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3 Enterprises Growing In A Cloudy World

For mature enterprises, the cloud represents a way to get out from under the constraints of traditional IT. Unlike businesses born in the cloud, the existing systems and business processes in these organizations present unique challenges to cloud adoption. The company examples below offer three different stories of traditional IT teams growing into the cloud with measurable success.

Revlon: Unexpected Benefits in the Cloud  

Simplicity was the theme behind Revlon’s cloud transformation. The iconic cosmetics company needed to consolidate operations to reduce latency between global offices, located on every continent except Antarctica.

It built and deployed its own private cloud. The implementation allowed Revlon to reduce hardware consumption from one physical to one virtual server to one physical server to 35 virtual servers. Today, Revlon handles 14,000 transactions per second, 15 automated application moves each month and a weekly backups up to 40TB.

And the cloud deployment came with unintended benefits according David Giambruno, Revlon CIO in a podcast interview, “As we put everything on our cloud, we realized that all of our data sits in one place now. So when you think of big data management, we’ve been able to solve the problem by classifying all the unstructured data in Revlon. We have the ability to look at all of our data, a couple of petabytes, in the same place….So when we’re trying to query the data, we already know where it is and what it does in its relationships, instead of trying to mine through unstructured data and make reasoning out of it.”

The cloud move for Revlon took years to accomplish and required a complete restructuring of IT that resulted in “taking the infrastructure out of the way so we can focus on what people want to do faster, cheaper, better,” says Giambruno. As a result Revlon has seen a 420 percent increase in project throughput without adding additional cost.

Alex & Ani: Massive Scale with a Small Team

In 2004, Carolyn Rafaelian, Founder, Creative Director and CEO of Alex & Ani took her experience working with her 40-plus year-old family jewelry business to launch her line of unique jewelry creations. The business features patented, expandable wire bangles adorned with meaningful charms.

Over the last decade, it’s expanded from a single store into a multichannel retailer, growing profits from $4.5 million to $230 million between 2010 and 2013. To support its hyper-growth, it needed flexible infrastructure to support rapidly scaling. But Alex & Ani wanted to focus on its retail operation, not turn into technology company. By selecting a provider-managed cloud, the company has managed spikes, supported a Magento platform and run complex data analytics – all without making massive investments in staff and hardware.

It chose a combination of dedicated servers and Rackspace Cloud Servers to mitigate hardware investments and have a single service provider for the technical guidance and under-the-hood maintenance needed to make it all work. Unlike Revlon, Alex & Ani didn’t have to worry about the infrastructure tweaks and staffing requirements needed to get up and running.

“Rackspace integrates and has dedicated teams for the best-of-breed partners that we work with, from Magento and eBay to Adobe and Akamai. Not only that, but they have subject matter experts for those particular tools. Often times we found that individual Rackspace employees had even worked at those companies in the past, which is exciting, because it means they know how the tools work—they know what it’s like under the hood and can advise us appropriately,” says Ryan Bonifacino Vice President of Digital Strategy, Alex and Ani.

Jordan Lawrence

Jordan Lawrence, a 25-year-old records management firm, used a similar approach to transition to the cloud one project at a time. Initially, Jordan Lawrence used the Rackspace Managed Cloud for testing on a secure FTP site, synchronizing customer data and email lists with a proprietary policy distribution application. That success led to the implementation of additional cloud services.

“After getting comfortable with Rackspace, we moved our internal email services to Rackspace Email and Hosted Exchange. Having these services completely hosted and managed by Rackspace allows our technical resources to concentrate on our core businesses,” says Marty Hansen, Executive VP of Technology with Jordan Lawrence.

After that successful move, Jordan Lawrence added Managed Virtualization. As a result, “We are able to host our SaaS services in an environment that is secure enough to pass information security audits from even our most stringent Fortune 100 and Financial Service customers, and meets SSAE16 standards,” shares Hansen.

With all of the cloud triumphs under its belt, Jordan Lawrence is ready to expand into more areas. Hansen says, “We see a complete solution in which Jordan Lawrence develops retention rules for SharePoint, while Rackspace implements and hosts the SharePoint environment for our customers.”

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What does your cloud journey look like? From enterprises to small businesses, no two paths are the same and no business has to go it alone. With Managed Cloud services, businesses can get the guidance and tech resources needed to move away from cumbersome legacy systems and start innovating on the cloud.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Lizetta Staplefoote.

Lizetta Staplefoote is a Rackspace Marketing Copywriter with a decade of experience writing about small business challenges for healthcare, real estate, and technology. Her passion is researching and writing about the impact of cloud computing. When she's not wordsmithing, she enjoys hanging out with her sons, exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, and feeding her music addiction.


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