Retailers are viewing cloud services as a catalyst that will accelerate tech-driven improvements. Source: Shutterstock

Retailers are viewing cloud services as a catalyst that will accelerate tech-driven improvements. Source: Shutterstock

Retailers see cloud as a catalyst for innovation, study finds

CLOUD adoption allows organizations to be flexible — expanding operations and capacity when needed.

Scalability, therefore, is probably why moving to the cloud may be an attractive proposition for retailers, whose need varies seasonally.

According to a new survey by the market intelligence firm, Retail Systems Research (RSR), retailers aren’t turning to the cloud to address their need for computing power, but instead, are more concerned about gaining the ability to keep up with changing business and customer needs.

In a preview of the report, improving the speed and agility at a manageable cost were among the most cited reasons for cloud adoption by the retailers, while cloud services as pure delivery mechanism are least of their concerns.

The retailers further asserted that the two business units that stand to benefit the most from integrating cloud solutions are IT group and e-commerce units. It may not be a coincidence that these two units often lead any business application projects in any organizations.

Beyond that, 98 percent of respondents with IT background also claim that they would able to get the most out of moving to the cloud, and up to 60 percent of non-IT respondents, agreed with that notion.

Accelerating innovation via cloud

All things considered, the results from the survey indicate that retailers are growing increasingly frustrated with IT backlogs and bottlenecks, and are viewing cloud as a catalyst to implement tech-driven changes to improve their operations and serve their customers better.

Recognizing that change is inevitable, retailers are seeking to address the challenges of keeping up with customer needs, globalizing business landscapes, and increasing operational costs via cloud computing.

However, though cloud services will enhance operational efficiency, retailers should also be wary that cloud technology is not a one-stop solution for all of their problem.

For instance, many retailers assume that cloud-based solutions could be layered on top of their legacy systems.

While there are always integration points between systems, absence of robust integration systems or API-based legacy infrastructure may not be seamless with cloud solutions, as it might be with an on-premise deployment.

Further, there are performance issues and SLA compliance that retailers need to worry about, on top of the cost that may exceed their budget. But luckily, retailers are at least aware of these concerns, based on their responses to the survey.

In conclusion, cloud platforms do have the potential to act as catalysts to turbocharge tech-based improvement among retailers, offering enhanced functions at a lower cost.

However, retailers need to be aware that cloud strategy success comes with careful planning and managed expectations, as well as shedding of legacy mindsets and infrastructure.