Success Story

Ulta Beauty Standardizes on Red Hat for Automation and Service Delivery Transformation

Overview

Long time user of Red Hat® products, Ulta Beauty is always looking for opportunities to improve efficiency, so it can meet and exceed customer expectations.

To meet its goals for continued growth, Ulta Beauty placed Red Hat® Ansible® Automation Platform at the core of its strategy, to help deploy technology faster without disrupting business as usual. In doing so, it cut deployment times from three weeks to less than a day.

Ulta Beauty, Inc. is the largest beauty retailer in the United States selling both mass and prestige cosmetics, fragrances, skin care and hair care products, in addition to offering salon services. With over 25,000 products available at more than 1,250 stores and at ulta.com, the possibilities are beautiful. Ulta Beauty uses automation as a catalyst for innovation and cultural change as part of a wider three-phase transformation project.

Ulta Beauty Standardizes on Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform for Automation Transformation

Ulta Beauty
  • INDUSTRY
    Retail
  • REGION
    North America (NA)
  • HEADQUARTERS
    Bolingbrook, Illinois, USA
  • SIZE
    53,000 employees

Challenge

Deliver continuous improvement through process automation

Ulta Beauty aims to deliver a company culture of continuous improvements to process efficiency, so it can meet customers’ needs while enhancing the digital experience and improving online customer interactions to increase its competitive edge. However, the business’s disconnected systems and workflows had not seen any significant evolution in several years, and many tasks and processes had to be completed manually, typically involving thousands of hours.

The issue of efficiency was highlighted when Ulta Beauty made key changes to its SAP core platform, which handles essential business functions such as fulfilling customer orders and managing digital sales. It is a critical platform that has to run at scale on a 24/7 basis; however, risks associated with manual processes meant changes could lead to costly downtime.

As part of a 3-phase transformation project to deploy technology with greater speed and efficiency, the retailer is using automation for innovation and cultural change, and to improve customer interactions. With this change, Ulta hopes to free up IT teams to focus on higher-value tasks.

Listen to the Ulta story on Code Comments 

Solution

Implement an "accelerator in a box"

The transformation at Ulta Beauty involved migrating from a legacy on-premise system to SAP S/4 HANA in the Microsoft Azure cloud that runs on Red Hat Enterprise® Linux®  for SAP Solutions. Deploying these components would, however, typically take weeks of manual effort from several team members. Ulta Beauty saw the need for technology to enable this shift and to act as the foundation for its wider transformation project.

Ulta Beauty had previously used Red Hat solutions very effectively so it was a logical choice. Together, the businesses began to implement a cultural shift towards process improvement and automation. With Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, Ulta Beauty migrated its SAP S4/HANA system to Azure with minimal downtime and outages. This helped them achieve their goal of deploying technology faster while maintaining operational uptime.

“The built-in capabilities of Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform provide an accelerator in a box,” said Jesse Amerson, IT director at Ulta Beauty. “It’s the de facto standard that many of our vendors and partners also use to write scripts to install, configure, and maintain their technology.”

Ulta Beauty was particularly impressed by the platform’s technical capabilities. These include the simple adoption and scaling of automation, built-in analytics and templates for enterprise-grade use, and the flexibility to run on cloud hyperscalers. Red Hat’s proven track record as a strategic advisor was also a key factor.

Software & Services

BUSINESS OUTCOME

Increase repeatability and reduce time to value

Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform is now an enabler of innovation and cultural change at Ulta Beauty. Sitting at the heart of Ulta’s transformation project, the platform provides all the best elements of open source software, backed up by support from Red Hat to keep the project moving forward.

Since adopting Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, Ulta Beauty has increased repeatability and reduced time to value. The risk of downtime has been cut while system stability has risen, leading to highly valuable business benefits.

With Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, Ulta Beauty cut deployment times from three weeks to less than a day. By automating this process, the team can deploy infrastructure in just a few clicks, freeing up key staff to focus on more priorities that move the business forward and add value. Overall, thousands of valuable labor hours are saved and invested back into the business each year.

This has critical benefits for the wider business and its customer service capabilities. Delivery times have been cut, delivery volumes have increased, and the overall online purchasing experience is significantly enhanced.

With phases 2 and 3 of the transformation project already on the horizon, Red Hat is helping Ulta Beauty embrace automation and extend its reach across the business. They are establishing communities of practice, bringing more teams together by connecting workflows, and enabling data-driven ROI assessments for all automation projects. It’s a partnership-based project that’s rapidly gaining momentum.

Icon-Red_Hat-Media_and_documents-Quotemark_Open-B-Red-RGB The built-in capabilities of Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform provide an accelerator in a box. It’s the de facto standard that many of our vendors and partners also use to write scripts to install, configure, and maintain their technology.

Jesse Amerson

Ulta Beauty

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