Joules Moves to Future-Ready Retail with Hybrid Integration

This Azure-based integration solution connects customers to more convenient shopping through cloud-powered services - in-store and beyond.

  • Expertise in this case
The Brief

Driven by its customer-first mission and cloud-first vision, British retailer Joules looked to implement additional cloud technologies to take its digital transformation to another level. The company’s scalable, hybrid integration layer ensures seamless connection across cloud-based and on-premises processes for enhanced customer experience today and expanded service options in the future.

  • Challenge
  • Approach
  • Results

The Challenge

Transitioning from its end-of-life Point of Sales (POS) system into Microsoft Dynamics 365, Joules wanted to use the opportunity to prepare its architecture for cloud-native processes down the road. Instead of continuing to expand its on-premises integration layer, the company aimed to move its systems and services forward by bringing integration itself into the cloud.

The company needed a solution that provided not only a reliable connection to address current market needs across its cloud-based and on-site tools but also a future-ready foundation to expand its offering with more cutting-edge, cloud-native technologies to drive the whole business forward.

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Joules is a clothing retailer with a long history of updating – and upgrading – traditional products with modern twists. The company approaches its tools and services with the same forward-looking vision it uses to develop new products. As part of its cloud-enabled strategy, Joules is focused on being as digital as possible to leverage data for consistent, relevant, and authentic communications and offer the best possible experience to its customers across all channels.

When the company’s point-of-sale (POS) solution was reaching end of life, Joules saw an opportunity to not only replace the existing system but also prepare for evolution down the road with a more future-proof hybrid integration layer.

Jeannette Copeland, Joules Director of IT, explains, “We already had a private cloud and on-premises integration using BizTalk Server. As our migration path for our in-store solution was to move to Microsoft Dynamics 365 located in the cloud, we wanted an appropriate transition for the integration solution as well as for our store solution. Because we knew we’d eventually need to move interfaces from the on-premises private cloud solution, we didn’t want to write any new ones. Therefore, we took the opportunity to move the integration layer into the cloud at the same time as migrating the in-store system.”

Having already worked together for over 5 years, Joules once again trusted Codit to help with the migration and develop the necessary integration layer, confident in the team’s first-hand technical knowledge about Joules’ systems.

“We were putting in a new system and using a new integration layer, so we were facing a lot of complexity,” says Copeland, “Codit knows our ways of working, and there’s a certain shorthand we can expect working with their team.”

There will always be challenges when you do this kind of thing. It's how Codit approaches these challenges that makes the difference.

Jeannette Copeland Director of IT @ Joules

The Approach

Joules turned to long-time partner Codit to build the essential bridge needed to support and streamline communication across on-premises and cloud-based applications, processes, data, and tools. Leveraging Azure Integration services, the Codit team developed a scalable hybrid integration layer, bringing new integration solutions that helped enhance performance across the enterprise and setting up the company for smooth transitions in future migrations to the cloud.

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Working with Joules and a third-party Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation partner, Codit developed an Azure-powered hybrid integration layer that ensured optimal connection and communication between the new point-of-sale (POS) system, cloud-native processes, and in-store systems.

“Replacing an aging POS system with a modern, cloud-hosted system meant modernizing processes, tools and software,” explains Carlo Garcia-Mier, Principal Consultant at Codit, “Our role was to bring together the major components of the solution, creating the glue in the middle – integrating Microsoft Dynamics 365, data, applications and processes. Using Azure Integration Services, including Logic Apps, Service Bus, and API management, we made sure that all the systems – on-premises, cloud-hosted, in-store, warehouses, distribution centers, and the retail website – integrate effectively with each other.”

The teams rolled out the migration using a phased approach, replacing tools store by store. Doing so required running the two POS systems in parallel – maintaining BizTalk Server for the older POS and Azure for the new.

To manage the varying timelines and needs for each of the systems and stakeholders involved in the migration, Codit employed its flexible project methodology, developed over more than two decades of experience completing multi-faceted and multi-location integration projects.

“We aim to work in a very agile manner,” says Iain Quick, Codit Technical Director, “In addition to our standard scrum approach that involves building block workshops, design phases, and testing support, we iteratively complete each of the phases across the solution, prepared to react to the changing dynamics in solution delivery.”

In putting the Azure hybrid integration layer into place, the Codit team helped Joules realize business benefits in more than 20 initiatives, improving business efficiency across the company.

In one such example, Codit worked with the Joules team on its Total Retail program, which replaced the PO system previously implemented at Joules. An important aspect in this development was to integrate with Joules’ delivery management software, which provides real-time shipping information and services to end-customers in store.

The Results

With its new POS in place and systems updated for optimal performance, Joules’ transition into the public cloud has positioned the company to better serve its customers through expanded services. The resulting Azure solution provides a seamless integration across Joules’ systems, streamlining processes and opening new opportunities to explore leveraging its data through Artificial Intelligence (AI).

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The resulting robust integration layer further enables Joules to tap into the advantages of cloud services.

“We’re already seeing lots of positives from this project,” says Jeannette Copeland, Joules Head of IT, “The new software fosters better engagement with our store colleagues and is easier for our customers to use in store. Having the ability to use mobile devices in store allows us to do things that we haven’t been able to do before, such as service customer requests from changing rooms.”

In addition to improving Joules’ present-day business systems, the Azure integration solution opens the door to new, more advanced data-driven processes in the future, including the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled services.

Codit continues to support Joules through Customer Care as the retailer prepares its next move in bringing together classic clothing, contemporary styles and cutting-edge technology – with its eye to the future and its focus on the customer.

“Our leading driver is the customer,” says Copeland, “We don’t want to do technology for technology sake. Instead, we want to leverage technology to deliver great customer experience wherever our customer shops with us.”

A word from the client

“Codit is very agile. Thanks to the way the team works, if we discover the need for changes or any unforeseen difficulties in a project, they can process and address them quickly. ”

Jeannette Copeland Director of IT

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