Empowering engineers to drive innovation.

Market America develops more reliable code and improves customer experiences with Adobe ColdFusion.

Company Logo

Established

1992

Employees: 700
Greensboro, North Carolina
www.marketamerica.com

Automatically identifies issues for faster resolutions and better customer experiences

Products:

Objectives

Improve customer experiences across 40 websites

Increase visibility into code performance and user experiences on sites

Bring together business intelligence across a complex environment

Results

Empowers engineers to maintain ownership of code, reducing errors

Automatically identifies issues for faster resolutions and better customer experiences

Reduces bug fix time by up to 70%

Streamlines site development with faster time-to-market

Through its independent distributors and e-commerce marketplace SHOP.COM, Market America reaches millions of shoppers in eight countries. The company is built around the idea of innovating retail with dozens of brands across multiple market verticals, from health and beauty to financial services and auto care.

Web applications are critical to reaching distributors and customers around the world. For the past two decades, Market America has relied upon Adobe ColdFusion for development. The company’s team of 26 Adobe ColdFusion engineers deliver thousands of projects a year to support around 40 Market America sites.

“Adobe ColdFusion is one of the best platforms for development,” says Brian Sappey, Director of Engineering at Market America. “It’s a powerful, enterprise platform with all of the functionality and support that you would expect from a company like Adobe. The Performance Monitoring Toolset is just the latest ColdFusion tool that helps us deliver better code and improve customer experiences across all sites.”

Two decades of Adobe ColdFusion

Adobe ColdFusion has remained the development platform of choice for Market America for two main reasons: speed of development and enterprise functionality. The Market America engineering team has tried other platforms over the years, but none met the same standards as ColdFusion.

With ColdFusion, engineers can create a new site from the ground up in less than a month, including all e-commerce functionality, authentication, and security applications expected from a modern website. It took developers about 11 months to create a similar site during a trial of the .NET Framework.

“Adobe ColdFusion is flexible enough to connect with any service that we need, so we can call Java or pull in other applications as needed,” says Sappey. “That way we can expand functionality while still taking advantage of the ColdFusion capabilities. It’s the best of both worlds.”

ColdFusion also provides high security — an essential part of any e-commerce business. Market America appreciates the frequent security updates from Adobe that protect the platform from vulnerabilities and attack. But according to Sappey, the engineers equally appreciate the strong documentation that allows the Market America team to add custom protections aimed at maximizing security for data, transactions, and customers.

“We’ve never had a major vulnerability attack at Market America,” says Sappey. “We contribute part of that record to working with ColdFusion and having the power of Adobe behind us.”

 



“It doesn’t matter how many calls, services, or pages are involved. The Performance Monitoring Toolset provides highly detailed, real-time reports that helps us make decisions and solve problems before they affect customers.”

 

Brian Sappey
Director of Engineering, Market America




Raising awareness with the Performance Monitoring Toolset

When Sappey first took over as Director of Engineering, one of his biggest initiatives for the team was building awareness for the engineering team. By encouraging engineers to be more aware of the code and also how users interact with the websites, Sappey predicted that engineers would make smarter coding decisions and deliver greater performance online.

“The Performance Monitoring Toolset was everything that I could hope for to bring awareness to our engineering team,” says Sappey. “It doesn’t matter how many calls, services, or pages are involved. The Performance Monitoring Toolset provides highly detailed, real-time reports that help us make decisions and solve problems before they affect customers.”

Previously, monitoring the complex environment could be time consuming and difficult. An engineer would need to pull together reports from across 30 servers and multiple services, stitch together data, and share the results with the engineering team. Since the process was so time consuming, engineers typically only dug into reports in response to complaints. Minor issues such as underwhelming application speed or occasional errors were not addressed promptly.

The Performance Monitoring Toolset constantly measures performance and alerts engineers to issues before they affect customers. Features such as auto-tuning allow Market America to develop a baseline for performance and watch for abnormalities. Before deploying the Performance Monitoring Toolset, the engineering team had noticed a minor performance issue on one site that caused occasional timeouts.

“We couldn’t pinpoint the issue,” says Sappey. “But when we checked the Performance Monitoring Toolset, it has already isolated the source down to the specific SQL database query. We were able to go to the SQL team with a detailed report with the exact run times and responses, which allowed the team to address it quickly. The result was faster and more reliable performance for our customers, without needing to spend hours staring at reports and trying to find the problem for ourselves.”

Sappey estimates that he spends 70% less time in meetings to discuss website issues. This is partially because the Performance Monitoring Toolset is constantly looking at code, sounding alerts, and making recommendations for his team. But it’s also because engineers are taking far more ownership of their code. With regular reports surfacing activity across the sites, engineers are more conscious of how users are engaging with sites and how their code is affecting users. This leads to more careful and efficient coding with fewer repeated mistakes.

“To me, the business intelligence we get from the Performance Monitoring Toolset empowers engineers,” says Sappey. “Engineers are learning how to create better code and improve the customer experience in less time. We’re catching errors earlier and spending less time fixing problems. This gives us even more time to develop innovative experiences for our sites or focus on training engineers to improve their ColdFusion skills even further.”

 



“To me, the business intelligence we get from the Performance Monitoring Toolset empowers engineers. Engineers are learning how to create better code and improve the customer experience in less time.”

 

Brian Sappey
Director of Engineering, Market America




Working towards an agile future

With Adobe ColdFusion, Market America has the speed and functionality it needs to tackle anything the future may bring. When the global pandemic put in-person events on hold, Market America switched course with digital initiatives such as Zoom meetings and real-time streaming events.

“Adobe ColdFusion played a part in probably 98% of our new digital initiatives,” says Sappey. “I don’t think we would have been nearly as successful with our new digital initiative if it weren’t for the Performance Monitoring Toolset monitoring health of our systems and alerting us to issues early on.”

Recommended for you

Let’s talk about what Adobe can do for your business.

Let’s talk about what Adobe can do for your business.