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Schmidt Groupe: Modernizing its retail IT system with Apigee

About Schmidt Groupe

Schmidt Groupe is one of France's largest manufacturers, selling bespoke home living solutions for the entire house through its Schmidt and Cuisinella brands. It has 809 showrooms, and five factories worldwide, with a turnover of €1.9 billion across its global network.

Industries: Manufacturing
Location: France

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About CGI

Founded in 1976, Google Cloud partner CGI is one of the largest IT and business consulting services firms in the world.

Schmidt Groupe worked with Google Cloud partner CGI to implement Apigee as its API management solution, providing its API team and developers with analytics and rationalizing its retail infrastructure.

Google Cloud results

  • Helps app developers improve their apps by offering advanced analytics on what APIs are achieving
  • Encourages best practices, with developers of internal and external apps taking a standardized approach across the entire group
  • Increases the security of application data and web services, with multiple layers of API security available

CGI's expertise ensures a smooth implementation

    The options for interior design are endless, with new trends emerging every year. What remains constant, however, is consumers’ desire for quality homeware products and excellent customer service. That’s why French customers put their trust in Schmidt Groupe, which has been making furniture since 1934 and is the largest manufacturer in France. With a workforce of around 1,800 people, Schmidt Groupe produces and sells kitchen furniture, as well as other household fittings, such as bathrooms and storage solutions. Its Schmidt brand is the leading kitchen brand in France and the number one French exporter of kitchen furniture, while its Cuisinella brand is aimed at a younger clientele that wants to access quality kitchens with modern designs at affordable prices.

    "The customer journey has become less linear, with multiple entry points. If we want to retain our position in our sector, we need to take a more omnichannel approach, implementing the right technologies to help us do that."

    Virginie Parent, IT Manager, Schmidt Groupe

    Quality kitchens with modern designs at affordable prices

    The way we shop for home furnishings is changing, and for several years now Schmidt Groupe has been focusing on better connecting their customers' journeys from ecommerce to the showroom. "The customer journey has become less linear, with multiple entry points, explains Virginie Parent, IT Manager at Schmidt Groupe." "If we want to retain our position in our sector, we need to take a more omnichannel approach, implementing the right technologies to help us do that."

    As part of its ongoing digital transformation, three years ago Schmidt Groupe decided to modernize its IT infrastructure for the retail side of the business. With the help of implementation partner CGI, it chose Apigee API Management on Google Cloud for the first stage of this project. "Following an audit to study our IT retail system, new customer behaviors and retail channels, we identified several key areas for our transformation," says Virginie Parent. "To create a more omnichannel infrastructure, we needed an API management solution and a data repository, and Google Cloud was the right choice for both aspects."

    Switching to an API-driven approach for greater oversight. Many of the services in Schmidt Groupe legacy retail IT infrastructure previously used point-to-point (P2P) integrations. "We wanted to switch to API integrations and implement an API management solution, to streamline our systems and make it easier for developers to work on our APIs, explains Virginie Parent. We also wanted to be able to monitor those services to analyze data, such as response times and request latencies, as previously we had no oversight at all."

    Its positive experiences with the Google Cloud team drove Schmidt Groupe's choice of Google Cloud. "The team took time to understand our needs and were always there to listen to us," says Virginie Parent. "Whether we needed support, help, or training, they always had a solution, and that made the process very pleasant for us."

    Google cloud partner CGI also played a key role in the decision, offering a clear and convincing plan for carrying out the modernization work. As well as providing expertise in API management and Apigee, CGI clarified the business benefits of taking an API-driven approach. "CGI spoke to us from a business perspective, which was very refreshing," says Virginie Parent. "That’s why we selected them for this specific project, which has been a great success."

    "With Apigee, we're able to look at service statistics and identify exactly where there are issues with our applications. Our goal is for our developers to use the platform autonomously, and make the most of everything it offers."

    Virginie Parent, IT Manager, Schmidt Groupe

    Ensuring a smooth implementation with CGI

    To ensure a smooth implementation, CGI hosted workshops with the Schmidt Groupe team to define its API architecture, as well as develop the required interfaces, directories, policies, and flows. CGI also worked with Schmidt Groupe to help them to restructure its API team to prepare it for the switch from project development to production. Every week, CGI held a session together with Google Cloud to discuss any challenges Schmidt Groupe might be facing with the new version of the product, Apigee X.

    Since implementing Apigee in SaaS mode for its internal services, Schmidt Groupe has greater visibility over its APIs, enabling it to trouble-shoot its applications more easily. "With Apigee, we’re able to look at service statistics and identify exactly where there are issues with our applications," says Virginie Parent. "Our goal is for our developers to use the platform autonomously, and make the most of everything it offers." Schmidt Groupe has also used the implementation as an opportunity to outline guidelines and best practices for API development within the company, encouraging developers for both internal and external services to optimize and standardize their work. It now plans to use Apigee Hybrid, to manage flows for its internal services.

    "Implementing Google Cloud is helping us to secure our data and our web services, as well as encouraging us to standardize the development of APIs across the whole group. We're looking forward to making the most of all the tools it offers to support our business goals."

    Virginie Parent, IT Manager, Schmidt Groupe

    Supporting omnichannel development with new data repositories

    The next step for Schmidt Groupe will be to finish its Apigee implementation, and begin work on its data repository. The team will migrate its on-premises customer data repository to Google Cloud, as well as create a repository for marketing data, which will support its omnichannel ambitions.

    Virginie Parent has been speaking to other leading brands in the retail sector who have created data repositories and has been working closely with Google Cloud and its customers to understand the business benefits that it will bring. She believes that Google Cloud will offer greater security, scalability, and an entire ecosystem of tools within one platform. "Implementing Google Cloud is helping us to secure our data and our web services, as well as encouraging us to standardize the development of APIs across the whole group," Virginie Parent concludes. "We’re looking forward to making the most of all the tools it offers to support our business goals."

    Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

    Contact us

    About Schmidt Groupe

    Schmidt Groupe is one of France's largest manufacturers, selling bespoke home living solutions for the entire house through its Schmidt and Cuisinella brands. It has 809 showrooms, and five factories worldwide, with a turnover of €1.9 billion across its global network.

    Industries: Manufacturing
    Location: France

    About CGI

    Founded in 1976, Google Cloud partner CGI is one of the largest IT and business consulting services firms in the world.