Rackspace: Creating In-Store Experience in Cloud Environment

Kevin M. Jones, CEO What is the most common method that the top retail stores around the world follow to attract buyers? Window displays showing the best of their products. In addition to this, they also focus on beautiful store design and excellent personal service. Brands have traditionally excelled at creating a unique experience for customers in-store to differentiate themselves from the ‘average’ retailers. However, with the arrival of the e-commerce market, things have now changed. Retailers, to compete with their cloud-born counterparts, want to recreate the in-store customer experience online or to create at least an online experience which matches their brand image, keeping their in-person, white-glove services intact. But, recreating the standard of an in-store experience, in an online or cloud environment, is often challenging to them.

That is where Rackspace, a managed cloud computing company, comes in. With deep competence in the world’s leading digital applications and back-end retail workloads, the company’s specialists help with everything from migration and scaling, to maximizing performance and security. The company helps clients focus on creating an enhanced omnichannel experience that delights their customers, while it takes care of the rest. It also delivers unbiased expertise through its comprehensive portfolio of managed services to help retailers thrive in the cloud environment. “I love our promise, that we are here to make customers great,” states Kevin M. Jones, the CEO of Rackspace. “In a services business, people are literally everything. We don’t make products, we provide services—and we are only as good as a Racker’s last interaction with a customer.”

Best-In-Class Support and Services for E-Commerce

To support traditional retailers while they shift to the e-commerce market, Rackspace provides industry-leading support and services to them. The company’s compliance assistance and proactive monitoring, detection, and rapid threat remediation services help retailers address the industry’s most stringent compliance standards and security, including GDPR and PCI DSS, during the transition period. In addition, if a client is planning upgrades, platform migrations or new implementations, or have a busy season coming, Rackspace’s private and public cloud teams can easily handle it by designing and managing a best-fit, scalable environment. They also help with every detail, which includes supply chain, upgrades, platform migrations, new implementations, or performance.

One such client of Rackspace is Ulta Beauty [NASDAQ: ULTA], a chain of beauty stores in the U.S. The client’s guests look to ulta.com for an online experience that reflects the ease, delight, and variety they expect in-store. However, in late 2012, Ulta Beauty faced some challenges on the eve of Black Friday. The client needed to create a consistent look and feel, mirroring the design of their advertising circulars.


When we combine great execution with innovation and thought leadership, Rackspace will grow fast and nothing can stop us


Also, it required the flexibility to quickly rearrange and update the pages as items sold out, without the need for caching. Ulta Beauty wanted to prevent guests from diving deeper into products that had already been sold out. So it approached Rackspace, and with its help, the client’s team started to rebuild their website’s physical framework. “We did so in a very robust way, to support volume and growth. More hardware, more thoughtfully deployed,” says Michelle Pacynski, Vice President of Guest Facing Systems at Ulta Beauty.

Instead of having their entire infrastructure at a single location, Ulta Beauty separated it by keeping production in Dallas and non-production disaster recovery in Chicago, for geographical diversity. The client, instead of using all dedicated gear, they began leveraging scalable, virtual servers and Content Delivery Network (CDN) technology.

To address the manual process of managing sold-out inventory, the team designed a new system, where all promotions were comprised of a set of SKUs, and inventory levels for each SKU were tied to the offers. As the items would sell out, “sold out” images would automatically appear on the page, without requiring caching changes. So the result was delighted guests on Black Friday.

That year marked the never-ending relationship between Ulta Beauty and Rackspace as again in 2015, the client was ready to take on the next stage of their transformation. Ulta Beauty wanted to take full advantage of current technology architectures, for enhanced capacity at a minimal expense. So, it began by moving from an Oracle standard agreement to an Oracle unlimited license agreement, which provides flexible deployment options, like virtualization. That year, Ulta Beauty migrated more than 70 servers within Rackspace to newer platforms, enabling the client to easily add on-demand capacity to all their environments. “Our relationship with Rackspace means we can make changes to our environment, at will,” mentions Pacynski.

Along with e-commerce, Rackspace serves several industry domains, including automotive, digital agencies, education, energy, financial services, gaming, government, healthcare, manufacturing, media and entertainment, and non-profit. The company’s experts understand these industries and the challenges they face. They combine this understanding with the solutions they build, so the clients can spend less time thinking about their IT, and more time growing their business.

In the automotive industry, Rackspace enables the clients to leverage the cloud to gain a competitive advantage in the industry while providing them with a complete view of operations, streamlined management of processes and less strain on limited in-house resources.
Concerning digital agencies, Rackspace specialists help clients create a great online experience for their customers. The company’s reliable infrastructure solutions and managed cloud services make it easy for digital agencies’ clients to deploy their customer’s web apps and services.

In the education sector, where institutions are under immense pressure to deliver distance learning while meeting security and compliance requirements, Rackspace’s experts help them in delivering on-demand courses and critical resources. So institutions can focus on educating students and inspiring them to be passionate lifelong learners.

Gaining Expertise to Move Towards Better Future

Though Rackspace’s engineers, system administrators, and solutions architects have years of experience in helping different companies across the industries and solving their toughest tech challenges in over 150 countries, still they are continuously adding new certifications and mastering the latest and greatest technologies to gain the expertise. Until now, the company has three thousand plus cloud engineers across VMware, Linux and Windows; over six hundred enterprise app certifications across Oracle, SAP, and Salesforce; 2500+ certifications across AWS, Microsoft and Red Hat; and twenty plus years of managed service experience.

Recently, Rackspace has been positioned by Gartner, Inc. in the Leaders Quadrant of its 2019 Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure Professional and Managed Service Providers, Worldwide for the third year in a row. Rackspace’s classification as a Leader in this year’s Magic Quadrant further demonstrates how the company is fulfilling its strategy of helping companies accelerate the value of the cloud during every phase of their digital transformation.

In a futuristic approach, Rackspace has partnered with Tech Mahindra—a part of USD 21 billion Mahindra Group that provides information technology services and business process outsourcing to companies in various vertical and horizontal markets. The partnership will see Rackspace executing a new go-to-market commercial model and benefiting from enhancements and efficiencies to the management of business applications and processes. This strategic partnership will also help Rackspace enable more customers to close the gap between the complex reality of today and the promise of tomorrow while accelerating the value of the cloud during every phase of their digital transformation.

"In a services business, people are literally everything. We don’t make products, we provide services—and we are only as good as a Racker’s last interaction with a customer"

Similarly, the company has launched a new program that provides affordable FedRAMP compliance for SaaS providers, Rackspace Inheritable Security Controls (RISC), powered by Telos Corporation’s Xacta. With these new achievements, Rackspace continues to evolve and widen the array of solutions and services it provides. The company is working with clients to understand their changing demands while developing new and improved ways to meet them. “When we combine great execution with innovation and thought leadership, Rackspace will grow fast and nothing can stop us,” concludes Jones.

Rackspace News

Rackspace and Tech Mahindra Partner to Lead with New Go-To-Market Strategy

SAN ANTONIO: Rackspace announced a strategic partnership with Tech Mahindra Ltd., a leading provider of digital transformation, consulting and business reengineering services and solutions, which will enable cross-selling to the Tech Mahindra customer base, joint product and services offerings, and improvements to Rackspace’s internal business applications and processes.

With this partnership, Rackspace will execute a new go-to-market commercial model and benefit from improvements and efficiencies to the management of business applications and processes. Partnering with Tech Mahindra will help Rackspace enable more customers close the gap between the complex reality of today and the promise of tomorrow, accelerating the value of the cloud during every phase of their digital transformation.

“Our partnership with Tech Mahindra is a powerful combination. Their understanding of innovative and customer-centric IT experiences is uniquely complimentary to how Rackspace provides a Fanatical Experience™,” said Subroto Mukerji, chief operating officer at Rackspace. “We believe that this will help generate industry leading technology services and platforms. With 121,000+ associates, working across 90 countries and helping 938 global customers, including Fortune 500 companies, this partnership will allow us to drive far more business impact for our customers.”

Rackspace’s partnership with Tech Mahindra will provide improvements and efficiencies for running multiple Rackspace business applications and processes. Rackspace will continue to own their application strategy and roadmap, while Tech Mahindra will bring world-class expertise and best practices to deliver against this.

“Partnering with Rackspace to deliver digital transformation for our customers will allow us to provide the best business, program and portfolio strategies to build the next generation of innovative IT,” said Lakshmanan Chidambaram, President of Americas at Tech Mahindra. “Together, we will unlock the full potential of digital transformations and place our customers on the best path for success in the new digital business landscape,” said Sampath Saagi, Senior Vice President, Technology & Industrial Manufacturing vertical at Tech Mahindra.

Rackspace chose to partner with Tech Mahindra because of a close alignment between the respective companies’ culture, growth, innovation and go-to-market strategies. Rackspace continues to focus on delivering a Fanatical Experience™ to its customers, and this partnership will accelerate that, helping more customers on their digital transformation journeys.

Company
Rackspace

Headquarters
San Antonio, TX

Management
Kevin M. Jones, CEO

Description
Rackspace is an eCommerce solution provider firm based in Windcrest, Texas. With deep competence in the world’s leading digital applications and back-end retail workloads, the company’s specialists help with everything from migration and scaling, to maximizing performance and security. Rackspace offers the industry’s broadest portfolio of applications, data, security and infrastructure services. They have built a deep bench of passionate, proactive experts across the world’s leading technologies — delivering unbiased solutions to help clients thrive in a complex, multi-cloud world. The company also delivers unbiased expertise through its comprehensive portfolio of managed services to help retailers thrive in the cloud environment