Contino Delivers a Progressive Cloud Solution for Jimmy Brings
With branding inspired by the bootleg era, Jimmy Brings is Australia’s first alcohol delivery platform – the brainchild of two entrepreneurs from Bondi, Nathan Besser and David Berger, who saw a gaping hole in the Sydney market.
Their idea of alcohol orders delivered in 30 minutes (or under) may have seemed simple but it needed clever technology and pointed branding to see it prosper. And they managed to make it happen. In 2017, Jimmy Brings was acquired by Woolworths and is now considered a great Australian start-up success story. Today Jimmy Brings forms part of the Endeavour Group Limited (EGL), leveraging their enterprise-wide platform services.
As the Jimmy Brings brand expanded across Australian territories, the limitations of an on-premise platform for the logistics suite became evident. Jimmy Brings sought a discovery and analysis of their existing application landscape and modernisation within cloud-native architecture to support the demands of their fast-growing business.
With the infrastructure hosted in multiple datacenters, Jimmy Brings faced challenges with a lack of automation, the inability to scale up or down depending on business demand, and significant maintenance and upgrade restrictions. Additionally, there was no load balancing function or a manual Disaster Recovery (DR) plan and were operating in a shared development environment with frustratingly slow and confusing developer onboarding which included a heavy reliance on key staff and single point dependencies.
For Jimmy Brings, this resulted in laboured testing of new features that hindered their time-to-market. Spikes during peak periods (e.g. Fridays in summer) would result in a slow-down of the platform making outages a huge concern because recovery would take hours and the systems were slower than desired to dispatch orders and meet the Jimmy Brings delivery promise. There was a reluctance to add larger changes to the existing stack due to no formal CI/CD process and the potential for a breaking change.
If Jimmy Brings failed to review and implement a solution to remediate infrastructure and application technology limitations, the business faced inhibited growth and the risk of business loss.
Jimmy Brings sought out Contino’s guidance in the build and deployment of automation, application migration and modernisation in accordance with the organisation’s specific requirements.
In considering the Jimmy Brings scenario, Contino proposed Google Cloud Platform (GCP) architecture aligned with EGL’s’ framework and security protocols. Application migration roadmaps and application modernisation architecture plans were developed collaboratively prior to implementation to ensure minimal risk to business continuity and end-user impacts.
Contino successfully migrated the logistics suite of Jimmy Brings applications to the GCP and comfortably scaled the solution to meet business demands. In terms of Jimmy Brings’ many challenges, this solution offered:
- Reduced overheads for managing infrastructure (e.g. patching and uptime) through serverless cloud services increasing scalability of applications to meet demand
- Eliminated risk of data centre outages by migrating from a bespoke on-prem system to the cloud
- Availability of documented application architecture for the first time
- Deployment of specific components during business hours for the first time
- Alignment of Jimmy Brings with the wider group regarding infrastructure management
- Removal of reliance on key personnel for greater agility across all processes, as well as speed to market
- Reduced complexity of the onboarding process
- Fast turnaround time for QA testing
- Attachment of the application to the infrastructure, and the requirement for increased knowledge to develop the stack
- Better resourcing with applications in the cloud
- Implementation through a combination of 3Musketeers and CI/CD pipelines for consistent and repeatable application deployments across dev/production environments inside the GCP
- Streamlining and standardisation of the local developer experience using 3Musketeers to closely reflect the deployed cloud environment
- Alignment of Jimmy Brings with the wider EGL team processes
Contino employed a dual-delivery approach to ensure the Jimmy Brings team was part of the whole journey – from early discovery to eventual implementation of the devised architectural solutions. This involved ongoing engagement on project efforts, detailed documentation and knowledge-share workshops to upskill Jimmy Brings employees in developing the necessary skills in GCP, modern ways of working and cloud-native technologies.
The team naturally blended from the project onset, resulting in a close-knit, collaborative process that was self-motivating and supportive of continued growth and optimal outcomes.
The Business Outcome
Jimmy Brings has reported an overwhelming positive experience with their new cloud infrastructure that extends company-wide – both for customers and employees.
The Jimmy Brings view is that their customer base is not just retail; the drivers, customer service agents and dispatchers are also considered customers. To help dispatchers, the delivery automation stack now runs on the GCP platform in all major capital cities without scaling or infrastructure issues which has allowed them to focus on feature development rather than the limitations of scaling. This also means their dispatchers can concentrate solely on customer service which ultimately means better outcomes for the person buying from Jimmy Brings.
The Jimmy Brings' driver network is one of their most important customers – without them the business would not run – so having real-time information and improved communication has facilitated much faster decision-making in the field. In turn, this has supported the friction-free processes and timely delivery of goods.
Along with anecdotal evidence, metrics indicate application management efficiency gains, streamlined and repeatable deployments, and automated build and deployment pipelines. Productivity gains have resulted from improved developer onboarding and improved local development experience through 3Musketeers automation. Revenue gains are being seen in the reduction in development costs and the team's confidence in having a foundation for future growth.
Contino's involvement with Jimmy Brings acts as a shining example of how, when performed properly and with the right partner, making the transition to the cloud can be a highly invigorating undertaking for enterprise; one that positions both the business and its people for prosperity and anything that may come.
Adam Watt, Head of Engineering, Jimmy Brings
Since the beginning of the project, Contino has been a valuable resource that has fitted in with the rest of the Jimmy Brings team. The team has shown time and time again why Contino is respected in the industry and comes highly recommended.
Our project consisted of many complex unknowns and limited documentation. However, in a short amount of time, the team understood the business requirements and impacts of the current platform.
Whilst not a cookie cutter lift and shift, the team from Contino came up with solutions that matched our requirements and executed it in a timely manner. The project management was professional and friendly, which allowed the project to run smoothly and on time. With constant updates and feedback made available, we always felt the project was in control and running to schedule. The engineering resources supplied by Contino for the project were nothing but amazing, mixed with DevOps and software engineering skills. They overcame some big hurdles with elegant solutions with minimal fuss.
Elliot Krass, Head of Product, Jimmy Brings
What impressed me most about the whole Contino engagement was the constant sense that everything was being handled in a professional manner and that the team was collaborating productively with Jimmy Brings team members.
The project governance was second to none – issues and risks were communicated early, the critical path was always clear, and I never doubted the team’s intention to deliver the project scope on time (subject to external constraints).
Hardy Azeez, Product Manager Delivery Tech, Jimmy Brings
Working with the team at Contino has not felt like we have an external team! They are an integral part of the Jimmy Brings team. They are an absolute delight to work with, and the team’s knowledge and experience is valuable. The team has always been available to support the Jimmy Brings team during the migration as well as the modernisation of our platforms.
As a fast-evolving and growing business, there can be high demands on our infrastructure. Having a partnership with Google and Contino to migrate our operation to GCP has provided us with the scalability needed for us to grow into the future. The engagement has enabled us to scale our platforms as well as giving us a peace of mind with our DR site and the simple failover processes.