Case Study

Putting customer experience front and center: DoiT helps Koala provide an optimal digital journey

Koala Logo
Retail and Consumer Goods
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud

Meet Koala

In an industry where overpriced products, long delivery waits, and narrow returns policies can leave customers feeling like an afterthought, online Australian furniture disruptor Koala makes a point of treating its customers like its mates. From quality products at an affordable price to four-hour delivery windows and risk-free 120-night trials, the customer experience is essential to Koala’s business model.

The challenge

Maintaining that level of customer experience across Koala’s digital services requires significant time and resources. Not only does Koala need to remain knowledgeable of the latest infrastructure and how to use it efficiently, it also needs to stay on top of site monitoring to ensure that any problems are fixed as soon as they emerge. As Koala grew, it needed a digital partner to provide expertise and support to ensure that the company could continue to provide its customers with the digital shopping experience they expected.

“We realized we were doing a lot of things in house that would be better off outsourced to experts,” explains Sladen. “We wanted to find a digital partner that could bring a level of professional support to our digital operations on the DevOps side of things, and support us with our growth over the long term.” Koala was particularly keen to make sure its security practices were watertight, so that its customer data remained protected.

The solution

As Koala’s chosen multi-cloud partner, DoiT started work with Koala in November 2022 with an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Well-Architected Framework review of Koala’s AWS workloads. So began a journey of tightening Koala’s infrastructure best practices across both its AWS and Google Cloud services, while hardening the company’s security profile.

Refining the digital product with a customer-first mindset

With DoiT’s expertise, the Koala team worked on both its cloud infrastructure and its work practices to ensure it was able to continue offering the best digital product to its customers. As well as advising Koala on implementing the latest cloud technology, DoiT also helped Koala to implement best practices in monitoring site performance issues and fixing them responsively as they arose. “DoiT has proved to be a great partner in helping us to keep on top of problems so that we can maintain a high level of customer experience and engagement,” says Sladen.

With the help of DoiT’s DevOps expertise and workshops, Koala also increased the speed at which it could execute new developments, enabling the Koala team to deploy new products and features to customers as fast as possible, further enhancing the customer experience.

Adopting industry best practice to harden the security profile

With a vast amount of customer financial data in its possession, Koala takes security seriously. Following DoiT’s Well-Architected Framework review of its AWS infrastructure, DoiT and Koala began a series of weekly sessions to work through ways to bolster Koala’s security profile. This included making numerous valuable security improvements to Koala’s infrastructure, as well as ensuring that Koala’s security monitoring and alerting procedures aligned to AWS best practices. As a result, Koala was able to implement the most effective security policies to cover its AWS workloads.

“DoiT has really helped our security practices,” says Sladen. “Together, we went on a journey to strengthen our overall security and tighten up those loose ends that show up in IT operations over time. DoiT took the burden off our shoulders and supported us through the more challenging security monitoring and notification work.”

Optimizing compute spend with DoiT cost optimization

With DoiT, Koala was also able to automatically optimize its compute spend. By analyzing its CPU usage, DoiT gave Koala clear insights into its AWS and Google Cloud workloads to assess where usage could be optimized and costs could be saved, giving Koala the flexibility to manage its cloud usage without making expensive commitments. “DoiT cost optimization is a unique offering that helped us to put various savings mechanisms in place to help us to optimize our bill automatically, without having to remember to keep putting these policies in place,” says Sladen. “Not only did it save us money, the automating saved us time, too.”

The result

Reducing costs and cutting emissions with efficient computing

Thanks to DoiT cost optimization, Koala was able to optimize its CPU usage, saving the company up to $6,000 to date, while the automation of the optimization process saved the Koala team two hours of work each week, allowing them to focus their energy on building Koala’s core business instead.

What’s more, by flagging opportunities to decrease workloads and reduce its compute usage, Koala has been able to lower its carbon emissions as a result. “By giving us the tools to optimize our workloads and find new efficiencies, DoiT is helping us work towards a sustainable business model,” adds Sladen.

Keeping customers data secure

As a result of its work with DoiT, Koala has hardened its security profile considerably, with security and monitoring policies now in line with industry best practice across all its AWS workloads, ensuring that any threats or suspicious activity are spotted and remediated as swiftly as possible.

What's next?

Continually improving the customer experience

As Koala continues to improve the customer experience of its website, iterating its checkout for faster and smoother purchases, and adding new payment methods to suit customer preferences, it appreciates the support of the DoiT team to ensure that it keeps adhering to best practices around monitoring and security, and makes the best decisions around its tech stack.

Koala is now in a position to consider expanding into new regions, and Sladen is confident that the partnership with DoiT is the foundation the company needs to make the move a success.

“If we expand into new markets, it will take care and thought to make sure we’ve got the right content delivery and configuration policies in each region,” explains Sladen. “With DoiT, we know we have the support we need to set things up correctly for each new region, so that we can continue building the best digital product for our customers.”

Andrew Sladen, Director of Software Engineering, Koala
DoiT has really helped our security practices. Together, we went on a journey to strengthen our overall security and tighten up those loose ends that show up in IT operations over time. DoiT took the burden off our shoulders and supported us through the more challenging security monitoring and notification work.

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