Case study

Scalable Digital Asset Management Solution on the AWS Cloud

Reducing costs and improving the customer experience with a bespoke digital asset management solution built on Amazon Web Services

Cloud & DevOpsPlatform DevelopmentRetail

Project snapshot

Our client, City Plumbing, is an award-winning British plumbing and heating company that owns nine successful businesses with 4,500+ employees across 350+ branches and sites around the UK and Ireland. They faced challenges with their digital asset management solution, including high annual costs, a poor user experience, and permission management constraints.

A team of Intellias engineers worked closely with the City Plumbing IT and business teams to implement a tailored solution using AWS. This solution reduced monthly maintenance and licensing costs by 90%, improved the user experience, and cut response times.

Business challenge

Legacy digital asset management solution

City Plumbing incurred annual expenditures for the ownership, operation, and maintenance of an existing licensed solution. Despite the high financial costs, the solution provided a negative user experience due to misalignment with the business process and a set of technical challenges, such as the absence of bulk upload functionality, strict file naming conventions, and slow asset search that could take up to 60 seconds.

Not addressing these issues would have resulted in continued inefficiencies and significant ongoing licensing costs. Additionally, there would have been direct financial losses caused by the heavy and expensive existing solution, which required 10+ virtual machines dedicated to digital asset management applications.

Scalable Digital Asset Management Solution on the AWS Cloud

Solution delivered

We closely collaborated with the City Plumbing IT and business teams to build and implement a new solution that was specifically tailored to meet the business’s unique needs. In implementing the new solution, we needed to enable seamless integration with the existing infrastructure and a smooth transition for the existing users.

An Intellias team of 10 engineers worked on the project for four months and successfully migrated seven terabytes of product and product hierarchy assets. The replacement solution was based on AWS cloud services and utilised new approaches including serverless and edge computing. This enabled the transition of user traffic processing from an application-based to a serverless solution, addressing the needs of City Plumbing.

Amazon Web Services

The digital asset management solution was built around a combination of AWS technologies, including AWS CloudFront with Edge@Lambda for content distribution, AWS S3 for storage, and a React-based web application backed by Java-based microservices operating over AWS EKS for asset management. This combination of services allowed for a high level of customisation and ensured that the solution met the business’s specific needs.

Content distribution

AWS CloudFront with Edge@Lambda provided a highly efficient and cost-effective way to distribute content, allowing for application logic to be implemented during file transfer. The solution also included image resizing capabilities, achieved through a simple Node.js snippet executed by the Edge@Lamda function. It allowed for image transformations to be done on the edge, avoiding the need for complex auto-scaling setups.

Asset management

The React-based web application, supported by Java-based backend microservices built on top of an existing microservices platform, provided a bespoke asset management solution. The solution was designed to allow content managers to manage product-related assets, integrate with the rest of the City Plumbing ecosystem, and expose files to AWS S3 for further distribution via AWS CloudFront and Edge@Lambda. This approach allowed for the implementation of custom workflows and validation flows, which in turn ensured the quality of assets presented on the eCommerce website and mobile application.

Overall, the comprehensive and highly tailored solution met City Plumbing’s specific needs, reducing expenses, improving the customer experience, and increasing efficiency.

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Business outcomes

The solution brought several benefits to City Plumbing. First, it resulted in a significant reduction in costs associated with the legacy digital asset management solution: a decrease of 50% in the first year of implementation and a further 90% decrease from the initial cost in subsequent years.

Additionally, the implementation of AWS CloudFront with Edge@Lambda enabled quick and scalable image resizing. Moreover, a cache configuration setup allowed for avoiding repeated resizing, making the process more efficient and streamlined.

Another advantage of the AWS Edge@Lambda-based solution was automatic scaling of the image resizing tool, without the need for any upfront provisioning or environment preparation. Edge@Lambda made the process flexible and scalable, setting better conditions for future business growth.

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