Delivering efficiency & scale

Applegate is the UK’s largest business marketplace, offering a platform for online companies in the electronics, plastics, rubber, engineering and recruitment industries to market their products and services.

Established in 1997 because its founders believed that mainstream search engines were not geared to serve the specific needs of the b2b world, Applegate is the UK’s largest single marketplace of online companies, products and services. Today it boasts over 17 million product and service listings from over 400,000 companies, making Applegate the outright leader in the business marketplace sector.



The challenge

Applegate has been on a strong growth trajectory since its inception. In 2014, the business had the majority of key ingredients in place to continue that expansion against a target of expanding its product database from just over £16 million to £25 million by 2016.

Applegate’s CEO Stuart Brocklehurst knew that significant cost savings could be made by switching provider and cutting the company’s web hosting and managed IT services bills - two of the company’s largest annual expenses. However, as a business that relies heavily on the quality and speed of its content delivery, Applegate was conscious that these cost savings could not come at the expense of service provision, page load speed or technical support. Given the nature of Applegate’s business, it was also clear that any change in provider would have to be completely seamless. If either of these conditions were not met, it would create a negative impact on Applegate’s customer experience, potentially prevent the completion of transactions and cause significant reputational damage.

As an online business, Applegate’s platform also needed to be better prepared to mitigate any cyber attacks, such as DDoS attacks.

Matters came to a head when Applegate’s existing provider withdrew support for Oracle databases - one of its key applications. This meant Applegate’s IT team would either have to learn (very quickly) how to manage an extensive Oracle database or the company would need to find a new provider that understood the application and could provide the level of support required to maintain performance and availability.



The solution

Applegate selected Adapt as its trusted partner, responsible for the management of its IT infrastructure and web hosting. Following this decision, Adapt’s senior management attended an intensive day of meetings at Applegate’s headquarters to discuss improvements to the current IT infrastructure, plans for a seamless migration and procedures for strengthening IT security. As a result, Adapt’s tiered, fluid software-defined cloud (the Habitat) was selected as the ideal solution for Applegate and has gone on to deliver the following benefits:

Cost Saving - Adapt has been able to cut Applegate’s annual managed services and hosting bill by approximately 33%. This has been achieved without compromising customer service standards and simultaneously increasing page load speeds for Applegate’s customers by significantly in comparison with the previous service provider.

Scalability - Applegate now has a cost effective and scalable IT infrastructure that supports the company’s plan to almost double the number of products and services detailed on its website in the next 12-18 months. The business also intends to expand its operations internationally. Applegate’s new Habitat delivers the agility to support large-scale business change non-disruptively, providing certainty during the transformation and removing barriers to innovation.

Managed Services - Adapt provides Applegate with a customised managed service infrastructure that supports the existing computing platform and the company’s mission critical Oracle database.

Dedicated UK Support - Adapt provides UK-based 24x7 support for Applegate’s IT infrastructure and critical applications.



Reducing cost, improving experience, creating scale

Before working with Adapt, Applegate’s service provider didn’t really understand its business. The company was incurring high operational costs as the levels of support for its key applications were being reduced - with no innovation enablement or creative input to support future projects.

As a result, Applegate now has access to IT infrastructure that scales precisely in line with its expansion plans. The business has capitalised on the flexibility of Adapt’s Habitat’s and selected a dedicated hosting environment delivered on a flexible OPEX model – with the agility to reshape and rethink over the contract lifespan as Applegate’s business priorities evolve.

Working in partnership, Applegate has reduced its annual managed services and hosting bill by 33% and improved customer experience significantly at the same time.



Applegate's view

Stuart Brocklehurst, Chief Executive:

“It’s a mark of how successful the project has been that from the outset our customers were phoning us to find out where the sudden increase in page load speeds had come from. We didn’t tell anyone outside the business we were changing provider, so this was a completely off-the-cuff and independent validation of our choice and confidence in Adapt.”




Applegate

We selected Adapt because of their close cultural fit with our business. Today they are a true partner and are closely involved with our IT infrastructure on a day-to-day basis. This, to me, is Adapt’s distinguishing feature. Many other service providers we’ve encountered seem remote and distant, and unable, or unwilling to go that extra mile to understand their clients’ businesses.

Stuart Brocklehurst
Chief Executive, Applegate

33% saving on annual service bill, freeing up budget for expansion

Improved network security & mitigation against cyber attacks

Proactive customer feedback on improved experience, exceeding expectation

Download the Applegate case study as a PDF
Sowing the seeds for future growth through partnership

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Benefits

  • Reduced annual managed services & hosting bill by 33%
  • Tangible improvement in customer experience proactively identified
  • Infrastructure that scales without further capital investment
  • Improved network security and mitigation against cyber attacks
  • Partnership with a provider that understands critical business drivers & long-term growth goals
  • Benefits delivered directly to the end user

Features

  • 24x7 help and support from Adapt’s UK-based technical staff
  • Dedicated hosting environment
  • ISO9001, ISO20000 & ISO27001 compliant
  • Full support for business critical applications, including Oracle
  • Ability to seamlessly add disaster recovery & business continuity functionality in the future

Outcomes

  • Innovate for growth
    Making cloud work harder for your business
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  • Strengthen Security & Compliance
    A secure, resilient platform to support business operations
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  • Scale seamlessly
    Scalability aligned with Applegate's expansion & growth
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