Arcadia Group, one of the UK’s largest retailers, had the U.S. market in their sights. But one obstacle stood between them and a flagship opening – an outdated, expensive to maintain, and yet indispensable legacy ERP system.
Arcadia figured it would take six months using the existing technology platform to make the necessary changes themselves. With less time than that until the store opening, they were close to signing a deal for the modifications with a vendor – a very costly deal – when their head of development heard about ThoughtWorks Retail and a low-cost alternative called Guerilla SOA. Their CIO investigated carefully, and decided the approach was not only economically appealing, but was lower-risk and offered the benefit of a systematic way to replace the legacy mainframe architecture over time, without an all-or-nothing project.
ThoughtWorks came on board to lead and assist the client’s staff in a ten-week intensive project. This project built services over top of the legacy code with a web front-end to allow the U.S. warehouse to tap into their Asia supply chain. Within two weeks, the team was trying the services out. Users were amazed at the quick progress as well as the quality of what was shown each week; the retailer’s management particularly liked the predictability of ThoughtWorks’ iterative delivery process.
Before the end of the ten week project, the new services and front-end were in production and being supplemented with ‘nice-to-have’ extras. Shortly afterwards, the first U.S. store opened – without being delayed by technology.