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Kent RO bets on AWS for IT overhaul

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The company is supported by a network of over 1,500 Kent distributors, 10,000 water purification system dealers, and more than 800 Kent franchisees. To give its IT infrastructure a flexible footing, Kent RO deploys Amazon Web Services (AWS). In an exclusive interaction with Express Computer, Saurabh Gupta, CIO, Kent, shares more details

Since its inception in 1999, Kent RO Systems has come a long way – it has become the market leader in water purifier space in India. From providing country’s first commercially available reverse-osmosis water purifier, today, the Noida based firm has evolved to offer technologically advanced healthcare products ranging from purifiers to water softeners, with a 40 per cent market share in India.

As part of its support infrastructure, Kent has a robust technology infrastructure in place on which its mobile applications, Customer Relation Management (CRM) and its call centre with more than 100 agents rely to respond to customer’s enquiries. For example, when a call comes in, agents will check the customer’s details against a CRM database running in its CRM application, and enters a note into the system regarding the enquiry. The entries are then picked up by one of Kent’s teams of support engineers, who call on the customer.

“We are more than just a water purifier company; we work on advanced healthcare products and technology is at the heart of what we do to excel in our services,” said Saurabh Gupta, Chief Information Officer (CIO), Kent.

Kent’s CRM environment ran on the cloud. However, company wanted to give the environment a more flexible footing, and decided to review alternative cloud service providers. Kent wanted an infrastructure that would allow the business to drive growth without concerns around IT cost. The company also sought to lower CAPEX and simplify administration using managed services.

Kent chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) after a review of different cloud service providers. Besides the breadth of AWS services available, Gupta said he was impressed by the transparency of AWS. “Along with our cloud vendor, we were running two instances on AWS. What we found that there was no downtime on our AWS instance. That is one of the main reasons why we shifted to AWS,” said Gupta adding that “AWS offers a transparent platform for us.”

The IT team at Kent worked with Amazon Partner Network (APN) Advanced Consulting Partner, Umbrella Infocare to design the cloud infrastructure for Kent’s CRM environment. Together, Kent and Umbrella Infocare would manage the migration. Kent ran a proof of concept (PoC) of the AWS infrastructure with replicated data from its production CRM environment. After the success of the POC, the full migration began with data from multiple virtual machines (VMs) running on premises being migrated to multiple Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances running on the AWS Cloud. Multiple VMs were migrated to the AWS Cloud over a period of two weeks.

Today, the CRM environment is accessed online by agents with Elastic Load Balancing distributing incoming traffic evenly across the Amazon EC2 instances. Data about customers, distributors, dealers, and franchise operations is stored in database hosted by Amazon EC2 instances and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) used for backups.

“We are mainly using Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3 services. Currently, our CRM, mobile apps and different machines are running on the AWS instances. In addition, we also have Linux cloud and Microsoft technology in our data centre,” said Gupta.
Recently the Kent DevOps team has been using AWS Device Farm to enhance the productivity of its app development. Using AWS Device Farm, the team performs app testing on multiple devices, using different operating systems at the same time.
Kent now has more agility with its CRM solution because of AWS. The company can scale up the CRM environment on demand and, likewise, scale down if necessary. The company also avoids IT procurement cycles and time consuming deployment projects.

“In terms of benefit, we have witnessed high uptime, we have not faced any services disruption as of now. For the scalability, we used load balancer from AWS. Previously, we had website on very high compute, but now that has been reduced to half – this has allowed us to save cost,” informed Gupta.

Furthermore, Kent has simplified administration for the environment using AWS managed services. “We have cut IT management by up to seven per cent by working with AWS, and yet we are maintaining infrastructure uptimes of 99.999 per cent,” commented Gupta.

The reduction in management overhead means Kent can dedicate more resources to IT innovation. This is crucial since businesses increasingly rely on innovation to succeed. As Gupta said, “We are the market leader in India and through technology we can ensure we retain that position. It’s important that we focus resources on development at a time when mobile connectivity is becoming more popular across India. Our products need to support a technology-dominated marketplace, so IT development is a vital function within our business.”

On the question of improvement, Gupta was of the view that he would like to see more innovation around voice and image recognition technology which has potential to completely overhaul customer service delivery.

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