In our hyper-caffeinated world, coffee is as crucial as Wi-Fi—the mere prospect of a day without it is enough to give a person the shakes. And today’s coffee shops are replacing the local pub as our preferred home-away-from-home, doubling as offices, meeting rooms, living rooms, study halls, and date spots.

costa coffee logoCoffee, in other words, is big business. In the U.K. alone, 1.7 billion cups of the strong stuff are sold each year. And leading the race to give thirsty Brits their fix is Costa Coffee.

Founded in London in 1971, Costa is the U.K.’s biggest coffee shop chain, and the second largest in the world. With 2,000 shops and 4,000-plus self-serve machines in the U.K., not to mention more than 1,000 outlets in 29 overseas markets, Costa has an impressive reach. And it’s growing all the time.

Full steam ahead

But while Costa’s espresso machines billow steam and the cozy shops bustle with happy customers, head office staff have their hands full keeping this huge operation running smoothly.

IT Operations Manager Keith Patterson, along with his team of seven analysts, is responsible for all of Costa Coffee’s head office IT operations, service delivery, change management, and release management. Keith and his colleagues also run the company’s corporate website.

Working to stay on top of it all, they identified a need for deeper, more detailed performance data. “We couldn’t measure and track how our infrastructure was working other than whether or not we had any outages or major incidents over the past month,” says Keith. “We couldn’t see spikes in processing times or bottlenecks in the system.”

Without better visibility, keeping up was becoming a real challenge.

Dream data

When the team turned to New Relic, positive results began brewing. With the help of the New Relic Software Analytics Cloud, Keith and his analysts suddenly had access to the kinds of data they could previously only dream of.

That data sheds light, in real time, on the performance of Costa’s internal business systems. “I can see which areas of a system are working harder than others,” says Keith.

It also helps keep the company website on track. “With New Relic Browser, we can see who is using the site, which areas they are using, what kind of experience they are getting, which browser they are using, page load times, throughput, and more. It’s a real eye opener.”

Perfect blend

Thanks to New Relic, Costa has been able to increase efficiency and enhance user experience. Whether those users are company employees working with essential internal systems, or customers browsing the corporate site, the benefits are huge.

So huge, in fact, that Keith wants to broadcast them on a giant screen.

“We want to show New Relic dashboards on a plasma screen in the office,” he says. “Users will gain more visibility into how the applications they use are performing and we can take advantage of the opportunity to increase our interaction with them.”

All of which means that Costa is perfectly positioned to keeping making the most of the coffee boom.

“We have the historical performance data we need to proactively and accurately plan for growth,” says Keith. “Whatever the business serves up, we’ll be ready to support.”

Be sure to read the full Costa Coffee case study.


Coffee bean image courtesy of

B.J. Hinshaw is a freelance writer based in Northern California. View posts by .

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