urgent business issues, and demonstrate that they could be solved relatively quickly and deliver significant value. ThoughtWorks began working on a high-profile project to deliver a new Pricing System that would work with the legacy systems. Using SOA and Continuous Delivery, the first portions of the new system were released in just 8 weeks, followed by continued incremental releases. Right away Gruppo Pam saw benefits as price survey updates took one week rather than three, and required far less manual effort by the Buyers. Buyers began to rely mostly on the new automated price recommendations, spiking productivity even higher.
Following that success, ThoughtWorks created a new system for vendor contract review and negotiations. The new Contract Negotiation system now tracks the top contributions to margins from thousands of agreements, and has achieved a fast ROI from higher margins, and faster supplier rebate payments.
Check out the full case study for more information about how SOA with service reuse, legacy ring-fencing and other techniques helped Gruppo PAM get these results without having to go through an expensive and painful legacy replacement.