IBM Moves Tractor Supply Company to the Cloud

IBM announced deals with major retailers, including Tractor Supply Company, to move key operations to the cloud and mobilize employees.

Tractor Supply Company partners with IBM

IBM recently announced a partnership with Tractor Supply Company (TSC), a large rural retail store chain, to revamp and migrate the company’s online retail operation to the IBM cloud.

The new Website will provide Tractor Supply customers with an easier way to connect, browse and shop for goods and services online. IBM redesigned to provide optimal viewing across all devices, easier integration with social media pages, and a simplified check-out process.

"At Tractor Supply Company, we are committed to deepening the relationships we have with our customers, and the newly redesigned website allows us to do that in an impactful way," said Rob Mills, senior vice president and CIO of Tractor Supply Company, in a statement. "IBM Cloud is more agile and has management capabilities that let us respond quickly to market and individual customer needs, the direct result of which is a better customer experience."

When people in rural areas need anything from a seven-foot tiller to a rake, or from a pair of boots to a bag of dog food, they often turn to Tractor Supply Company. With more than 1,400 stores in 49 U.S. states, the $5.7 billion retail giant has been serving small farmers, weekend gardeners, and land, pet and animal owners with basic maintenance products for more than 75 years.

According to the National Garden Association, more people have taken to planting their own food. U.S. households and community gardens grew 17 percent from 2008 to 2014, from 36 million to 42 million gardens. In addition, people are turning their small farms into petting zoos or horseback ranches or just taking on a pet. Overall pet spending exceeded $58 billion in 2014, according to the American Pet Products Association.

With these trends, Tractor Supply has enjoyed steady growth and recently turned its attention to its online retail operation. Up until now, the company operated its Website through a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, provided by a partner who used a third-party cloud provider. Though the solution satisfied initial needs, it left TSC with limited visibility into infrastructure and network performance, and an inability to scale quickly based on customer demand. That the company to turn to IBM and SoftLayer.

TSC migrated the entire operation to SoftLayer earlier this summer. With the new cloud infrastructure, TSC, which has been a longtime IBM Commerce client, has more direct management of not only its re-designed Website, but the infrastructure behind it.

Key to the infrastructure overhaul was the migration of the Website, which was built on IBM Commerce, from a SaaS platform delivered through two distinct partners, to IBM Cloud. With the new Infrastructure as a Service architecture, Tractor Supply Company gains improved overall system performance, greater visibility and the ability to scale quickly based on market demands.