Digi-Key Electronics was digital before digital was even a buzzword. The company launched in 1972 to provide electronic components and automation products to design engineers. Instead of putting salespeople on the ground, we pioneered a business model built around mail-order catalog sales. Before long, we expanded into online sales and, today, Digi-Key offers the world’s largest selection of electronic components that are both in-stock and available for immediate shipment.

Beyond products that drive technology innovation, Digi-Key also supports design engineers and procurement professionals with a wealth of digital solutions, tools and resources to make their jobs more efficient – from prototype to production. 

My role is to protect and grow technology enablement for Digi-Key. Although we are headquartered in the U.S. (Thief River Falls, Minnesota), 50% of our sales comes from other countries. We engage customers from all over the world.

As CIO, I have made transforming the web experience for customers a top priority – and we’ve come a long way. For example, previously, when a customer in Hong Kong clicked on Digi-Key.com, the total process for the request to reach our Minnesota data center and for Digi-Key to return a response took 7.1 seconds. That was unacceptable, and when we came to that realization, it was a pivotal moment. We knew we needed to get closer to our customers, so we started our cloud transition. From that point, performance has improved to 1.2 seconds per click today.

 A Surprising Start with Multi-Cloud

Digi-Key got its start in multi-cloud by chance – not by design. We initially turned to Google for analytics and to Oracle for database and data warehouse solutions, which exposed us to cloud offerings from both vendors at the same time.

We didn’t strategize about multi-cloud in the beginning. It just happened. Although me and my team now reflect on those first steps with a bit of humor, when we became intentional about multi-cloud, we went all in. We began by identifying our strategy as cloud-first but soon shifted to cloud smart. That term clicked for us because going blindly into the cloud wasn’t the answer. Being smart about it was our game plan.

That’s when our transition from one cloud to multi-cloud really happened. We are super happy with what we’ve accomplished. The primary benefit is that we can now go to market faster. That’s where the magic happens. It’s all about how fast you can deliver business value.

Watch the video for more insights on how multi-cloud has transformed Digi-Key‘s business.