Not all clouds are created equal
Make sure you’re investing in the right cloud solution for your business
Omnichannel retailing presents companies with many new challenges. As customer expectations rise, there’s a sense that organisations need to exceed expectations, and do that across every channel, at every touchpoint.
One approach that can maximise the full potential of omnichannel retail is cloud. With its massive scalability and its always-current and microservices-based, malleable functionality, it adapts easily to a constantly changing environment.
Cloud technology is not optional
In the technology world there has been a big shift toward cloud. A study by Gartner revealed that 90 percent of companies planned to use cloud technology by 2019, and by 2021, more than half of global enterprises already using cloud today will adopt a 100 percent cloud strategy. Further research by Forrester finds that investment in cloud technology will grow at 22 percent annually. Is it time to aim for that elusive all-in-cloud technology platform?
Knowing your clouds
There is some confusion around the terms cloud-native and cloud-enabled. In brief, cloud-native systems are created specifically for the web and are designed to leverage benefits of the technology such as elastic scaling, run-anywhere functionality, easy integration, single view of the truth and seamless administration. Cloud-native’s ability to give a unified view of systems such as point of sale, clienteling and fulfilment means teams can use data and hyper-personalise engagements to drive a unique consumer experience; and do it across all channels.
On the other hand, cloud-enabled systems were initially designed for deployment in traditional data centres, with some adaption to enable cloud use with the software encased in an IP wrapper, or other abstraction layer to function either in the data centre, in the cloud, or in hybrid deployments.
Vendors and suppliers often use the terms cloud-native and cloud-enabled interchangeably, which creates confusion and blurs the picture. Beware ‘cloud-washing’, and make sure you know you’re investing in the real deal.
An omnichannel retail environment
In today’s omnichannel retail world, companies are struggling to keep up with fast-changing customer behaviour, supply networks, fulfilment approaches and business processes. To meet customers’ expectations, successful companies need to experiment and adopt new technologies quickly and regularly. They also need to implement new systems and upgrades faster, and in a more streamlined way. Departments within companies also need to work closely to deliver an outstanding customer experience.
New channels are constantly emerging, and consumer expectations for a consistent experience with the brands they love are high. Retail associates need technology and solutions that are easy to understand and provide actionable insight, quickly. This starts with visibility to a single view of both inventory and your customer data.
Continuously updated and seamlessly interconnected, cloud-native technology is arguably the best tool currently available to meet the challenges presented by modern omnichannel retail. With its exponential scalability, cloud-native computing can unlock the full potential of omnichannel retail, making you quicker and more agile in your every-day operations.
Retailers that embrace change and migrate to the cloud, sooner rather than later, will enjoy a significant competitive advantage over their peers.
Choosing the right cloud-native system
So, how can you find out if a solution is fully functional, fit-for-purpose and cloud-native?
Continuous software delivery and constant innovation is a way of describing the ability of cloud-native applications to reside in a perpetual state of keeping cutting-edge. The technology landscape is evolving quickly, and continuous software delivery is the only way to future-proof your workflows without suffering frequent updates, patches, shims and on occasion, wholesale replacements of applications and platforms.
Continuous software delivery is all about being able to improve applications by adding the latest technology without requiring a wholesale upgrade. If your technology vendor tells you that support for a popular file conversion option, for example, won’t be available until after the next upgrade cycle, chances are they are still dwelling in the cloud-enabled realm.
With cloud-native software, both new features and critical updates are deployed quickly to all customers without downtime or disruption.
Cloud-native software scales automatically up or down depending on demand and does not require any human intervention to massage or tweak the software settings for maximum performance; it simply applies more hardware as needed, on demand. As such, extra capacity is accommodated with ease and there is no need to increase resources or extra servers.
The right tool
Your omnichannel initiatives need tools that provide actionable insights, empowering all retail associates to provide an exceptional, personalised customer experience.
Manhattan Active™ Omni, which was born in the cloud, optimises your omnichannel initiatives to maximise every opportunity – while maximising profits. You can conquer the challenges of higher management costs and static, retail management systems – and that includes legacy point of sale installations.
Achieving a holistic, system-wide transformation, where new technologies and processes complement and amplify each other will elude many retail organisations. That is why choosing a partnership with the right technical expertise and strategic vision is critical to achieving a truly demand-driven retail model.
To find out more about the Manhattan Active™ Omni cloud solution, visit https://www.manh.com/en-au/cloud.
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