Creating a Serverless Cloud-Native Platform to Help Green Flag Break Away from Legacy and Build a Rapid, Modern Rescue Service
Green Flag is a roadside assistance and vehicle recovery provider, which is part of the Direct Line Group. Formed in 1971, as the National Breakdown Recovery Club as an alternative to the AA and RAC, it used a network of local garages and mechanics to deliver recovery and repair services, instead of patrolling mechanics. It has grown to become one of the largest breakdown services in the UK, helping over 2,000 customers each day.
Green Flag has high ambitions for the speed and quality of its services. However, the organisation’s existing IT systems and processes were proving to be a limitation. The challenge was twofold:
Firstly, its existing IT platform, which connected the business and the customers, was outdated and inflexible. This meant that communication was slow, making changes was difficult and costs were high.
Secondly, existing in-house software delivery capability was limited, making it difficult to meet the demands of a modern software-driven enterprise.
Green Flag decided to undertake a five-year digital transformation programme to modernise its technology, create a vibrant engineering culture and in-source their software delivery to enable a rapid, modern, on-demand rescue and recovery service.
Green Flag’s vision encompasses the following objectives:
- Customer Experience: quicker and more reliable service to improve customer satisfaction
- Engineering Capability: build a modern, first-class in-house engineering culture to enable rapid digital innovation
- Business Success: grow the business while maximising efficiency and minimising costs
To help complete the first milestone of the project, Green Flag brought in Contino to lend experience and expertise.
After an initial week-long assessment, Contino devised a plan to deliver the foundation for the digital transformation five-year programme.
The technical foundation would be laid by a new cloud-native platform on AWS. This would be supported by starting to build out an in-house engineering function to maintain and iterate on a modern digital system. This would allow Green Flag to start delivering rapid digital innovation to meet their business challenges.
Cloud-Native Platform on AWS
Contino designed and built a secure, scalable cloud-native platform on AWS that will form the foundation for the rapid development of new digital products and features.
The platform is centred around an AWS Landing Zone, which is a set of Shared Service Accounts and services which creates accounts preconfigured with security and compliance guardrails allowing users to access those resources in a safe and effective manner.
A series of serverless Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipelines were then deployed on top of the Landing Zone to form the foundation of Green Flag’s new in-house software delivery function.
Because the platform is serverless there is almost zero maintenance of the underlying infrastructure required. This leaves applications teams free to focus on their core task: creating the applications Green Flag needs to deliver a modern rescue service.
Build an In-House Engineering Function
The team supported Green Flag’s recruitment, helping its transformation programme to grow from in an accelerated manner, across application and platform teams.
Contino trained up representatives from each team in AWS best practices, DevOps tools and cloud-native ways of working before reseeding them into their own teams, where they could propagate their new skills and knowledge.
The teams are now in a position where they can not only maintain and iterate on the new AWS platform, but use repeatable templates to build duplicate platforms for other areas of the business with no extra investment required beyond the additional AWS spend.
In only five weeks, Contino helped Green Flag to build a resilient, scalable, serverless platform in the public cloud. At the same time, we have together scaled the internal capability to an 80-strong digital transformation team, including DevOps and Cloud experts.
Green Flag now has the technical and cultural foundation in place to advance its five-year transformation programme. Not only that, the project (which would typically take 12-16 weeks) was delivered ahead of schedule, giving Green Flag valuable additional time to begin other elements of the project.
Concrete business benefits include:
- Rapid software delivery: New features can go from development to production in under 30 minutes
- Accelerated IT processes: Reduced follow-up calls to support centre and accelerated rescue time for customers
- Lower costs: Pay-as-you-go in the cloud is more cost effective than on-premises
- Reusable infrastructure: Green Flag can duplicate their AWS platform in other areas of the business
Jeremy Bristow, Chief Product Manager, Green Flag commented:
“Working with Contino has enabled us to take a giant step away from our old legacy systems and make a fresh start in the cloud. We now have a delivery pipeline fit for a modern digital business and are making great strides in building up a set of application teams to match. Best of all, these developments are already helping deliver a fundamentally better service to our customers.”
Shakeel Butt, Head of Delivery, Green Flag stated:
“The skills and experience that Contino brought to the table are second-to-none. I’m incredibly impressed at how they managed to design and build the platform, while upskilling our teams in only five weeks. I’m excited to see what we can achieve together next!”
The next phase will be to extend the work and provide additional training and upskilling to staff around cloud-native technology, processes and ways of working.