Alamy Case study – Creating A Leading Edge Global eCommerce Transformation

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“The DWG team was instrumental in developing a compelling and feasible optimisation plan for Alamy’s ecommerce capabilities, including a move to a more Agile deployment process. Resulting in a record performance in Q3 2021.”

Marco Potesta – Partner, Product

Alamy is a UK-based digital online content platform with a global team of 170 content experts. They supply digital stock images and videos for commercial use to 100,000 customers worldwide.

Alamy’s stock imagery collection consists of 210 million photos, vectors and videos sourced from photographers and agencies in over 150 countries. More than three million images are added to their platform each month.

The company was founded in 1999 and remained privately owned until PA Media acquired it in 2020. PA Media Group plc comprises a diverse portfolio of specialist media companies, spanning news and information, data, technology, and communications services.

The directive was to re-set the direction of the eCommerce function, including people, process, and technology, and to recruit a permanent replacement within six months.

DWG placed a senior experienced eCommerce Transformation consultant in the interim global eCommerce director role. After some time on the ground, it became clear that a full review and restructuring of the Alamy processes, team, platform, and performance was required to take Alamy to a consistently high-performing level. DWG also provided additional specialist consultants to accelerate the planning and execution to help change the company’s innovation and optimisation processes to a more Agile standard and inject other senior product ownership capabilities.

Previously, the roadmap had been mostly verbal and undocumented. DWG took a data-driven approach to the project, which meant that strategic decisions could be made based on data instead of intuition. This was supported by a new Power BI dashboard being implemented simultaneously, which provided the necessary data required for strategic decision-making.

In parallel, DWG worked collaboratively with Alamy to create an Agile development and delivery environment, accelerating Alamy’s ability to release major proposition changes.

Creating an Agile environment

By taking a collaborative approach and working with the business, DWG established ways of working in sprints, with all teams working on the same regular cadence.

Release processes were improved and defined, shortening the time to release, putting in place cross-team coordination, and then building a quarterly planning cycle with structured prioritisation methods, and establishing a rhythm of development and delivery.

Culturally, the teams now have a level of autonomous decision-making, with a growth mindset and empowerment that has enabled them to significantly increase their pace positively.

Through implementing an Agile delivery framework, Alamy’s ability to deliver major development releases massively increased from one release in 18 months to 60 releases in one year, enabling more than one release per week.

The overall approach focused on transforming the core elements of Processes, People, Platforms and Performance:

  • Processes – Designed and implemented new processes with a data-driven approach, including regular weekly and monthly performance reporting. Full planning processes and the Agile delivery methodology were defined and implemented from the ground up, including recruiting a new delivery team.
  • People – Restructured the Alamy team from 5 people to 14, creating a high-performing e-commerce function, including team coaching and 1-to-1s, and establishing a key stakeholder pod for decision-making. The job description for the permanent e-commerce director was also reviewed and redefined for the newly restructured team.
  • Platforms – Implemented a fully documented best-of-breed e-commerce platform, including content management and e-commerce tools, within a fully managed Agile delivery roll-out, across multiple territories.
  • Performance – Advanced the team from little understanding of the key drivers of conversion or performance to increasing performance, exploiting growth, and fully utilising the affiliate channel to drive eCommerce growth through data-led reporting.

With documented processes, a new Agile delivery environment, and a leading-edge eCommerce platform established, the transformed business and delivery environment enabled the launch of Create, a specific programme of work to deliver a new business proposition for Alamy.

DWG’s eCommerce Transformation moved Alamy from an end-of-life technology platform in an environment with no formalised processes, a lack of data usage, and no weekly or monthly reporting to:

  • A leading-edge best-of-breed eCommerce platform
  • Fully documented processes and systems
  • Agile development and delivery environment enabling weekly releases, across multiple teams, with structured quarterly planning, supported by business prioritisation and increasing velocity
  • A delivery velocity of one release per week, up from one in 18 months
  • Increased performance and growth through consistent data-led reporting
  • A restructured, high-performing eCommerce function with a strong team of 14 specialists ready to drive the business forward

These measures resulted in record performance in Q3 2021 and 15-20% growth in their affiliate marketing channel in 2022, and the Create launch in June 2022 – their largest-ever single release.

If you would like help with your eCommerce business transformation, contact us to discuss your next project.


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