Is your brand helping to drive sales? How well do your products stack up against competing products in the marketplace? What will your customers want to buy in six months or a year? These are types of questions that GfK answers for more than 10,000 businesses around the world.  

Founded in 1934 as the non-profit organization Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (Society for Consumer Research), today GfK is a global leader in data and analytics for the consumer products industry. GfK prides itself on distinguishing the signal from the market noise, helping clients and partners make effective data-driven business decisions at speed.

By working with VMware, GfK built a hybrid cloud to support modern apps that will help keep the company ahead of the competition. The hybrid environment enables GfK to enhance business agility, streamline operations and incorporate cloud-native services into innovative new client offerings.

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Speeding up digitization by refreshing IT

GfK has fully embraced digitization to offer innovative new services and strengthen the company’s position in an increasingly competitive field. But the GfK IT group needed to update the company’s infrastructure and applications. IT leaders wanted solutions that could provide the flexibility and scalability for building and running modern apps.

The IT group knew that cloud services would play a key role in the company’s future. GfK had already used some cloud services to supplement its on-premises data center environment, but costs had become too high. The IT group wanted to capitalize on multiple clouds while controlling costs and management complexity.

Building a hybrid cloud with VMware

To progress to the next stage of its digital journey, GfK turned to VMware. The company had in fact been working with VMware for more than a decade already. Most recently, VMware had helped GfK expand its on-premises infrastructure and introduce automation to IT management.

With the new project, the GfK IT group planned to use VMware infrastructure to establish more consistent operations and management for the company’s on-premises and cloud environments. The IT group adopted a hybrid cloud model, implementing VMware Cloud Foundation and integrating its on-premises infrastructure with VMware Cloud on AWS, which is delivered as a SaaS-based VMware Cross-Cloud service.

Using a single, consistent infrastructure that spans the data center to the cloud is helping streamline operations and management while eliminating silos. The IT group can now manage a single entity and bring more cloud-like capabilities to the data center.

Gaining business agility and retaining a competitive advantage

This new environment gives GfK greater flexibility for moving applications to their optimal environments. GfK can gradually shift apps from the on-premises data center to the cloud, and among clouds.

That IT flexibility helps support greater business agility. If GfK launches a new client offering that requires cloud scalability, or if the company needs to accommodate temporary performance peaks for data analytics, the IT group can extend its private cloud resources to the public cloud. Meanwhile, the company can tap into modern and cloud-native apps provided by AWS, including data analytics apps.

As a result, GfK is now better prepared to retain its competitive position against a growing number of market entrants. The company can expand capacity as data volumes grow, address evolving client needs and leverage the latest technologies—all without having to buy new hardware or spin up new applications in its data center.

Providing the foundation for innovative app development

With a new hybrid cloud environment in place, GfK is now planning its next steps, including deploying a set of software development services. For example, the company intends to introduce Kubernetes as a service, which can facilitate rapid provisioning of Kubernetes clusters and provide consistent development experiences across on-premises and cloud environments.

The new software architecture can further assist with the company maintaining a competitive edge. Developers now have tools for efficiently developing innovative modern apps—the types of apps that will help GfK rapidly deliver new insights to its growing client base. ▪