Business case study: How World Fuel Services drove digital transformation with New Relic
From fueling flights to fleets and ships at sea, World Fuel Services is a leader in the global energy industry. It delivers trusted energy solutions with a powerful, integrated platform to optimize energy, logistics, and related services.
World Fuel collaborates with transportation, commercial, and industrial partners and works with customers worldwide across the aviation, marine, commercial, industrial, and land transportation industries. In 2020, World Fuel sold a total of 14.3 billion gallons of fuel and generated $20.4 billion in revenue. A Fortune 250 company, World Fuel operates out of 200+ countries and territories, with 4,000+ dedicated employees offering 50+ energy products and solutions.
Challenge: No time for downtime
World Fuel needed a better way to monitor its application performance and infrastructure, improve site reliability, and ensure uptime. The company partnered with New Relic to transition its disparate tools onto a consolidated platform with New Relic One. In addition, World Fuel worked with New Relic to move to the cloud.
Reactive and costly incident resolution
World Fuel operates every day at all hours to meet the world’s energy and fueling needs. If, for example, a pilot lands at an airport and calls for fuel, the company must be able to provide fuel immediately to ensure on-time departures for the plane and its passengers. If the infrastructure goes down, World Fuel applications and features go down—and customers can’t get fuel.
With 50 engineers running 100+ applications, it was difficult for team members to identify and resolve issues in their own application, let alone someone else’s. Whenever an issue occurred, the engineer on-call had to work with multiple team members and then manually conduct a log analysis to identify the root cause.
The team also felt that they resolved issues reactively and wanted to proactively prevent them instead. World Fuel was experiencing as many as 40–50 critical incidents per month with a mean time to resolution (MTTR) of 12–24 hours. This MTTR often led to shipping delays, poor customer experiences, and the loss of valuable engineering time.
Performance monitoring during a complex cloud migration
As the business grew, the engineering team needed to scale World Fuel systems to meet customer demand. The existing on-prem infrastructure was not scalable, so they decided to move their systems from an on-prem to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model with the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. But moving 22 global data centers to the cloud isn’t simple. World Fuel engineers needed to know how to size their systems in the cloud while ensuring minimal impact on application performance.
In addition, when they encountered application performance issues, the engineers at World Fuel had to review different log files for different services—an inefficient and time-consuming process. And, as the World Fuel team transitioned their architecture from a monolithic- to microservices-based application, isolating which microservice or component had an issue was difficult. They needed a single view into their entire application stack.
Solution: A single dashboard with full-stack performance indicators
The World Fuel team migrated all of their data—metrics, events, logs, and traces—to the New Relic One observability platform. As a result, they:
- Reduced their MTTR and gained actionable data insights for resolution
- Eliminated internal silos, building a healthier engineering culture with a strong sense of ownership
- Accelerated their cloud migration while reducing the cost of modernization
In addition, World Fuel can drive operational efficiency at a reduced cost while gaining more value. The New Relic usage-based pricing and billing model provides greater clarity around what the team spends on and why.
“The transparency, predictability, and flexibility of New Relic pricing are hugely beneficial to World Fuel Services,” says Joshua McLean, Senior Vice President of Global Applications at World Fuel. “The usage-based pricing and billing models create a relationship of trust where we know New Relic is focused on delivering value to us, and we only pay for what we use.”
Proactively preventing incidents
With all of their data in a single platform paired with best-in-class, full-stack analysis tools, World Fuel engineers can move beyond what happened and uncover why it happened. They can access, view, and understand data across their infrastructure, regardless of which team owns it, and implement better solutions faster.
“New Relic One monitors our systems, environments, and applications. It simulates user transactions in our applications. With New Relic One logs enabled, we get additional visibility,” says Sunith Ravindran, Vice President of Applications at World Fuel. “We know what’s wrong before a user does. We can be more proactive and create more operationally resilient systems.”
World Fuel cut its critical incidents in half, to an average of 15 per month worldwide. After implementing New Relic One, World Fuel experienced a 12–24X decrease in MTTR, from 12–24 hours per incident to approximately 3–4 hours per incident and 1–2 hours for most of its applications.
A true engineering culture: Build it, run it, operate it
With New Relic One, all World Fuel team members have full visibility across all of the layers of the application stack. Data is no longer siloed; engineers can pinpoint the exact issue and assign the right team member to address it.
“Culture is heavily influenced by the way you’re organized,” says Joshua. “One of the first things we did was completely reorganize IT based on the Spotify model or product model principles. A core part of that principle is you build it, you own it. So we formed our teams around assets or products. What that did was create a greater sense of ownership.”
Teams can now make and deploy changes to a production environment when the team is ready. They can think more clearly, know what kind of innovation to drive and why, and ship new features and resolve issues confidently. They’re in control of what they work on, how they work, and even their quality of life. The peace of mind they’ve gained is priceless.
Modernized infrastructure and digital transformation
After implementing New Relic One, World Fuel closed 20 of its data centers in three years, with two remaining to date. By pinpointing the timeframe of an application performance issue, World Fuel engineers worked effectively on the cloud migration. Accessing host metrics (memory, CPU, and load) helped them analyze the optimal Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud instance that they needed to deploy in the cloud.
New Relic support as World Fuel migrated to the cloud has already delivered business benefits. During the COVID-19 pandemic, World Fuel was fully prepared to offer the same level of performance and service to its customers and shift its workforce to remote while continuing to scale. Its cloud migration has also enabled World Fuel to provide more digital capabilities for its customers that are cloud-enabled from day one.
Results: A digital, data-driven strategy
World Fuel invested in the New Relic One centralized platform for monitoring and observability. Today, World Fuel is a full-stack organization with a mature observability practice and an empowered, proactive engineering team.
“We feel more secure in our software. We can sleep well and know that our software will be available to our users in the morning,” says Olga Danchenko, Software Developer II at World Fuel. “Thanks to New Relic, our work is streamlined. Every team member logs into the New Relic One platform every day.”
The World Fuel team bet on digital transformation, which will only expand as they work toward becoming a fully digital organization centered around data. As the world becomes more complex, employees across the organization must be empowered to use data in real-time decision-making. By partnering with New Relic, that data-driven future is now possible for World Fuel.
- Fortune 250 company
- 4,000+ dedicated employees and local experts
- Located globally in 23 countries
- Head IT office based in Miami, Florida
- Environment: AWS cloud
- Team organization: Squad-type model with teams focused around assets or products
- Favorite New Relic One features: Logs, APM, dashboards, and synthetic monitors
- Needed stability for on-prem applications and to move environments to the cloud six months faster
- Lacked visibility into performance of on-prem environments
- Had disparate tools with no consolidated view of application environments
- Addressed troubleshooting reactively with siloed engineering teams
- Lacked unified data on applications and insight to wield information
- Cloud migration from on-prem to AWS
- Proactive monitoring and alerting
- Business KPI monitoring
- System-wide monitoring of application and infrastructure performance
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