ICI is now part of Akzo Nobel, the world's largest coatings manufacturer, the number one in decorative paints and performance coatings, and a leading supplier of specialty chemicals
ICI Paints decided to go out to tender to partner with a European Systems Integrator to provide Application Management and Support for their (then) 14 pan-European consumer websites which included leading brands Dulux, Cuprinol and Hammerite. Today however, Salmon currently support all 30 consumer facing websites.
Salmon met a number of ICI Paints’ criteria including a successful track record in delivering eCommerce solutions and knowledge and expertise in IBM’s WebSphere Commerce, which set them apart from the competition. In addition, Salmon were selected for their ability to develop new websites, provide advice on technical design, simplify ICI’s existing solutions and help minimise operational cost. Salmon initially engaged with ICI Paints on a fixed price contract for carrying out support activities and minor changes.
During July 2007, ICI awarded Salmon a further two year Application Management and Support contract extension, engaging Salmon to continue to support, maintain and tactically develop ICI Paints European consumer facing websites, now totalling 30. This is testimony to the fact that Salmon are considered to be a trusted partner within ICI Paints, one that provides a quality service at a reasonable price.
Over a period of 4 years Salmon has helped ICI Paints realise significant cost savings, through both strategic and tactical initiatives. Overall costs have been reduced by a massive 90%. With the success of the websites apparent across the entire business, Salmon and ICI’s eBusiness team are continually reviewing how to move the websites forward to assist with ICI’s ambitious growth plans for the future.
Full Case Study:
Salmon appointed ICI Paints’ Regional Systems Integrator - responsible for Application Management & Support
ICI Paints aims to delight and inspire customers to transform their surroundings at home and workwith performance products and colours.
With some of the worlds top paint and decorative product brands, serving both the professional and DIY markets ICI Paints is also a market leader in internal and external coatings for food and beverage cans.
The critical success factors of growth for ICI Paints are the deployment of new technology, innovation and the successful marketing and promotion of their key brands.
The Paints business is headquartered in Slough, UK, with other manufacturing facilities in 24 countries.
Salmon appointed Regional Systems Integrator
In late 2003, ICI Paints decided to go out to tender to partner with a European Systems Integrator to provide Application Management and Support for their (then) 14 pan-European consumer websites which included leading brands Dulux, Cuprinol and Hammerite. Today however, Salmon currently support all 30 consumer facing websites.
At this time, ICI's existing contract was owned by a pioneer of the offshore delivery model and one of the key challenges for ICI Paints was to find a partner that could provide operational support, maintenance and development services and at the same time could help them roll out a revised web strategy that would lower costs and drive simplicity across their websites.
Salmon were selected as part of the competitive tender process. Five vendors, including their incumbent supplier were quickly reduced to three and Salmon were eventually chosen in December 2003 as ICI Paints new European Systems Integrator, responsible for Application Management & Support.
"We selected Salmon due to their successful track record of delivering eCommerce solutions and their knowledge and expertise in IBM’s WebSphere Commerce." Jo Upton, E-Business Manger for UK & Ireland business of ICI Paints’’
Salmon met a number of ICI Paints’ criteria including a successful track record in delivering eCommerce solutions and knowledge and expertise in IBM’s WebSphere Commerce, which set them apart from the competition. In addition, Salmon were selected for their ability to develop new websites, provide advice on technical design, simplify ICI’s existing solutions and help minimise operational cost.
Fixed Price Application Management & Support Contract
Salmon initially engaged with ICI Paints on a fixed price contract for carrying out support activities and minor changes. Under the terms of the Application Management & Support contract, Salmon were entrusted with the responsibility for day to day operation of ICI’s sites including bug fixing, maintenance and performance enhancements. This meant Salmon were responsible for the technical design of the sites, adding promotions or updating pricing, at the same time reviewing code and implementing changes in order to ensure the sites were running as efficiently and effectively as possible. In addition, Salmon were also responsible for strategic website development projects that sat outside of the Support contract.
Overview of ICI Paints European websites
Salmon inherited an environment that had been replatformed by the incumbent offshore supplier from a bespoke JSP/HTML/ASP platform to IBM’s WebSphere Commerce 5.4. The European websites that Salmon took over supporting can be divided into 3 categories:
- ECommerce - including Dulux Decorator Centre – a sophisticated transactional site where decorators can order stock online
- Larger branded sites - including Dulux and Dulux Trade (now ICI Paints) - non transactional sites that help drive the pre-purchase decision to buy ICI’s branded products offline
- Smaller branded information sites - including Hammerite, Cuprinol, Polycell, Julienpeintures – informational sites
Service Level Agreement Options
Salmon has a number of Application Management & Support options available to clients anging from:
The different levels allow customers to choose the right package for their business, whether that be the platinum service which provides full service management or the bespoke service, which is a combination of each offering and provides a unique service to each individual client.
ICI Paints took advantage of Salmon’s bespoke service and a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the two parties was put in place to provide a common understanding about the services Salmon would provide, covering: priorities, responsibilities and a guarantee of the time it would take to resolve matters.
Under the SLA set out in the contract, low level incidents are dealt with in an initial response time of two days and emergency level incidents are serviced within 1 hour. Salmon must also meet a minimum target of 99.00% availability.
Transitioning ICI Paints European Websites to Salmon’s Support Environment
The first project that Salmon undertook was to transition the sites away from the incumbent SI to an environment that Salmon could support. The Salmon team worked very closely with the business users in order to ensure a successful transition.
Salmon needed to make certain they were in a position to deliver the efficient and responsive level of support ICI required, so a transition plan comprising the following tasks and activities was drawn up by Salmon including:
- Health Check
- Technical architecture design
- Source code listings
- Low-level design (program specs. etc.)
- Database schema & design
- Processes and procedures
- Test plans (specifications and results)
Having completed the health check, Salmon had a much better understanding of the sites and was able to tailor their approach to supporting the sites, as well as making initial recommendations for essential and optional work that needed to be carried out to improve the sites performance.
"We are very happy with the level of service Salmon provide. Incidents are dealt with quickly and resolved to a high standard and they consistently meet the web site availability targets." Jo Upton, eBusiness Manager for UK & Ireland business of ICI Paints
Roles and Responsibilities
Defining roles and responsibilities at the outset of any project is an important criterion for Salmon. Creating an effective line of communication between Salmon, ICI Paints and third parties was agreed early in the engagement and a clear understanding of responsibilities was outlined, eliminating the risk of issues later on in the project.
Processes and Procedures
In the early stages of the support project Salmon fully defined and documented all processes and procedures for ICI Paints to review and agree, another key area of importance to Salmon and forming the basis of the way in which the Salmon team would support ICI Paints websites going forward.
Setting up the Support Environment
Salmon needed to set up a replicated system test environment at their support centre, based out of their headquarters in Watford, to enable them to recreate issues and test fixes prior to them being fed through to the live environment. The tasks involved in setting up the environment included:
- Installation and configuration of WebSphere Commerce
- Installation and configuration of WebSphere
- Application Server
- Installation and configuration of Oracle
- Installation and configuration of Rhythmyx
- Setting up back-end interfaces
- Obtaining the source code from ICI Paints and loading it into their source control system
- Obtaining a copy of the databases and loading these into their support environments
- Setting up and configuring the fault/change management system, to enable remote access.
- Establishing Access to Relevant Environments
Included in setting up the support environment, Salmon also needed to establish access to the relevant environments and the following factors were considered:
- Bandwidth – how much data would be passing through the connection and what kind of speedwas required
- Security – was the data of a sensitive nature
- Resilience and backup – what level of availability would be required from the connection
- Reliability – what would be the impact of any errors in transfer across the connection
In order to support clients and help provide long term cost savings, part of the Salmon process involves reviewing clients documentation and making recommendations on whether additional documentation is needed to support their applications. For ICI, a knowledge base/wiki was created which provided all the information that was required to support the applications, processes and software.
Salmon’s Approach to Managing Changes
Salmon has a well defined process for managing changes through their Service Management Approach which is based on the ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) best practice. It is designed to restore normal service operation as quickly as possible and minimise the adverse effect on business operations, ensuring the best possible levels of service quality and availability are maintained. Three processes are key to Salmon’s service management delivery:
- Incident and problem management
- Release management and request for change (RFC)
- Service transition
Any issues raised by ICI Paints are logged in Salmon’s web-based Service Management Database where all issues are managed, coordinated and resolved to the agreed SLA.
Standardised, automated methods and procedures are used for the efficient handling of all changes, to minimize the impact of change-related incidents and to improve day-to-day operations.
During the change process, ICI are constantly kept informed of the status of issues. Once the fix has been tested in the system test environment and no errors are found, the fix is then deployed to ICI’s Solaris UAT environment. From here changes are batched together for a scheduled release and the process ends when ICI’s support team update the database with “closed”.
Service Progress Reporting and Reviews
As part of the ongoing service and communication inherent with providing support and continuous improvement, Salmon continue to provide ICI Paints with formal service reviews on a monthly and quarterly basis.
New Hosting Environment
During 2006, Salmon helped ICI move away from their current hosting provider. Having considered a number of options in the UK, ICI decided to work with Salmon to bring it all in house. As a result, Salmon are responsible for the test and production environment and accountable for the Linux operating system, running WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Commerce Express and a DB2 Database. Consequently, ICI have made significant cost savings and are benefiting from superior performance and assured availability.
And Support Goes On….
The service Salmon provide to ICI is continually evolving to meet their changing requirements, priorities and cost pressures. During July 2007, ICI awarded Salmon a further two year Application Management and Support contract extension, engaging Salmon to continue to support, maintain and tactically develop ICI Paints European consumer facing websites, now totalling 30. This is testimony to the fact that Salmon are considered to be a trusted partner within ICI Paints, one that provides a quality service at a reasonable price. Over a period of 4 years Salmon has helped ICI Paints realise significant cost savings, through both strategic and tactical initiatives. Overall costs have been reduced by a massive 90%. With the success of the websites apparent across the entire business, Salmon and ICI’s eBusiness team are continually reviewing how to move the websites forward to assist with ICI’s ambitious growth plans for the future.
"Overall incidents are down and performance is up and our customers are receiving a much more reliable service. Since working with Salmon, we have made considerable cost savings, our overall costs have been reduced by a massive 90%." Jo Upton, eBusiness Manager for UK & Ireland business of ICI Paints