World embraces cloud technology with help of The Instillery

04 December 2015

Stuff Business - 04 December 2015

Trend-setting Kiwi fashion house World is staying true to form as it embraces innovative technology with the help of a forward-thinking cloud service provider.

The solutions-focused minds at The Instillery have helped the 26-year-old fashion label replace its old IT systems with cloud-based technology allowing World to provide its customers with a better shopping experience.

This included in-store wi-fi providing data to help sales staff personalise customer experiences.

The Instillery founder and chief executive Mike Jenkins wants to help more Kiwi businesses tap into the value of the cloud.

World's retail empire grew significantly this year with a new Ponsonby flagship store opening in August and another due to open in Queenstown next year.

Its Wellington shop received a makeover earlier in the year after celebrating 24 years in the capital.

World director Benny Castles said they never thought ultrafast broadband and in-store wi-fi were essential for a business "like them".

"Things like how many people are walking into the store, dwell time of customers, which customers are new and which customers are not, through to what type of music our customers like.

"It's given us an ability to culture a whole dynamic of looking at our business and ensuring a great customer experience without even having to be in the store."

The Instillery tailored the cloud IT plan, installed the system and took care of maintenance.

"We're experts in fashion, not cloud," Castles said.

"I actually don't give a shit about the cloud. Even after all of this it's still a mystery to me, and that's how I like it. I only want to know what it can do for the business."

Founder and chief executive of The Instillery Mike Jenkins said the point was to take away the pain of managing IT and technology so clients could focus on whatever their core business was.

Jenkins worked for IBM for a decade and Cisco Systems for almost four years and consistently saw business owners and executives disappointed by the inability of traditional IT providers to understand their clients' business objectives and growth goals.

"The reality is [businesses] should be focused on their core business - sticking to their strengths - and shouldn't need to worry about dealing with the IT systems running in the background or blowing huge amounts of cash on underlying infrastructure and specialised staff."

Jenkins approached 20 business owners and high-level executives and asked them about their satisfaction levels with their current IT systems and their perspectives on cloud computing.

Eighteen of them were unhappy with the IT they had at that moment and were keen to see how the cloud would affect their businesses - and so The Instillery was born.

From two founders in 2013, The Instillery has grown to a staff of 15 based in Auckland, Sydney and San Francisco.

Not enough business owners understood the value of the cloud and that was something the company aimed to change, particularly in the retail and tertiary education sectors.

Next year the company planned to expand across New Zealand and the five-year outlook included a plan to list on a sharemarket.