La Redoute is a household name in France and, increasingly, around the world. But in 2014, the nearly 200-year-old fashion and home retailer was facing bankruptcy. To make a comeback, it needed to transform its business processes to compete with digital-native e-commerce giants. 

Breaking software bottlenecks

It had become clear to the company that the industry was going digital, and it needed to speed up its transition from a mail-order to a fully online business model. It devised a four-year transformation plan that included an upgrade to its technology. In particular, it needed to increase scalability and streamline its software delivery lifecycle — a common bottleneck in processes and operational improvements. 

The company began exploring cloud native technologies to power its transformation. To help it navigate the cloud native landscape, it first established some goals based on DORA and Google Cloud’s Accelerate metrics, which provide actionable guidance for organizations to improve their software delivery performance. It set about learning the minutiae of cloud native applications while evaluating technologies like Kubernetes and Docker Swarm. Focusing mainly on improving lead-time for changes, deployment frequency, change failure rate, and recovery capabilities, it ultimately opted for Kubernetes as its orchestration platform. Additionally, it adopted Gitlab as its CI/CD platform, and structured Helm charts to ease deployment of repeatable applications.  

Daily deployments double in months 

The team collaborated iteratively on the new software delivery platform, testing for delivery, operations, and incidents before deploying it for a strategic project. With bottlenecks now removed from the software development lifecycle, engineers could develop and deploy software much faster. In fact, after just a few months, their delivery capability jumped from 40 to 80 deployments per day, and creating a new service now takes minutes instead of days. Self-service and automation allow software engineers to provision an application pipeline in minutes. Previously, they could wait days or weeks for infrastructure provisioning. La Redoute hit its target on the Accelerate metrics scale, going from a Medium to High rating for its IT systems to the highest Elite level for all new applications.

These improvements have helped La Redoute to nimbly change and scale as needed to meet market demands. Today, La Redoute is among the top ten e-commerce companies in France, with 10M customers and international expansion underway. 

Find out all the details of how La Redoute leveraged Kubernetes and other cloud native tech in its software delivery platform to keep pace with digital-first competitors, in this exclusive case study.