Gousto uses PagerDuty to cope with lockdown business boom

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Gousto, the recipe box subscription company, has deployed PagerDuty to help it manage soaring demand for meal kits during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company provides an online service where customers can order recipe boxes containing ingredients and recipes for more than 50 weekly dishes via its website and mobile app. 

When the UK went into lockdown in March, demand for Gousto’s services rose significantly, with daily website traffic surging to 10 times normal levels. The company said monthly meal orders have doubled in 2020, from 2.5 million to five million, which has led to rising demand for technical support and a need to optimise incident response.

“We had been managing incidents based on manual communication, individuals’ domain knowledge and their willingness to be available out of hours,” said Shaun Pearce, chief technology officer at Gousto. “The process worked but it didn’t scale well. Also, time to resolution was often higher than we would have liked because some incidents went undetected. We needed a way to identify and address incidents before customers were impacted.”

Gousto brought forward a planned implementation of digital operations management software from PagerDuty, which has enabled it to identify incidents earlier, understand the potential impact on customer experience and automate the entire incident response process.

PagerDuty provides a way for IT administrators to collect information from different IT systems to centralise monitoring. Pearce said PagerDuty has also helped Gousto manage incidents that arose during lockdowns, given that developer squads could no longer gather in a physical war-room to triage issues. 

“An immediate benefit of the platform has been to make squads more accountable for the services and products they support. This removes ownership issues and subsequent stress because individuals know exactly what they are responsible for. When an incident is triggered in PagerDuty, it is automatically directed to the right person – along with all the information they need. Others are kept informed as required.”

By automating digital operations management, Gousto is now able to provide more distributed ways of working. It has also created playbooks and a new model for out-of-hours support.

The company also plans to use PagerDuty to monitor the digital health of the business. Data from PagerDuty relating to incidents across different parts of the organisation will help Gousto identify areas for improvement and where best to direct its resources for future growth.

Gousto recently announced that it is only the fourth UK company in 2020 to reach “tech unicorn” status. It plans to grow its capacity threefold by 2022, with the opening of three more customer fulfilment centres and the creation of 1,000 additional jobs.

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