InterCity Group develops a world-class cloud environment fit for the customer experience era with Amazon Web Services and Cloud Services Partner Zag.
InterCity Group operates passenger transport and tourism networks across New Zealand consisting of InterCity, GreatSights New Zealand, Fullers GreatSights, Gray Line and awesomeNZ.com. The network links over 600 destinations nationwide, making it New Zealand’s largest transport network, connecting people, places and experiences for over 30 years.
Fullers GreatSights connects local and international visitors to the birthplace of Aotearoa – the Bay of Islands, where they have operated for more than 125 years. To deliver a consistent and impressive customer experience throughout the entire buyer’s journey from website to waters, InterCity Group needs a strong digital platform that allows them to communicate effectively with visitors in a way which is both fast and efficient.
The GreatSights Dolphin Cruises website was hosted locally with aging on-premise infrastructure limiting the website performance. “The platform did create several issues for us when it came to development; there was a time delay in getting things set up and stage environments were very challenging” explains Daniel Rode, General Manager Digital & Brand. The amount of coordination required between different internal teams was inefficient and resulted in a small number of deployments and new website features released annually to customers.
With an on-premise environment, the customer serving Dolphin Cruises website was at risk of experiencing issues during peak trading times of the year, which would negatively impact visitor experience. Put simply, InterCity Group lacked the agility and cost advantage provided by cloud environments for variable website visitation and the delivery of new website features at higher velocity to support online sales.
Watch our video case study to see how InterCity Group are now delivering a superior buyer's journey with cloud and continuous deployments.
InterCity Group engaged trusted partner Zag (formerly Soltius) for support, with the knowledge that simply moving their existing system to a cloud provider ‘as-is’ wouldn’t solve all their problems. InterCity Group sought to improve the way they use and manage their environment by adding new ways of working such as automated deployments.
Zag proposed a migration of InterCity’s existing e-commerce website using the Zag AirLift service to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. This solution is not a ‘lift and shift’ but a ‘lift and transform’ to a new cloud focused infrastructure which would include enhancements to the website, taking advantage of the flexibility of the AWS cloud platform.
“We decided to work with Amazon Web Services because of the flexibility of the platform and the huge ecosystem of tools and third-party applications. When you’re trying to be innovative in the products you deliver, these are a big plus”. – Diego Teliz, Senior Frontend Developer
In addition to offering the transformation to a cloud-centric model, Zag proposed the creation of an automated continuous deployment pipeline, as our experience has shown automation to be an essential element to cloud success.
“The new automated pipeline allows us to trigger deployments by simply committing to the repository which is great because we don’t have to worry about the entire process” explains Andreas Gerhards, Senior Backend Developer. “Now everything is easier because we, as developers, don’t have to worry about the deployment itself, we only need to concern ourselves with development. At the same time, we have the flexibility to change things if we need to” reiterates Teliz.
The outcome of this project was a successful migration completed to the highest standards, with minimal risk, delivering a fully automated, world-class cloud environment which responds rapidly to varying customer demand using AWS EC2 AutoScaling. Hosting their Dolphin Cruises website in the AWS cloud offers InterCity Group greater flexibility, simplified operations and cost savings. The website can now handle increased capacity during trade or peak times with ease.
The new automated deployment pipeline developed by the Cloud Services team has increased efficiency, evident in the dramatic reduction of issues during deployment which previously required human intervention. Through completely removing any manual operations, the repeatability of deployments is enhanced. InterCity developers can now add more value to the business by spending less time deploying enhancements and more time creating them. This allows new features to get out to the website faster.
Overall, “the new streamlined deployment process reduced deployment times from numerous hours to about 10 minutes” details Paulo Almeida, Zag Cloud Architect and certified AWS professional. Gerhards added that “working with the Zag Cloud Architect was very nice on a personal level. He gave us a lot of good advice and responded really quickly”.
With a solid foundation of cloud centred ways of working and a brand-new deployment pipeline, the stage is set for InterCity to take full advantage of the latest developments available in cloud technology and to further serve trade partners and customers in the future.
“The automated deployment pipeline that Zag provided has significantly reduced the time to market required for the creation of new product and brand websites at InterCity, further enhancing the potential for future growth and success” – Glenda Godfrey, Senior Account Manager for Zag.
“GreatSights Dolphin Cruises is actually the first website we migrated to the AWS cloud. We still have a few transactional and brochure websites to move to the cloud, and I’m really looking forward to working together with Zag on these projects” Gerhards concludes.