As an organisation there has been a bias towards deliver, deliver, deliver! NAP over the years has achieved huge success, we have added more brands, theOutnet.com, mrporter.com and more recently expanded into APAC. Achieving this growth, coupled with tight deadlines has paradoxically impeded business responsiveness.
From a systems perspective, when the business needs change, there’s often been a need to share data. Each time such a need is identified, a new relationship is formed between our systems. This approach has resulted in tightly interconnected software that turns what should be relatively simple changes into enormous programs of work, creating a vicious cycle of complexity that is extremely hard to break out of.
Its all about the Flow
A few years ago, the tech team undertook a review of how we were building and delivering software and came to the conclusion that our architecture will need to move away from tightly coupled and proprietary models towards an open, interoperable architecture using open standards and open interfaces.
We started small and developed a core payments capability, shared by our brands and fulfillment systems.
One of the main goals of this approach is to turn our software into a strategic capability for our organisation and improve business responsiveness. By giving the Payments team the skills and resources they needed and separating the architecture from the spaghetti, we have achieved better flow.
Introducing the NAP Platform
NAP is implementing a platform-based operating model. Netflix, Amazon and Gov.uk, among many others, have all built their success on the back of platforms.
They have developed a core technology infrastructure that others have then built upon, driving the success of the platform and meeting far more users’ needs than the original provider could have done on their own.
While NAP can learn from this model, it cannot move to this overnight as it is a significant transition. NAP has many diverse and complex legacy systems and processes that are tightly coupled.
We have a long way to go in building out our core capability depicted above, but we have started making good progress and are already seeing emergent products, such as Search being developed upon our core.