VODAFONE Realising the commercial power of total engineering change to deliver Vodafone's most successful iPhone sales launch to date

“Working in partnership with MMT Digital has enabled us to create an independent release culture across the Vodafone UK digital programme. Supported by sophisticated systems infrastructure, observability and tooling, this transformation has put us well on the way to our aim of achieving 100 releases a day.”

Ben Connolly, Head of Digital Engineering

The Results

  • MILLION REQUESTS THROUGH DIGITAL CHANNELS IN 5 HOURS
  • %
    YEAR ON YEAR INCREASE IN IPHONE PAGE TRANSACTIONS PER SECOND
  • INDEPENDENT RELEASES IN 15 DAYS

The Challenge

The iPhone pre-order sales day is one of many annual platinum sales events for Vodafone UK and with BAU web traffic up 50% on the previous year, the 2020 iPhone launch was set to test Vodafone’s systems infrastructure to its limits.

Vodafone’s historic approach to meeting surges in demand had been to increase digital capacity across the board. This expensive strategy, susceptible to failure at times, was ready to be replaced with a new data-driven, evidence-based approach.

To achieve this, Vodafone needed to realise an engineering culture change that would transform the experience, effectiveness and efficiency of building and delivering value to customers.

What We Did

We empowered all engineering teams to take ownership of their applications and services by training them to write, build and deploy their own infrastructure as code templates. This created an independent release focused engineering culture; completely removing reliance on Systems and Operations teams for microservice deployment.

Our technical leadership and successful working partnership enabled us to break down the silos between engineering, performance and operations to ensure all teams worked to shape a shared vision of a radically different deployment process.

Using data recorded by comprehensive DataDog monitoring / analytics tooling, we analysed the previous year’s performance and load traffic. The predictions made from this analysis were extremely accurate and the changes made as a result enabled all systems to remain operational during the event with no web shop outages.

The iPhone launch was a huge success which far exceeded the expectations of Vodafone’s senior stakeholders and validated their decision to pursue an evidence-based approach to load modelling and performance testing ahead of future platinum sales events.

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