John Lewis took advantage of its deployment of Splunk's big data solution when a new web platform launched earlier this year, with Aleem Cummins, release manager for johnlewis.com, going so far as to call it "a game changer".
"It allows us to dream and we haven't really had that before because we can do pretty much anything with Splunk," he told Computing during an interview at Splunk Worldwide Users' Conference 2013 in Las Vegas.
Cummins explained how through the deployment of Splunk, John Lewis was able to solve a website issue that accompanied the new platform launch, which was costing the firm business as users experienced problems when ordering online.
"When you have a new platform it can happen that there might be things that aren't quite perfect," he said.
"We had a key situation where we had a very small issue with online store checkout [which didn't work with certain browsers] which ultimately had a stronger impact on revenue that it should have. It was a very peculiar situation in how it manifested itself."
However, John Lewis was able to use Splunk to display the behaviour of website users, allowing staff to pinpoint the issue, which ultimately led to the problem being resolved, something that would have been more difficult without the tools.
"Traditionally it would've been really hard to diagnose that because we couldn't really recreate it, and when you can't recreate a problem it's really difficult to solve it. So what Splunk does really well for us is it gives us behaviour and we can also examine inferred behaviour from that."
Data analysis showed that there were issues with certain browsers, with John Lewis able to recreate the problems in order to solve them, allowing customers to once again go about the business of shopping online. Cummins told Computing how this single event justified the investment in Splunk.
"That one incident covered our expenditure on Splunk, so the return on investment we've had has been fantastic, phenomenal since we put Splunk in," he said, adding that there will be more chances for the firm to obtain value from it in future.
"But there'll be more opportunities that'll manifest themselves as we dream up ways of making it better for our customers," he said.
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