While a once-off event back in 2010 triggered record sales in a short period of time for Jurlique, it also sparked the need for the company to overhaul its then-existing solutions platform.
The skin care company ran a promotional partnership event in the US with the Today show where 16,000 products were sold within 24 hours — a huge leap from a "good day" that averaged 50 orders a day. However, with so many orders, it took the company nearly a month to work through the backlog.
Jurlique's CTO Wojciech Peretko said that was the first time the company realised it needed to convert to an integration service system because the previous system was not built to cope with that amount of traffic.
"It was just overwhelming for us to deal with the amount of information. At that time the way we were processing online orders were being settled manually and it took more than a month to reconcile orders for that one day," he said.
"So we thought that wasn't going to work if we ever were going to repeat an event like this and that's where we started looking into proper middleware solution."
Implementing middleware that automated the settlement system in partnership with Oracle became the first step for the company. It acted as the foundation block for a seven month long journey Jurlique was going to undertake as part of creating a streamlined service-orientated architecture framework, which would involve the upgrade of its Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne environment from version 9 to version 9.1 to enable a multi-language setup to cater for its non-English speaking audience, and moving to a private cloud hosted environment.
Peretko said the installation of its new middleware, not only provided the company the ease to bring on new distributors and trial mobile enterprise applications, but it reduced the number of applications needing customisation by approximately 80 percent, making it easier to maintain, upgrade and use.
At the same time, delivery times from order to shipment became accelerated by 50 percent — reducing it from a minimum of four hours to a maximum of two hours — and reducing invoice settlement time from days to seconds by integrating and automating credit card payment and invoice settlement processes with a single merchant payment account.
Additionally, following a subsequent acquisition of Jurlique by leading Japanese cosmetic company, Pola Orbis, for AU$335 million at the end of 2011, Peretko said while the overall goal was to cut down transaction processing time and deliver a better service to its customers; the company also had plans to grow its Asian operations in Hong Kong.
"The main driver for the whole thing was a need to expand our IT operations to cover our Hong Kong entity. We have entities all over the world, but until recently only our Australian, US, and European operations were covered as part of our integrated enterprise grade IT system; the rest of the entities had a combination of independent systems coupled with other systems," he said.
"With the goal in mind to grow our Asian operations, our first target was to covert Hong Kong to be completely integrated with the rest of the company. To achieve this, the plan was to expand our current ERP system, which was Oracle JD Enterprise One, and expand it to be used in Hong Kong."
The biggest leap the company took during the process was moving its hardware platform, which was located 25km out from Adelaide, into a pure private cloud service hosted by Telstra. Peretko said given the initial location of its data centre, the entire network was running on a connection that was no "better than residential DSL", which caused a lot of "outages, power loss, and it really wasn't designed to be accessed 24/7".
Since the move, Peretko said it's a "whole new world for users" because being in the cloud means users from any of its entities now have "well-established, high quality access" to the network, something the company had never experienced before.
But the move to the cloud was not an easy task. Peretko said Jurlique experienced some delays during the process, which forced the company to hire an interim platform to ensure its upgrade of JDE was able to be delivered on time.
"If someone is doing this for the first time, I can't imagine getting this right straight away. In our case, we have infrastructure experiences but some of these things are very new. The tricky part was trying to model the process so we could assess properly what was going to happen and plan for it; that's the problem we slightly missed," he said.
"This caused us delays, which wasn't a good outcome. Although we were able to meet our goals on time, we did have to apply additional solutions. I'd preferably pay more attention to this part of moving from hardware to the cloud next time.
"I thought this is not new and people have used it for years, so I though it should be a straight out the book process but it wasn't and never is."
Peretko believes the company will remain on a private cloud platform for the meantime, although admits it's a long term goal to make steps towards a public cloud. But for now, he says it would be too big of a step and the "systems are not ready yet for that".