COMPANY'S BUSINESS: SaaS eCommerce tool provider for online retailers; Provide integration with in-store point-of-sales systems
CHALLENGE: Availability of the site is business-critical
OUTCOME: Uptime and ability to focus on core competency
Modern Retail helps specialty brick-and-mortar retailers branch out onto the Internet with branded, beautifully-designed, and highly functional online shops. Today, these retailers’ web sites are running on a Rackspace Private Cloud.
Founded in 1998, Modern Retail has long recognized that specialty retailers face a dilemma. They would love to expand their market reach via the Internet but they don’t have the expertise in-house to do it themselves. They don’t have expertise in website design, hosting, search engine optimization, marketing or integrating their in-store point of sale systems with their online stores. And they often don’t want to add costs to their operational overhead.
So Modern Retail has developed turnkey ecommerce solutions that it delivers via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. Retailers are free to focus on their core business priorities, while Modern Retail maximizes their Internet presence and drives online sales.
Given that Modern Retail is built around an outsourcing concept, it’s no surprise that it makes savvy use of outsourcing itself. Take its server infrastructure, for example. Modern Retail has always used managed hosting. “It was in our business plan when we launched the company,” notes Todd Myers, President of Modern Retail.
“We want our employees to focus on our business, not on troubleshooting servers.”
And for many years, Modern Retail was happy with its original hosting provider. “But as we evolved,” Myers says, “we needed a provider that would help us take our business to the next level.”
Modern Retail found that provider in Rackspace.
Switching to Rackspace proved to be a smart decision.
Modern Retail saw an immediate boost in both performance and availability, for example. The company’s customers noticed, too. “Their websites loaded more quickly,” Myers says. In the past, customers would experience downtime during maintenance or upgrades. Today, the availability of Modern Retail’s servers is 99.99%, according to Myers. “Our availability is as good as Amazon’s and magnitudes better than what a specialty retailer could do by themselves.”
The Rackspace hosting solution is also more scalable. “With the Rackspace Private Cloud, it’s very easy to add capacity,” Myers says. “It’s often as simple as picking up the phone or submitting a support ticket.”
Rackspace provides information and expertise to help Modern Retail understand its capacity requirements. It provides monthly and real-time online reports on the capacity utilization of Modern Retail’s servers. This helps Modern Retail with its capacity planning. “They help us accurately forecast our future infrastructure needs and costs,” says Myers.
Rackspace provides Modern Retail proactive yet cost-effective management of the company’s hosting environment. “We have dedicated technicians assigned to our account,” Myers says. “We get the same people every time we have questions or need help. They’re in tune with our infrastructure and business model. They understand our needs and how we utilize our various servers so we don’t have to spend time explaining it to someone every time we submit a support ticket. Instead, Rackspace immediately attacks the problem, which ultimately provides better service to our customers.”
Rackspace delivers on its support services—making good on its reputation for offering exceptional customer service, branded Fanatical Support®. In a recent example, Modern Retail's mis-step caused a problem with one of their servers while performing an upgrade. “It was our issue, not Rackspace’s,” Myers says, “but Rackspace dug into the guts of the issue and figured it out. They never once pushed back or told us that it was outside of their realm of responsibility. They just solved the problem.”
“When PCI standards were first issued, we realized we needed a hosting provider that was an expert in security,” Myers says. “Rackspace is that provider. They know how to configure our infrastructure which helps us in our compliance with PCI standards and are working with third parties to provide the ongoing monitoring to stay compliant. Not only did this make it easier for Modern Retail to get its PCI compliance but it also eliminated much of the work and time it takes to become compliant, which of course saves us money.”
Rackspace introduced Modern Retail to a company that specializes in IT security and compliance automation. Rackspace worked with that provider to implement its intrusion detection and log management solutions for Modern Retail. “What’s nice is Rackspace works directly with that provider. If there’s ever a problem with our hardware and service, Rackspace steps in and works directly with the provider to get the issue resolved. This, of course, allows Modern Retail to focus on our core business.” Myers says.
PCI compliance gives Modern Retail a significant competitive advantage. “One of our customers decided to try another e-commerce provider,” Myers notes. “Her website got hacked into a year later. She’s now back with Modern Retail.”
Experiences like this illustrate just how important Rackspace is to Modern Retail’s success. “We view Rackspace as a partner,” Myers says. “They have really smart people who aren’t afraid to get into the trenches and fight the battle with you. This approach helps Modern Retail achieve both our technical and business goals so we can deliver even greater value to our customers.”
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