To improve its members’ experience and accelerate innovation and development, giffgaff is leveraging AWS’s proven scalability, security, agility, and performance, using more than 60 of AWS’s 175+ services including compute, analytics, storage, databases, containers, and machine learning, with the goal of putting data at the heart of its business. In doing so, giffgaff can analyse and better understand in real-time which services its members are using, what new services they want, and can quickly enhance and introduce new services to improve the overall experience for its members.
Using AWS, giffgaff transformed its development lifecycle from a complex, monolithic approach, which slowed them down, limited experimentation, and ultimately hindered innovation, into a modern, microservices-based architecture that has enabled rapid development and deployment cycles, and empowered their teams to increase innovation. Prior to moving to AWS, it could take giffgaff up to two weeks to provision a server, now using AWS, they can do it in a matter of minutes.
Adopting a continuous delivery approach, and moving its containerised workloads to Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), a fully managed Kubernetes service, giffgaff has freed up 3,000 days of engineer and developer time to allow them to concentrate on creating and introducing new applications for its members. That is the equivalent of refocusing 14-15 people on innovation for members, instead of the undifferentiated heavy lifting of managing servers.
As a digital-native organisation, technology is a part of giffgaff’s DNA. The company’s priority, as stated in their mission – “the mobile network run by you, our members” – is to develop and release new applications, features, and capabilities quickly for its UK-wide network of members. giffgaff regularly iterates and improves its services to ensure the company retains and continues to grow its membership. Using AWS, giffgaff has increased the pace of feature releases to more than 9,000 times a year, compared with just 10-12 times a year when using on-premises infrastructure – an improvement that has helped drive an increase in giffgaff membership.
To maintain its competitive edge, giffgaff’s data scientists use AWS analytics and machine learning services to better understand its members’ network experience and anticipate future needs. When members report an issue, giffgaff can analyse the text of the report, classify the issue, and direct it to the appropriate giffgaff agent for resolution. By aggregating this data across all incoming cases and then analysing it, the company can create an early warning system for network incidents. giffgaff uses Amazon Kinesis to collect, process, and analyse member data easily in real time, which helps the company to react quickly and increase member satisfaction and engagement by delivering personalised marketing and member care, for example, making health and wellbeing content available to members for free during the COVID-19 pandemic. The team also uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Spot instances, which lets customers take advantage of unused Amazon EC2 capacity in the AWS Cloud to achieve the lowest possible cost. Spot Instances are available at up to a 90% discount compared to On-Demand prices.
“We started out with a traditional, on-premises infrastructure, but the need for ongoing maintenance made this model overwhelming for our technical team. For example, it used to take us up to two weeks to provision a new server,” said Steve MacDonald, Chief Operating and Technical Officer at giffgaff. “When we began to adopt AWS, we were able to turbocharge our development lifecycle by focusing on innovation rather than wasting time on maintenance. It’s such a powerful capability for a digital-native business like ours. The process of constantly evolving our software means that we can always deliver an award-winning service to our members. Our plan now is to extend the use of AWS, and make our members’ voices serve as one of the primary data sources for business decision making.”
“giffgaff is demonstrating its ambition to be a data-driven company that can quickly scale and innovate to meet the needs of its members,” said Darren Hardman, VP & General Manager, UK & Ireland at AWS. “It’s exciting to see how giffgaff is using cloud technology to transform its business – and the industry – and we look forward to working alongside them as they leverage the breadth and depth of AWS to drive innovation and a compelling customer experience.”