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Shutterfly: Scaling Legacy Systems with APIs

Aug 04, 2016

In internet years, Shutterfly has reached middle age.

The leading image publishing company, founded in 1999, has built a vibrant business offering personalized photo products and services that help its customers "make the most out of life's most memorable moments."

But as technology evolved and mobile devices flooded the digital landscape—drastically changing how customers interacted with the company—Shutterfly needed to modernize its ecommerce strategy.

“Being a 15-year-old internet company, we have a lot of legacy infrastructure that’s solid, it’s hardened, it’s powering a billion dollar business,” said James Berry, senior director of strategic projects at Shutterfly. “You don’t really want to mess with that lightly.”

Shutterfly turned to APIs for help. APIs give the company the ability to securely expose its backend systems to the cloud, enabling it to build transformative mobile apps and completely reshape customers’ online experience. Through this new and improved digital experience, Shutterfly can bring the right products to market quickly, and better serve external consumers and internal customers, Berry said.

API analytics help product-focused teams at Shutterfly fine-tune the features behind their customizable products, he added.

“APIs help us power our consumer businesses,” Berry said. “APIs have allowed us to gain insights and provide analytics for our image science team.”

APIs also support Shutterfly in its mobile expansion efforts by providing a platform on which to evolve its internal systems and proactively scale services to handle traffic driven by their rapidly-growing mobile products.

“Apigee is a critical part of our services strategy and digital strategy,” Berry said. “A service gateway allows us to provide a facade on top of a lot of our legacy infrastructure, as well as the new services that we’re trying to bring on as we innovate.”

With Apigee’s API management platform, Shutterfly has transformed its online and mobile presence and successfully overcome the midlife crisis many seasoned internet companies face.

“Apigee really helps us plan for success as we bring new products to market because we have insights and analytics that allow us to scale on the backend,” Berry said. “So Apigee as a whole is actually just a major critical part of what we are doing.”

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