24 November 2017
Retail has been completely revolutionised by technology, as the shattering of online shopping records year-on-year clearly demonstrates.
Many customers no longer want to leave the comfort and convenience of their own homes to get the best deals, forcing retailers to go to them instead.
But the increasing shift in focus from mortar and bricks to online shopping puts additional pressure on IT departments to provide reliable, secure platforms and infrastructure to support business goals.
The frenzied shopping spree that underpins Black Friday is an ideal example.
In a recent survey commissioned by Six Degrees and conducted by Martec International, more than 90 per cent of retailers identified loss of sales or inability to trade as the biggest business risks in the event of a critical application failure, with loss of customers a related concern.
Imagine the consequences if that failure were to occur on the busiest shopping day of the year, a day which marks the start of the most intense 30 days or so of the year for retailers.
One way to minimise the risk of collapse during their busiest trading period is to lean on managed service providers to deliver the flexibility, scalability and agility that online sales platforms require to manage sudden bursts of activity.
Retailers can also employ service providers to provide expert support to prevent downtime or glitches from impacting business revenues.
They are starting to understand that outsourcing, whether for e-commerce, HR, payroll or other systems, can play a big part in how they allocate and provide computing resources. Using outsourced cloud services is increasingly being viewed as a very effective way to gain the benefits of technology without having to make substantial investments in their own infrastructure.
As the volume of online sales grows inexorably, retailers are keen to harness cloud technologies to transform their businesses and meet the demands and challenges of the digital age. It makes sense for them to employ the services of cloud providers to meet their IT requirements and allow them to concentrate on their core business.
For many, this will become an integral part of how they operate.