LAS VEGAS: Fashion shoe brand Kurt Geiger is using Splunk Enterprise to monitor the performance of its e-commerce operations, which include websites hosted on Amazon Web Services.
In an interview with V3 at Splunk's .conf 2015 conference, Adam Bidwell, e-commerce systems architect at Kurt Geiger, explained that the shoe brand's use of Splunk has evolved since it started using a free version of the operational analytics software several years ago as a replacement for Google Analytics.
"We do all our development in-house and we host our websites on Amazon Web Services. Where Splunk comes into things is we've got lots of logs on lots of servers, so [there was] a problem seeing what's going on in real time, so Splunk arrived on the scene to bring all that together to find out if there is an issue and where that is occurring," he said.
"That was the initial use case, that's what justified getting it in, and that immediately solved that problem. Since then, we've seen that [Splunk Enterprise] is useful for seeing what our customers are up to, so we're watching them go around the website and connect up with things in store.
"As well as that business analysis, there's security [insight] so I can see what's going on in our Amazon infrastructure."
However, Bidwell explained that Kurt Geiger is at "the tip of the iceberg" in terms of its use of Splunk's technology, adding that the company plans to use more of the capabilities of the Enterprise platform across the brand's online and physical retail environments.
"We're now starting to pull data in from all over the business and connect it together," he said. "Everyone is very keen on connecting everything up; you want to know about the customer in the store, the customer on mobile, the customer on the website. So this is perhaps where Splunk starts to really kick in.
"We originally had this situation where we just had technical things, like system logs, that we put into Splunk and that solved the problem of not knowing what's going on with our web server.
"That same theory applies to the customer, all that data is in different pots and at the minute lots of different teams are analysing their own view of it. Whereas Splunk is going to be this thing where you pour everything in from everywhere and everyone has access to it."
He added that this breaking down of data silos in the company should help it to streamline its operations and simplify communications between different areas of the business.
Embracing open source
While Kurt Geiger now uses a licensed version of Splunk Enterprise, Bidwell said other software and systems the company uses are open source products.
Rather than use the usual suspect of Salesforce.com for customer relationship management (CRM), the shoe brand uses open source alternative Orocrm, and also opted for Magento as its open source e-commerce platform.
Bidwell championed the flexibility and easy access to source code that open source facilitates.
"Open source is a big preference for us; we like to be able to customise things," said Bidwell. "It's the speed that we can turn around and change things.
"We've built this team in house that's very skilled, and we're more agile because we've got the code. We know that if there's some kind of change we need or issues and we're not reliant on anyone else, we just get in there and fix it or change it."
Bidwell is not alone in championing open source products; British Gas technology chief, David Cooper, also uses open source Hadoop frameworks for storing big data.
Kurt Geiger is not the only luxury brand making use of Splunk to improve its operational processes, as smartphone brand Vertu has used Splunk's operational data analysis services to overhaul its Android software testing for its premium handsets.
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