Alemba - Success Story - Kroger

Kroger Technology: Using vFire to automate mission critical processes across the whole business

Kroger • Retail • US

Established in 1883, The Kroger Co. is one of the largest general retailers in the United States.

As of December 2015, Kroger operates:

  • 2,774 Grocery Retail Stores in 35 states
  • 786 Convenience Stores in 19 states
  • 37 Food Processing or manufacturing Facilities
  • 1,360 Supermarket Fuel Centers
  • 2,122 Pharmacies
  • 326 Fine Jewelry Stores

In brief

Kroger leverages vFire’s flexible workflow capabilities to automate mission critical processes across the organization.

Reach

4,586 vFire analysts servicing half a million customers across the United States

Benefits

  • Automated workflow processes for Service Requests
  • Automated IP and Server provisioning
  • Provisioning time reduced from days or hours to minutes and seconds
  • HR workflow automation streamlining the hiring process

Kroger & vFire: A long-standing relationship

Having first implemented vFire’s predecessor, infraEnterprise v8, in November 2008, Kroger have relied on vFire technology to ensure the smooth operation of their Service Management processes for the better part of a decade.

Kroger expanded the use of Alemba’s vFire Enterprise Service Management software across a number of their business units, including Pharmacy, Loss Prevention, Contract Management, and HR.

Currently, there are 4,586 vFire analysts servicing half a million customers across the United States.

Challenges

Overseeing the Service Management requirements of the third-largest retailer in the world is no small scale operation. Kroger’s Service Desk is tasked with managing an overwhelming number of Incidents and Service Requests on a daily basis.

Approximately 1 and a half million Incidents are processed per year. Add to this roughly 1,100 Change Requests per month and an average of 1,200 Service Requests per day, and it is clear that the Kroger team has their hands full.

To ensure consistency and efficiency, the Kroger Technology team implemented automated workflow processes for Service Requests.

Service Request Growth

Efficiency through automation

Kroger leverages vFire’s flexible workflow capabilities to automate mission critical processes across the organization. Most notably, workflow automation is used to automate IP provisioning and the provisioning of non-production or production servers.

“It is all done automatically with no need for human interaction – and it all happens very quickly”

Andy Sullivan, Manager of Systems Operations at Kroger Technology

Automated IP provisioning is made possible through Kroger’s integrated DNS service. Users can complete requests for IP addresses or IP aliases. This is then automatically provisioned.

Kroger’s internal cloud offering allows users to request a non-production or production server. Users can specify the type of server, database size and other specifications. Once the Service Request is submitted vFire interacts with Kroger’s Internal Cloud to “stand up” the specified infrastructure.

The user is alerted via email once the server is ready. This automation process means that work that could take days or hours is cut to minutes and seconds. The user can see all the exact steps as the process progresses. In fact, it happens so quickly, that there are no concerns in terms of delivery.

The benefits of workflow automation have also been expanded to Kroger’s HR department, and is particularly useful for vetting new hires in the company’s various retails stores.

Typically, store managers are responsible for interviewing candidates. However, the process can be time consuming and detract from one of Kroger’s main focuses – taking care of the needs of in-store customers.

A workflow is used to track potential hires through the process, ensuring that managers have accurate information on candidates before their in-store interview. Telephonic interviews are conducted and detailed information on the interview, the candidate’s resume and other important data are logged. This not only saves time, allowing store managers to spend more time with customers, but also means that store managers feel assured of due diligence, and a supporting background during the interview process.

Benefits Realization

Time to service: Automation saves Kroger critical time and frees up vFire analysts to focus on other projects.

“The flexibility of the workflow is critical to our business, not only for the Kroger Technology arm, but also for the business as a whole. We are able to bring the advantages of automation technology to the rest of the business and bring improvements to all areas of the company”

Andy Sullivan, Manager of Systems Operations at Kroger Technology

Future Plans

The Kroger Technology team plan on continuing to expand the benefits of workflow automation to their business partners. “There are many undiscovered areas that can benefit from the workflow,” says Sullivan. “We will continue to push those benefits and develop it into other mission critical areas of the business.”

Enterprise Service Management - 10 Years and growing