Sally Salon Services Ltd

Sally Beauty UK's middleware makeover: Faster, future-ready processes

A forward-looking integration solution helps meet present-day needs while preparing the business for developments to come.

  • Expertise in this case
Executive summary

To maintain its trendsetter position in an ever-changing industry, Sally Beauty UK entrusted Codit to develop a middleware layer that more effectively integrated legacy systems with retail applications. The resulting solution not only streamlined data flow for speedy processing but also clears the path to faster business growth.

  • Challenge
  • Approach
  • Results

The Challenge

The world’s largest retailer of salon-quality beauty supplies, Sally Beauty serves professional and retail customers with over 8,000 products both online and in thousands of physical stores worldwide. When its UK business was facing a complicated ERP migration, the team realised that it needed a straightforward yet sophisticated solution that could improve its processes and ready its systems for the future. The Sally Beauty UK team took advantage of the opportunity, transitioning to systems that could keep pace with the changing trends on the frontend as well as a continually expanding range of data on the backend.

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To best align with a migration of its existing AS/400 ERP system to Microsoft Dynamics AX, Sally Beauty UK was looking for a middleware product that would integrate seamlessly with its legacy systems while allowing the company to incorporate new applications in the future.

“This project was about the future of our company rather than resolving any particular issues,” says Mark Purnell, Head of Business Solutions, Sally Beauty UK, “As we were migrating from an old ERP system, we knew we would need to build a lot of integrations with other core applications. We felt it would be more sensible and straightforward to implement a middleware solution as part of that process.”

Beyond reaching objectives for existing operational needs, the project required a forward-looking solution that could easily incorporate new systems as the business continues to expand with its rapidly growing markets.

Undertaking the most advanced data integration project in its history, Sally Beauty UK knew that it needed a partner who could provide sound technical strategy as well as offer guidance on how to make the most of the integration platform moving forward. The company was referred to Codit, who with over 20 years of experience in designing retail-based ERP integration solutions was the perfect choice to help the company successfully migrate to the new system and position it for advancements down the road.

I'm impressed by the speed of processing. This integration solution moves volumes of data very, very quickly.

Mark Purnell Head of Business Solutions at Sally Beauty UK 

The Approach

Codit collaborated with Sally Beauty UK’s team and partners to integrate its systems with middleware prepped for future developments. The team leveraged key insights from own integration accelerator InvictusTM, which helped to quickly develop the robust, high-quality solution. After first establishing the groundwork in product and stock, Codit expanded the solution to include customer, retail and the full supply chain.

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With Sally Beauty UK’s backend systems already based around the Microsoft Technology Suite, the company chose Microsoft Dynamics AX as its on-premises solution. To best support the migration and set the company up for success in future technological or business expansions, Codit implemented BizTalk Server as the integration layer.

From the beginning, the Codit team employed an agile scrum approach for flexibility during the multi-phase project, keeping development open to changes and enabling the team to be proactive in overcoming challenges.

Mapping a clear path for the integration solution, the Codit team kicked off the project by implementing InvictusTM. This turnkey solution is based on years of best practices to help integration projects move faster and combine the best of on-premises and cloud-based solutions.

“I call it an accelerator,” explains Iain Quick, Technical Director at Codit, “InvictusTM is the foundation that we use to realise integration solutions. It offers customers predictability, resilience, and monitoring visibility in these platforms. While it starts our initial journey, it offers benefits during and post integration, with management features such as the monitoring dashboard, as well as into the future – where a solution is on premises today, InvictusTM positions it to be easily taken into the cloud when business needs dictate it.” Using these guiding insights from InvictusTM, Codit was able to eliminate any guesswork from the start and steer the integration project throughout conception, planning, and execution.

Meeting frequently with Sally Beauty’s subject matter experts and working closely with the company’s Dynamics AX partner, Codit built upon the foundation provided by InvictusTM with these stakeholders’ internal knowledge. From there, the team developed an agile solution specific to Sally Beauty UK’s business needs, in which they built the core pieces of the integration, migrated legacy and company-owned systems, as well as added new operational elements as they were developed.

Starting first with product pricing and stock, Codit built confidence in the solution before moving on to the wholescale integration, where the team consolidated all business processes and the estate of systems into a single, more effective solution.

The Results

Since its launch, the integration solution enables Sally Beauty to better satisfy its evolving market needs through optimised operations with seamless and efficient processes. The improved backend strengthens the company’s performance with quicker processing, greater control, and more flexibility to change with its growing industry and advancing technologies.

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Today, Sally Beauty’s operational systems are all managed through one streamlined integration at the front-end, making business more efficient and the backend easier to manage.

The company now has the ability and flexibility to quickly adapt to market needs. “Fundamentally, the benefit of this solution is that it’s taken away the need for customised development in our ERP and other end-point systems by effectively translating an output file from one application into an input file in another application,” explains Mark Purnell, Head of Business Solutions, Sally Beauty UK, “From an IT perspective, the solution offers a more straightforward way to build our integrations and make changes between systems. Now we’re able to manage processes on the backend that we would have had to manage from the applications.”

Slashing processing time and creating efficiencies across the board, the solution improves speed of service to Sally Beauty UK’s customers – swiftly connecting data between ERP and third-party systems, moving orders from ecommerce into Warehouse Management solutions (WMS), and delivering data into consumer-facing applications. “Consumers get an application that works as expected with data being where they want it to be at the right time,” Mark adds.

On top of expediting core backend operations, the integration solution has also facilitated Sally Beauty UK’s business developments. The agile integration layer has been key to a smooth consolidation of business units in a recent merger creating Sally Beauty Europe as well as in the implementation of new WMS and ecommerce platforms.

Ready for a move to the cloud, the future-proof integration solution allows Sally Beauty UK to be self-sufficient in its business processes today with a solid foundation for transformations that could come tomorrow.

A word from the client

“We've had a very good relationship with Codit right from day one. The team has delivered everything that we've needed for the long-term solution and is always flexible and available to help us as short-term needs arise. We've worked with various people from Codit over the past 3 years, and they've all been the same high caliber and technically competent. They can translate our objectives into pragmatic solutions for the issues we need to resolve or the changes that we'd like to make. ”

Mark Purnell Head of Business Solutions

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