When Anne Marie Neatham, COO of Ocado Technology, took the stage at New Relic’s FutureStack: London conference last month, she was greeted by some 400 attendees excited to discover the secrets to becoming the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailer.

Anne Marie provided an overview of the technology journey that Ocado has been on, starting with the clever software that powers Ocado.com to the home-grown Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) that is now offered as a managed service to retail business partners, including Morrisons.com. Ocado’s 950 technology specialists work around the clock to bring further automation and optimization to Ocado’s software stack, streamlining the buying process for its more than 580,000 active customers shopping for some 50,000 different grocery items. Apparently, the secret to success is hard work—and having New Relic in place to keep things running smoothly behind the scenes!

Creating the best shopping experience with minimum wastage

In a mind-bogglingly complex process, Ocado warehouses pack and ship more than 1.4 million items each day—just imagine the different storage requirements for those 50,000 grocery items! A predictable order pattern and sophisticated routing algorithms help Ocado keep food wastage to a minimum. In fact, at less than 0.75%, Ocado says it’s four times lower than the industry average.

futurestack london speaker anne marie neatham of ocado

According to Anne Marie, New Relic APM and New Relic Browser are essential to support this streamlined, green model. Initially, Ocado deployed New Relic on the frontend to closely monitor the digital customer experience. But Anne Marie and her team quickly realized that New Relic could add real benefit on the infrastructure side as well.

£100,000 in annual savings

Ocado develops and maintains a mix of on-premise infrastructure and a cloud-based RESTful architecture leveraging a microservices approach running on Amazon Web Services (AWS). “We took all our learning to create this new platform for online retail, which is entirely built for the cloud and incorporates full security and monitoring,” said Anne Marie.

“Ocado has set up New Relic alerts to measure any abnormal events and create quick dashboards to provide an at-a-glance overview,” she added. “It’s great that everything is so easily customized, as you really don’t know what you want until you have it and are using it in anger.”

“By having this insight into how our infrastructure behaves, we have realized a £100,000 saving in annual costs,” Ann Marie said. “This was unexpected and gained just by improving our automation and monitoring capabilities.”

Advanced automation … and adorable robots!

Anne Marie finished her presentation by introducing the audience to the team of decidedly cute robots that run Ocado’s highly automated warehouses. Advanced 4G technology creates a mesh network through which the robots speak to each other. New Relic Infrastructure is used to support load balancing and monitor CPU usage for this advanced IoT implementation.

She concluded, “Having initially implemented New Relic with quite a limited scope in mind at the frontend, we now wonder how we ever lived without it.”

To learn more, watch Anne Marie’s full presentation in the video below:

You can watch all available FutureStack17: London presentations, including the keynotes, at our FutureStack17: London YouTube playlist.

Join us in New York

Thank you to Anne Marie and all our amazing speakers for making FutureStack: London—and FutureStack: Berlin—such successful events. Next stop, our two-day flagship event, FutureStack: New York on September 13 and 14, 2017! The London and Berlin events were packed, so be sure to register today to save your spot. Early bird discounts are in effect through July 15!

Follow @futurestack and the #futurestack hashtag on Twitter to stay updated.

futurestack new york

Note: Event dates, speakers, and schedules are subject to change without notice.

Baxter Denney is Head of Marketing, EMEA, for New Relic. View posts by .

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