Industry disruptor Redbox is winning the race to IT digital transformation

digital trans redbox
By Gary Thome, Vice President and Chief Technologist for the Software-Defined and Cloud Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise

IT digital transformation is more than just updating your website, modernizing your IT infrastructure, or developing a great new app for your customers. It’s about totally rethinking how you do business by fully understanding your customers and providing what they want in a better, more efficient way. It takes time, planning, and expertise. And in the end, you may realize that you need to change your operational processes and customer experiences.

No one knows this realization better than Redbox, a new-release movie and game rental company with more than 41,500 kiosks in the U.S. Recognized by the entertainment industry as a disruptor for their low-cost, nightly rental model, in recent years Redbox found themselves in the position of potential disruption as digital distribution grew in popularity. To ensure survival in a fast-paced and ever-changing digital world, the company began looking at every part of their organization — and challenged everything.

Start by modernizing IT

Because IT is such a big cost driver in any business, Redbox immediately looked to update, consolidate, and transform how they handle data – from the core of their data centers to the cloud. An updated and automated infrastructure laid the groundwork for more agile processes, increased time for innovation, and better customer engagement. And of course, big cost savings in this area meant Redbox could spend money in other areas that are needed to keep transforming their business.

Over the course of two years, Redbox invested in technology that allowed them to cut their data center footprint by approximately two-thirds, which led to a 55% cost reduction. With these cost-savings, they now had the funds necessary to embark on the next phase of their IT digital transformation.

For Redbox, this meant that they could invest in the business model that made them a disruptor in their market — giving consumers new-release movie and game rentals at a ridiculously low price. In 2017, the company expanded their retail footprint with 1,500 new, bright red kiosks, strategically placed where consumers already shop, and added video game and movie purchases to their offering.

Continued IT innovation

The IT cost optimization was a great start, but the CTO wasn’t finished. He knew that to be successful, Redbox needed solutions that not only saved them money today, but would help them succeed in the future. The company wanted an IT infrastructure that provided compute resources that were powerful, cost-effective, and agile. To be able to attract new consumers and engage more effectively with current customers, Redbox needed to be able to make adjustments to find the right mix of infrastructure quickly.

The CTO had heard about a new technology called composable infrastructure and was eager to learn more. With composable infrastructure, resources are logically pooled so that administrators don't have to physically configure hardware to support a specific software application. Compute, storage, and networking resources are immediately available to be configured and reconfigured – or composed -- as needed all through software.

Working with a trusted partner, Redbox continued their IT digital transformation by installing composable infrastructure. Infrastructure management software provides seamless integration with all of their IT resources – along with automated alerts through a single pane of glass. They now have developed better workload agility and more efficient management of resources, which saves time, money, and future-proofs their data center.

Succeeding in the era of hybrid IT

Redbox also needed another element in their hybrid IT strategy, one that gives them more flexibility to place workloads in the environment where they are best suited. With the help of industry partners, Redbox is combining on-premises, private cloud with public cloud to run their business more efficiently and deliver a variety of services and products to their customers. This type of IT flexibility opens the door for continued innovation and better customer engagement.

As Redbox implements a hybrid IT strategy, their IT team needs a way to easily manage the infrastructure across traditional resources, private cloud, and multiple public clouds. A hybrid IT environment adds complexity because it creates data silos that make it difficult to move applications and workloads. But some interesting news is starting to emerge that solves that challenge.

HPE’s recently announced Project New Hybrid IT Stack that will allow organizations to seamlessly compose, operate, and optimize all workloads across on-premises, private, hosted, and public clouds. Using a single management dashboard with built-in analytics and controls, application developers and IT operators will be able to simply click or code to compose resources and services across their entire hybrid infrastructure.

Don’t let infrastructure hold you back

Redbox embarked on a transformation to compete more effectively and offer new services that would surpass their customers’ expectations. Redbox remains successful today for many reasons. First, they embarked on a process that included optimizing important aspects of their business. Next, they identified a need for new technologies to optimize their processes and future-proof their technology, and sought advice from industry experts. After that, they made necessary changes to their data centers and embraced a hybrid IT strategy, which gave them more agility and saved them time and money.

HPE has assembled an array of resources to help you transition into a new, hybrid IT world. You can learn more about composable infrastructure by reading the e-book, Composable Infrastructure for Dummies, or learn about HPE’s approach to hybrid IT by checking out the HPE website, Project New Hybrid IT Stack. And to find out how HPE can help you determine a workload placement strategy that meets your service level agreements, visit HPE PointNext.


Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.