Flowers In the Cloud: A Case Study
The advantages of cloud hosting are discussed on this blog all the time. Rarely, though, do we talk about specific businesses that have thrived by moving to the cloud. Recently, a headline from the UK caught my attention: ‘Online Florist Beats Seasonal Spikes By Hosting Web Apps On the Cloud.'
You see, a florist has to be prepared at certain times during the year. The holidays, female-centered holidays, Valentine's Day, and wedding season are peak seasons for florists. The particular flower shop cited in the aforementioned article is a mom and pop shop that had a small IT team and too many idle servers.
Moving to the cloud saved this flower shop time, money, and, most importantly, made it possible to service clients more efficiently. Here's the story of a small flower shop that sought out the cloud.
Flowers In the Cloud: Moving to the Cloud
Bunches, the flower shop in question, has been in business for 24-years. This flower shop went from a small flower stand in Nottinghamshire to an online company selling flowers regularly. Shop owners have seen the success of businesses that move to the Internet. They have also seen the failures that come with trying to reject change.
Originally, the Bunches team tried to set up standard servers along with an IT team to handle peak seasons. This lead to idle servers and a complete waste of company money. That's when Bunches sought out the popular cloud option called Rackspace.
Flowers In the Cloud: Switching to Rackspace
In 2011, the Bunches IT team needed to reevaluate. Reading up on cloud storage, the team decided that the cloud was perfect for a flower business that had peaks and lows. Any IT solution had to be scalable, and that's exactly what Rackspace was offering.
Why Rackspace? The company already had its datacenter hosted with Rackspace, so moving part of the company to Rackspace's cloud just made sense. What really sold Rackspace's offerings over the rest was the company's level of customer support.
IT manager, Barry Parkin, told press that “…we looked at other cloud service providers, but we would not have got the same level of service support as we get from Rackspace.”
Flowers In the Cloud: Rackspace's Fanatical Support Claim
What kind of support does Rackspace offer? Rackspace believes in “Fanatical Support,” which translates into 24/hour support at all times. Further, Rackspace prides itself on providing customers with technology experts on all levels.
The company has stated that Rackspace doesn't expect its clients to be technology experts, and that's where Fanatical Support comes into play. Rackspace is equipped with team talent on every run, so that clients are never left guessing. That's the kind of support promise that moves companies like Bunches to the cloud feeling secure.
Flowers In the Cloud: Moving Some – Not All
That cinched the deal for Parkin who decided to host host Bunches online applications like its website, e-commerce platform and CRM systems on Rackspace Cloud. Business applications such as email servers, financial systems and databases are hosted on Rackspace’s managed hosting services.
This move paid off for Bunches. Parkin states that “…the website is much more responsive, can withstand peak traffics and gives good user experience on mobile devices too.” All-in-all it's a win-win situation for Bunches.
The company uses Rackspace support to keep its site running while the Bunches IT teams tests out other applications. On the front end, users don't see anything other than a site that's working, and flower deliveries that are painless to arrange. The move to the cloud has also given Bunches room to grow.
Flowers In the Cloud: The Future Looks Bright
Now that Bunches has set up part of its business in the cloud, the company's IT team is looking to set up its sales system in the cloud as well. Also, Bunches now has the room to grow into a bigger online company if that's what will come next. Right now, Bunches remains a small UK shop, but the cloud gives the company the potential to expand by leaps and bounds if necessary.
Small companies are often reluctant to move to the cloud, but Bunches did it right. Without getting rid of the company's IT team or moving everything to the cloud, Bunches kept its key players and kept some things on Rackspace's secure servers while moving other apps and components to the cloud securely – a great move by a company that wants to adapt with the times and not be left behind.