Asda excels at customer experience thanks to CenturyLink

an ASDA store front

Asda is changing the world of online shopping with a logistics solution that allows customers to order products from a whole range of other retailers and have them delivered direct to their local Asda.

Asda wanted to provide its customers with a better experience, building loyalty from those who may not already use its supermarket network, while also using existing – an extensive logistics network – to offer more than its competitors. However, it needed to find a partner that could help build its idea into a real, valuable solution.

New ventures needed new infrastructure

Specifically, the company needed a far more agile warehouse and supply chain management system. This new system needed to be hosted off-site so that there was no reliance on a single store or team.

To introduce the solution, called Toyou, the supermarket teamed up with CenturyLink, which provided the infrastructure for the service.

"We were launching a new service, in a new field, on a scale we had never undertaken before. We needed a pedigree IT solutions provider that could support the full scale of our full end-to-end implementation, so CenturyLink stood out to us," explains Paul Anastasiou, senior director of Toyou at Asda.

Asda chose to implement CenturyLink partner Manhattan Associates' warehouse management software, which could be implemented on CenturyLink's platform running across two data centres.

"Despite the scale of the project, Asda could not risk putting extra pressure on its existing legacy IT system – a seamless and secure transition was required," Ian Butler, senior managed services principal at CenturyLink, said.

"In addition to this, as a brand dedicated to making goods and services more affordable to customers, keeping costs low as the business model expanded was crucial. As such, Asda chose to outsource the administration of the operating system and application licenses to manage costs."

Finding the right combination of services to deliver a solid solution

To ensure Toyou could run as smoothly as possible without stretching in-house resources, CenturyLink Managed Hosting administered Asda's operating systems and Oracle and SQL databases on a full life cycle basis as part of the solution.

Asda created its complete development, test certification and production environments for the Manhattan Associates platform on the company's dedicated infrastructure, along with CenturyLink Dedicated Cloud Compute, which provided Compute and Managed Storage with further capacity to house the data flowing through Asda's business on-demand. CenturyLink's Managed Load Balancing managed the the entire virtual environment and interface to all the linked warehouses.

CenturyLink also managed to hit Asda's security requirement, using a dedicated firewall to protect the entire Toyou system. To safeguard against any incident, the retailer implemented CenturyLink's disaster recovery services between the two data centres at the application and database level, as well as managed firewalls to secure the data.

Everything was implemented in 18 months, from concept to final solution, with less than four months of testing to ensure it hit all of Asda's requirements.

As a result of CenturyLink's infrastructure and the roll out of Toyou, Asda has managed to build relationships with both existing and new customers.

"By moving most of the retailer's operations to CenturyLink, Asda has effectively launched a huge scale new venture, all the while maintaining the same level of service and value to customers," Butler said.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.