The StreamSets and webMethods platforms have now been acquired by IBM 
Customer story


Transforming omni-channel retail even faster

Meet the customer:
Kiabi is the French retailing powerhouse famous for not resting on their laurels. In 1978, they transformed the retail clothing industry by offering modern fashion for the whole family. Since 2002, Kiabi has doubled in size, expanded from 5 to 32 countries, grown to 9,000 employees, increased revenue to €1.8 billion a year, and gone all-in on digitalization and omni-channel retailing.
  • Find a way to respond to demand from the burgeoning volume of customers
  • Manage data overload—and data inconsistency
  • Efficiently navigate the market-wide transition to omni-channel retail
  • Slashed application development time by 50%
  • Improved website performance from 3.6 to 1.2 seconds
  • Expanded online presence from 5 to 32 countries
  • Cut internal-external connection times from 4 months to 1 week
Kiabi used webMethods for Integration and API management to create a fluid flow of data throughout systems and partners. And ARIS for business process transformation.

“ARIS and webMethods gave us the power to drive the changes we needed in our e-commerce business.”

- Christophe Alie, CIO, Kiabi



The digital imperative

Kiabi’s success is based on a visionary digital transformation. Seeing their marketplace on the cusp of disruption—due to accelerating technological advances, increased competition from web-based start-ups and newly connected and empowered consumers—the company saw a strategic advantage if they could deliver a seamless and compelling omni-channel customer experience.

The key to it all would be to create greater connections: Integrating devices, applications, networks, content, channels and interactions. A tall order on its own, executing this vision was particularly difficult because of Kiabi’s consistent growth of nearly 9% annually. Many of their new customers were Millennials, a group unlike anything the company had encountered before—constantly online, in-touch and communicating. Kiabi’s legacy systems simply couldn’t keep up, their website slowed to a crawl and their data was riddled with errors. IT had to align to the company’s business functions—and fast—for Kiabi to turn themselves into the omnichannel business they had envisioned.

Love at first integration

From the moment Kiabi saw how Software AG's ARIS and webMethods allowed them to visualize and restructure their processes, and speed up and extend their customer contact, they knew they’d chosen the right partner to realize their vision. Independent solutions would enable them to be service-oriented and event-driven, increase their flexibility and make changes to their systems without downtime or making compromises.

The most pressing need was to overcome a 40% increase in data volume and a laggy website. So in 2012, Kiabi implemented Software AG’s in-memory data solution. By keeping databases loaded in memory rather than on traditional hard-drive servers, Kiabi reduced web page load-time by 300%, from 3.6 to 1.2 seconds. The solution was adopted in months, and had an immediate impact on revenue as digital natives—easily frustrated by delays—were no longer abandoning their online shopping carts. In addition, by linking all of their retail channel experiences through a single, unified platform, Kiabi saw its online revenue skyrocket to €130 million a year.

Omni-channel demands omnipresence

Kiabi took the next step just two years later with a full transition to omni-channel retailing. To do this meant digitalizing all their processes and building a system agile enough to respond to the behaviors of their Millennial customers.

This meant targeting customers who hopped from trend to trend faster than their predecessors, and who made purchasing decisions based on convenience and price. Personalization and real-time price and availability comparisons via mobile were the name of the game.

“ARIS and webMethods gave us the power to drive the changes we needed in our e-commerce business, to deliver greater value to customers and to respond to the future demands of our customers as they arise. The project was up and running in just a few days—and on our own terms!”

Kiabi needed an end-to-end chain for integrating and connecting applications, and the ability to add features on the fly. They also needed to get products to market more quickly.

Acting as an integration layer, webMethods Integration and webMethods API Management enabled different systems storing, editing and distributing data to communicate with one another—without developing data flows or point-to-point connections. And thanks to in-memory data management, it could happen faster than ever before.

“The simplicity and speed of the webMethods APIs let us build an app for retail staff to check inventories with hand-held devices quickly. It literally changed how we operate at the lowest possible level.”

Using API Management meant Kiabi was able to assemble and update internal applications twice as quickly as it had in the past.

Even Kiabi’s external relationships benefited. Since B2B partners like suppliers were now able to seamlessly and securely access data that Kiabi earmarked to share with private API keys, new B2B connections that used to take up to four months to set up were now being enabled in as little as a week.

No wonder that just a year later Kiabi brought ARIS for business process analysis (BPA) into the fold. They needed to increase process agility, reduce implementation times and increase process efficiency—and ARIS was the perfect fit.

IT project managers couldn’t believe it. Suddenly they were shaving three weeks from the lead time of half-year projects by using ARIS BPA to share holistic views of customers, products, processes, and suppliers. IT and the business were on a winning trajectory. Kiabi’s CIO was a hero. But for him the decision had been a no-brainer: “Unlike the alternatives, Software AG’s solutions were the only ones that provided all five of Kiabi’s requirements: business and IT transformation, in-memory data, integration, process and analytics & decisions. This eliminated the risk of inconsistencies right from the start, and greatly simplified support.”

Today Kiabi is more agile than they’ve ever been, both internally and externally. They have just been ranked third in the “2017 Great Place to Work,” seeing them placed for the fourth consecutive year.

Their independent solutions offer endless possibilities. And their customers? They’re happy right where they should be—at the center of Kiabi’s attention.

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