Nature’s Sunshine + Pluralsight: Developing skills for cloud transformation
When you sell 2,000 products in more than 40 countries, you need reliable systems to operate at peak efficiency. For wellness company Nature’s Sunshine, this means getting their teams skilled in the right technologies, so they can deliver on systems that are being rebuilt or modified.
Nature’s Sunshine is committed to providing the best service to their customers—and they needed a skill development platform that equips them to keep pace with technology change.
With the help of Pluralsight, Nature’s Sunshine has been able to leverage Azure in their business, and they are now running large-scale Cosmos databases in the cloud.
“We're learning Docker and Kubernetes and the Azure cloud,” says David Cronenber, Senior Full Stack Developer. “Pluralsight has been super helpful in having us moving forward as a team and developing our .NET applications to fit those environments.”
Building skills in these technologies helps them deliver on one of the company’s main goals: modernizing their systems.
Developing Azure skills to move to the cloud
Nature’s Sunshine saw the benefits of moving some of their infrastructure from onsite to the cloud, but a lot of their employees didn’t know Azure—so they started learning.
“Sometimes it's hard to know where to start, but Pluralsight has a lot of courses on Azure that allow us to learn best practices for something we’re new to,” says Nate Langston, Executive Director of Software Engineering. “We went from zero to running large scale cosmos databases in the cloud and being able to execute in a matter of weeks, rather than months.”
With the help of the Pluralsight platform, Nature’s Sunshine has equipped its employees to move faster, support their customers better and use technology to increase revenue. Their system now executes much faster and has far fewer defects than it previously did.
“We really have to adapt our processes to be a lot more customer friendly, and have information available at everybody’s fingertips much quicker,” says Michel Danon, CIO. “We need to be able to upskill our team members in new technologies to be able to deliver the systems that we're rebuilding or modifying.”
Facing the future with confidence: Investing in security
Nature’s Sunshine is focused on developing skills that help them create better products, so they’re investing heavily in Angular for the front end, developing microservices and transferring their infrastructure from onsite to the Azure cloud. They recently were able to implement a new payment service using the skills they’ve gained through Pluralsight.
“Pluralsight gives us a lot of security in rolling out things like our new payment service,” says Matt Tipping, Lead Full Stack Developer and Scrum Master for Synergy Worldwide Application Development. “It was built in something new, but everybody was able to come up to speed on it really quickly and know exactly what it was doing, so we didn’t have to fear that it was going to break.”
“Unfortunately, in the kind of retail world we're in, there's a lot of fraud. Being able to have better security is essential for us,” says Michel.
Committed to expertise (and getting there faster)
Skill development isn’t just a box to check at Nature’s Sunshine. Every employee is encouraged to work on growing their skills. The company even designates half of every Friday to learning, and with the help of Pluralsight analytics, their “Skill Like You” program incentivizes learning and rewards improvement. It’s having a really positive impact.
The efficiency of Pluralsight’s platform allows new team members to become productive faster, and helps them make sure they’re building products right the first time. An intern who previously knew only front-end development was able to build a new feature using back-end technologies exclusively from the skills he learned on Pluralsight.
“When he got here, one of the first things I told him was, ‘You're going to need to learn C# and .NET. Go watch this Pluralsight video. It's only two and a half hours, but once you watch it, you'll be able to dive right into the back-end code,’” says Robert Williams, Senior Full Stack Developer. “He's an intern with nine months of experience, but he was able to build the feature that we thought was going to take a month—and he did it in a couple of weeks. It was impressive.”
Knowing exactly where they stand with Pluralsight IQ
Learners at Nature’s Sunshine are big fans of Pluralsight IQ, which allows them to quickly identify knowledge gaps and strengths and see how they stack up against their peers—then level up their skills with expert-led courses they know are accurate and high quality.
“Pluralsight analytics have helped us quite a bit because we now have an ethos where we succeed as a team,” says Nate. “We now recognize we're all learning, and we all have a lot to learn. It's added an element of gamification. Developers and testers work hard to skill up and share their knowledge to help other people around them.”
“My favorite thing about Pluralsight is the ability to not know something and find a course that goes from beginner to expert,” says Matt. “I can learn the entire thing without having to Google 20 different things and read a bunch of forums and find a YouTube video by some random person who mumbles the entire time.”
Nature’s Sunshine’s commitment to learning has paid off—their focus on skill development has enabled them to automate manual work and eliminate a lot of waste in the pipeline. They’ve also been able to ship software faster, get their first Node services going and inspire employees to continue growing as individuals and teams. Most of all, they’re keeping employees happy and motivated.
“If we took away Pluralsight, the nerds – as I lovingly call them – would probably riot,” says Nate. “It’s one of the best tools you can give anyone working in technology to be successful.”
Nature’s Sunshine has been in business for 45 years, and was the first company to encapsulate herbs.
Nature’s Sunshine distributes 2,000+ health and wellness products in more than 40 countries through standard retail channels and direct selling channels.
Wanted to transfer some of their infrastructure from onsite to cloud, but didn’t have enough people with Azure skills
Adopting a technology skills solution with enough breadth to streamline the learning process
Modernizing their web front end
Nature’s Sunshine partnered with Pluralsight to give employees access to a platform that helped teams deploy new solutions, including their first Node service, a payment system and moving to Azure. Thanks to Pluralsight, everyone is now up to speed with Azure, and they’re one-third of the way complete with their cloud transformation.