Chai Point Scales to Support the Sale of 150,000 Cups of Chai Daily with AWS
Chai Point needed a highly reliable and scalable infrastructure to run its key business applications
The business is running its key systems on AWS
Controlled costs by investing on IT infrastructure based on demand
Scaled to support the sale of 150,000 cups of chai daily
Supported plans to grow its boxC.in service by at least threefold
About Chai Point
Founded in 2010, Chai Point is India’s largest organized chai retailer with about 100 retail stores, on-demand chai delivery services, and Internet of Things–enabled chai and coffee dispensers. The business also produces a line of snacks called Made-for-Chai. Chai Point has about 800 employees and locations in eight Indian cities: Bangalore, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, and Chennai.
To establish and grow a presence in a market where consumption of tea is about 15 times that of coffee, Chai Point needed a highly reliable, scalable infrastructure to run key business applications including a custom enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, a customer relationship management (CRM) system, and an inventory-management system. Deploying an on-premises infrastructure was impractical because the business would have had to make investments based on unreliable growth forecasts, potentially leading to underutilization of server capacity.
“We had very strong ambitions to become the leader in a market that we knew was not serviced nearly as strongly as the coffee equivalent,” says Amuleek Singh Bijral, founder and chief executive officer of Chai Point. “We needed an infrastructure that could scale to support our rapid expansion. In November 2016 we added five new stores, and in December we added another seven.” The business also needed the agility to deliver innovations such as boxC.in—a cloud-based beverage service enabled by Internet of Things–capable chai and coffee dispensers.
Why Amazon Web Services
Chai Point determined that only a cloud-based service could meet its infrastructure requirements, and it considered a range of cloud-service providers before deciding to use Amazon Web Services (AWS). “The momentum AWS had established in creating and launching new services, combined with the positive feedback we received about its capabilities from our own technology team, gave us the confidence to adopt AWS,” says Singh Bijral.
The business began its migration to AWS and now runs its key systems in the AWS Cloud, including its custom ERP, CRM, and inventory-management systems; its point-of-sale system known as SHARK; a centralized data aggregation and custom analytics system; and a client feedback system. Chai Point uses an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) that enables the business to isolate sensitive internal systems from the Internet and provide access to public-facing systems on the web.
By late 2016, the business was exploring how to extend its use of core AWS services such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS)-and potentially take advantage of the AWS IoT platform to run boxC.in.
Chai Point’s confidence in using AWS to run SHARK, boxC.in, and its other key systems is supported by regular training and architecture reviews to help the business maximize the value of the AWS services it uses. “Our AWS solutions architect is in regular discussions with our internal technical team to provide pointers on how we can optimize areas such as security and scalability,” says Singh Bijral. “These pointers have been invaluable in helping our business achieve the best possible outcomes from our infrastructure investments.”
Running its key systems on AWS has delivered a range of benefits to Chai Point. “We have not experienced any AWS outages that have directly impacted our business,” says Singh Bijral. The scalability of AWS has enabled Chai Point’s key systems to support a steep rise in transaction volumes, including the transactions associated with the sale of more than 150,000 cups of chai every day. The business is also able to complete two to three major software releases and three to four minor releases per month on the SHARK system alone without having to spend several weeks procuring additional hardware. Meanwhile, as discussions continue over the role of AWS technologies in the delivery of boxC.in, Chai Point deployed 100 new connected boxC.in dispensers in late 2016 and plans to add another 300 by March 2017.
By using AWS, Chai Point has also been able to control costs. The business is now able to invest in the IT infrastructure it needs based on demand, rather than purchase hardware upfront based on growth estimates that might be inaccurate. The business plans to use AWS services to launch a machine learning platform and refine its supply chain by applying demand forecasting to tighten its delivery and fulfillment cycles.
The stability and agility of the AWS platform are providing opportunities for Chai Point to explore further expansion, such as rolling out its in-house SHARK system to smaller companies as a vendor. The business is also planning to migrate its website to AWS, further consolidating its key technology assets in the cloud. “After evaluating the performance of AWS in hosting multiple applications, we have increased confidence in running our website on AWS,” says Singh Bijral.
“We are extremely satisfied with what we’ve achieved to date using AWS and have no interest in moving to other cloud-service providers,” says Singh Bijral. “In the next two to three years, we plan to grow to at least three times the size of where we are today, and AWS offers us the scalability to support those intentions.”
“In the next two to three years, we plan to grow to at least three times the size of where we are today, and AWS offers us the scalability to support those intentions.”
Amuleek Singh Bijral, Founder and Chief Executive Officer