Who are MediaMarktSaturn?

Based in Germany, MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group (MMS) is Europe’s leading seller of consumer electronics products. With annual sales topping €20 billion, the group comprises around a thousand physical stores, spread across 13 countries. The group employs around 53,000 people and between its bricks-and-mortar stores and its online platforms, it reaches millions of consumers every day.

Challenges

Few business sectors are under the pressure to digitize operations that retail groups face right now. With consumers already shifting their spend from bricks-and-mortar to online stores, pandemic-driven restrictions on in-person shopping have only accelerated this trend. For multinational retail groups like MMS, the pressure is on to make digital transformation happen even faster – and to get everything right the first time.

The need for speed

First was the speed with which they were able to scale. The retail world is characterised by sudden spikes in demand such as Black Friday sales. But legacy infrastructure made it hard to respond as fast as the business needs to move.

A licensing tangle

Second was licensing in that legacy stack. A patchwork of systems from different commercial vendors had built up over the years. Often the bottlenecks were not caused by the team’s capabilities, but by the cost implications of the licensing changes that would be needed to scale up.

GitOps increases collaboration, reliability and autonomy

Finally, there was the operational overhead these legacy systems entailed, with 90 different teams developing software. To put it simply, MMS needed to streamline its processes, reducing the amount of engineering and operations input required to answer everyday requirements.

So we had a platform approach where a single team provides a cloud, all in one deployment, build operation solution for every product, every software and every team, within the whole organization. And we quickly realized that this one size fits all approach simply does not work. " Florian Heubeck, Principal Engineer, MediaMarktSaturn Technology

The answer was to shift from this decentralized infrastructure that ran primarily on-premise and on private clouds, to a more centrally managed hybrid approach, using Google Cloud. This entailed adopting a microservices architecture based on Kubernetes to improve software delivery.

To manage and automate the new infrastructure, the team turned to GitOps. During the pilot, they realized they needed far fewer developers to operate their stack. This gave the team the confidence they needed to move away from their managed platform approach and instead build standardized, end-to-end workflows. As a result, all the different development teams were still able to choose their own tools, yet velocity, stability and the overall developer experience were improved significantly.

I wish GitOps practices were available a decade ago. GitOps increases the quality of everything we do. Right now, I can't imagine working differently anytime in the future." Florian Heubeck, Principal Engineer, MediaMarktSaturn Technology

Read the full case study to discover how this retail giant learned to gain 60-70% time-saving for deployments and a massive increase in reliability by operating with GitOps.

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