Last updated: Examples of real-world microservices results and business value

Examples of real-world microservices results and business value


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While some of you may have already heard about microservices and be quite familiar with them, others might be asking, “what are microservices?”

Let’s dive in!

What are microservices?

Those who are familiar with microservices will excitedly tell you that they enable agility and flexibility, opening up gateways to innovation.

Okay, but…what are microservices?

Microservices, also called microservices architecture, is a method of developing software systems with emphasis on building single-function modules containing clearly-defined interfaces and operations. Enterprises are becoming big fans of microservices, as they offer tremendous agility and support testing and development.

Some key highlights of microservices: 

  1. Loosely coupled system
  2. Deployable independently
  3. Enables evolving of tech stack
  4. Easily maintainable
  5. Allows for greater testing and DevOps
  6. Structured with a focus on core capabilities
  7. Smaller teams typically own them
  8. Powers fast, frequent delivery of complex applications

So far, so good.

Examples of microservices

If you’re a leader looking to optimize your commerce strategy and IT infrastructure, you might be wondering exactly what you can do with microservices. The answer is pretty much anything your creative mind comes up with.

We see tons of different use cases of how organizations across various industries in B2C and B2B have used microservices to extend their standard commerce platform and develop some exceptional and creative use cases.

Some of the biggest and most recognizable enterprises around the world attribute their success to microservices, including:

  • Netflix
  • Etsy
  • Amazon
  • Uber

It would obviously go beyond the scope of this article to list them all, but I wanted to give you a real-world example from a leading German retailer in the beauty and perfumery industry, that might serve as an inspiration for your creative energy when thinking about deploying your own microservices-based use case.

Real-world business results: Retailer gains tremendous rewards

Said retailer used a microservices approach to extend the core capabilities of their commerce, customer data, and marketing platforms.

One of those services they implemented is a color blob service, solving a very specific business challenge. Namely, that for beauty products – in this example lipsticks – there are many colors, and shades, with a host of product variants available that a customer could choose from on the online store. But since all these color shades are not standardized and vary from brand to brand, using a standard product variant approach here would lead to more than 1,000 different colors that customers could choose from, resulting in a messy and inconvenient search and filtering experience.

Enter the microservices approach.

The retailer decided to build a service that maps colors to a smaller set of colors. The service analyzes the product variant image, extracts the dominant color from that image, and maps it to a limited number of target colors based on similarity. This reduces the target colors that are used for facet search and filtering, and consequently leads to a much better search experience for the customer looking for her favorite lipstick color online.

Using this approach sped up the whole development process, providing the retailer with the flexibility and agility to easily change the service if needed.

For example, if the marketing department wanted to change a target color or add a new one going forward, you’d just need to update the service instead of touching and re-deploying your core commerce platform, such updates could be deployed in under two minutes. Obviously this would take substantially longer using a conventional, non-microservices-based approach.

In addition, these services can be scaled independently. Sticking to our example, let’s say you needed to suddenly map thousands of new color shades and product variants. In this case, you could easily scale up the color blob service and scale it back down once the mapping was done, without having to scale up your entire platform. This approach enables you to focus your computing resources where they are needed the most at a specific time, allowing you to act in a more agile and also cost-effective way.

And lastly, from on an organizational point of view, the introduction of independent microservices facilitate autonomous, cross-functional teams, where each team takes on ownership of a service, leading to improved scalability of your entire project organization.

Hopefully, this example enabled you to think beyond the theoretical benefits of a microservices-based approached and showed you some real-world, concrete business value organizations can achieve with microservices.

The potential use cases and opportunities are almost limitless. I’m excited to see the many visionary and innovative microservices-based concepts organizations across all industries will come up with in the near future.

The leading premium beauty retailer in Europe used microservices to ramp up revenue and CX. 
Get the details HERE.

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