Costa Express

From the eyes of a techie, whenever a company plans to expand its operations (products or services) across the globe, their old and rigid systems always pull them back.

Especially for a retail company which plans to open their new stores globally, or Costa Express which has around 6000 machines across the globe, the first and foremost IT challenge is the inadaptability of their traditional systems with new data flow. This leads to a fractured customer view.

The Company

Costa Express is the UK’s leading self-serve coffee bar. Since its launch in 2011, it has demonstrated phenomenal growth and today boasts over 6,000 machines, serving over 80 million cups of coffee every year, across nine international markets. This puts Costa Express on track to deliver its target of 8,000 machines by 2020.

Just like in stores, Costa Express uses the Costa’s original Mocha Italia recipe roasted in Old Paradise Street, London, with our 100% Rainforest Alliance certified™ coffee remaining at the core of our quality coffee credentials. Their innovative self-serve coffee bars expertly combine high-quality coffee and fresh milk with leading technology, making it the quickest, easiest and most efficient way to ensure coffee lovers enjoy a delicious cup of barista-style Costa Coffee on the go.

The Opportunity

Costa had self-service coffee machines installed at various locations around the UK. The coffee sales data from these machines was being transformed and transmitted across various internal departments for operations and reporting purposes.

The current integration used FTP for system communication, with rigid point-to-point connections between the systems. With plans for international expansion, Costa needed a more scalable and reliable integration solution.

The client also wanted to take the opportunity to replace the existing vending management system for better connectivity and information reporting from their global network of machines.

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The Solution

WHISHWORKS proposed implementing a MuleSoft middleware platform to replace the existing point-to-point connections. The platform would be a cloud-based solution which included standardised messaging capabilities for ease of data exchange between systems.

In addition to this, the platform would also carry out global orchestration of services and data transmission, parsing and transforming the data to ensure that no system replacements were immediately required and allowing continuity of service.

Finally, sales data was to be exposed to multiple customers and partners through REST API’s for the purpose of sales reporting. These would eliminate the extensive manual action required and improve the accuracy of providing the data.

The Result

Today, Costa’s integration platform is enabling business systems to exchange information and data in a standardised and controlled manner around the globe. The addition and replacement of new machines and systems has been greatly simplified thanks to the reusability of components used in the integration platform, and governance of the integration points has been vastly improved.

From carrying out root cause analysis to improving message flows for software debugging and receiving the latest and most accurate system metrics, they now have a single point of monitoring and control for their network.

For us, offering our customers a better service through a unified omnichannel, personalised, and immediate experience, is paramount. While designing a new loyalty experience for the modern, digitally savvy consumer, it became clear that our legacy infrastructure could not provide the required connectivity, flexibility and responsiveness.

Phil Scully – Costa Coffee

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