Technology trends, due to the speed with which new solutions and products are developed, often last only one season. This is not the case for Cloud Computing, a constantly evolving set of services and solutions and an enabling factor of the Digital Transformation. As with other industries, Cloud Enablement is the driver for growth and innovation in Retail.
The adoption of the cloud has gradually grown as cloud services have progressed from hosting and commodity that can reduce IT infrastructure costs and increase business continuity to the technology of choice for advanced data analysis. Indeed, data analysis processes, where raw data is collected, synthesised and shaped, have moved to the cloud. The cloud has extended its capabilities and allowed companies to gain a competitive advantage from Big Data, through solutions that can be managed in the cloud, without limits. From real-time data processing to peak business management, to revamping the operating model and improving the customer experience, cloud computing is playing a key role in changing the face of retail.
Cloud enablement offers retailers not just a simple infrastructural improvement, but a complete business transformation.
Like any other industry working on its technology transition, the retail sector wants to continue to extend its capabilities, to adapt to the latest technology solutions and, above all, is looking for solutions that can make the company stronger, faster in making decisions and, ultimately, more resilient in an uncertain economic and political landscape.
Cloud enablement benefits for the retail sector
So what are the advantages for a company in the retail sector that decides to move to the Cloud?
First of all, companies will enjoy a reduction in initial investment costs in facilities, services, hardware and licences. The pay-as-you-go model allows an organisation to pay only for the computing resources it uses.
At the same time, the retailer will have full control over its infrastructure and a great ability to scale IT resources according to the demands of the business. Through the Cloud, resources can be easily increased when needed (for example in the case of seasonal peaks) and returned to normal once the peak has passed.
The Cloud ensures speed of innovation, enabling businesses to respond quickly to market needs by launching new products or services. Data and applications to manage and analyse them are on the cloud and practically available to any device that can connect to the Internet.
High availability: most cloud providers provide highly reliable services with up to 99.99% uptime. Moreover, even in the event of a disaster, data and applications are easily recoverable. Quite different, however, are the consequences of a fire, earthquake or flood that destroy a company's CED, which has not enabled the cloud.
However, there are also more specific benefits for the retail sector:
the cloud is renewing and simplifying inventory management, especially when the retailer has multiple shops or multiple locations to manage.
Through the cloud, traditional POS systems are being replaced and innovative ones enabled.
Access to transactional data occurs real-time and allows the online store aligned with physical shops.
But that's not all, the cloud allows a company greater visibility and security of its data, reduces the time to maintain and update applications, and enables an unprecedented customer experience, thanks to the cloud's data analysis potential, which enables machine learning and artificial intelligence. Finally, Cloud Migration ensures data security and compliance with national laws, even when managing data from different shops or foreign locations.