Thrifty Car & Van Rental UK experienced an increased demand driven by large B2B customer acquisitions. To handle this growth, Thrifty entrusted CAPSiDE to assist with future-proofing core digital systems, implementing a zero-downtime release process and provide critical operational managed services.
Thrifty Car & Van Rental UK has come a long way since its inception over 40 years ago. As of 2019, Scot Group Ltd operates both the Dollar and Thrifty rental brands in the UK. It is the largest privately-owned rental company in the UK, operating from 110 locations and runs a comprehensive fleet of more than 16,500 cars and 5,500 vans and minibusses. This success is attributed to factors such as Scot Group providing a comprehensive, modern fleet and excellent customer experience coupled with its ability to provide B2B and B2C rental services.
The challenge: zero-downtime
Throughout its 40+ year history, Scot Group has continued a strategic expansion plan. The challenge presented to Thrifty as part of this continued growth reached a tipping point during 2017, where it experienced a surge in rental demand driven by large B2B customer acquisitions. This growth enabled investment in IT to ensure core digital systems for rental and corporate bookings were future proof for the new and projected future demand.
These systems are the cornerstones of the Thrifty operation. They experience variable load based on booking volume and had therefore already been deployed to AWS by Thrifty internal teams to take advantage of the on-demand, scalable functionality of Public Cloud. In addition, these systems are highly secure due to the transaction of rental bookings and any modernization had to ensure continued compliance with Thrifty’s ongoing PCI-DSS certification.
With the strategy defined and challenges understood, several initiatives were started by Thrifty as part of its investment in IT. Firstly, to ensure operational reliability and overall service availability. Secondly, to support application modernization. Thirdly, to ensure technology innovation and finally to ensure the maximum security of the service and customer data contained within.
In reviewing the core IT initiatives, Thrifty made a strategic decision to bolster its IT capability through a Cloud Managed Service Provider (MSP) model. Through a series of Cloud Strategy Workshops, it was identified that CAPSiDE provided the optimum blend of operational and technology transformation experience. On this basis, a partnership for Public Cloud managed services was born.
Following CAPSiDE’s Cloud Transformation Framework, the first sprint of work was defined to deploy and modernize a greenfield replacement of the core rental and booking systems. The software was updated to new versions with greater governance and architecture adherence. This, combined with infrastructure as code definition and a new blue/green application release management strategy, using CAPSiDE’s ENZiME tooling, integrated smoothly into the Thrifty code pipeline.
This replacement solution was built using a combination of native AWS IaaS and PaaS services to achieve immediate PCI-DSS re-certification. The use of native services for compliance overcame many security complexities often experienced with traditional on-premises environments.
CAPSiDE and Thrifty organized a rigorous testing, acceptance, and go-live plan to cut over from the old to new systems. This executed seamlessly with no downtime to customers.
Jason Harker, Thrifty’s Director of IT, says
As part of Thrifty’s continued growth, updates to mission critical booking and rental systems were required. After strategic evaluations, we selected to partner with CAPSiDE to assist with the modernisation of these systems. CAPSiDE helped identify optimisations with both the software/application and infrastructure architecture on AWS, execute the deployment, migration and provide a 24/7 managed service all while ensuring our PCI-DSS certification was not jeopardised. Some highlights of the partnership are the Thrifty adoption of a blue/green application release management strategy including CICD integration. This has culminated in a new agile software delivery lifecycle where we now release features many times per week as opposed to far more limited releases with the old systems.
The result of the partnership and Operating Model means that CAPSiDE provides a strategic architecture and governance process for the use of Cloud services as well as 24/7 operational managed services using CAPSiDE full-stack engineers. Combined these ensure continuous evolution, reliability, and mission-critical system availability.
CAPSiDE’s experience and Cloud automation products such as ENZiME have been integrated with the Thrifty application development process to support a much faster release process with zero-downtime to the systems. All of this is underpinned by a service governance framework that provides operational responsibility, transparency as well as supporting tactical and strategic change.