We consider the key trends that will define 2018’s key business challenges… Plagued by cyber-attacks and skills shortages...
Today’s customers are impatient
In a matter of minutes customers not only expect to be able to search for a product, but to check its availability, make a purchase, and receive an accurate delivery date, to a location of their choice. Everything needs to be completed within just a handful of clicks. Additionally, with seasonal demand spikes such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas or end-of-season sales, the sales processes needs flexibility and scalability in order to accommodate the additional web traffic, though without requiring huge upfront investments in IT infrastructure.
A Change of Strategy
This has placed retail IT into an era of transition, moving from traditional IT and into the cloud. Organisations are now deploying ‘Hybrid IT’ as a strategic choice, running their business across a number of different IT platforms, from their more traditional and legacy platforms such as PoS, through to consumer facing applications such as ERP and mobile applications.
“For the retailers that have adopted the Hybrid IT approach, there have been numerous benefits. Our research found that a third of retailers believe Hybrid IT can improve scalability, while 30 per cent saw an uplift in customer service and response times.”
For the retailers that have adopted the Hybrid IT approach, there have been numerous benefits. Our research found that a third of retailers believe Hybrid IT can improve scalability, while 30 per cent saw an uplift in customer service and response times. In an era where even a slight dip in availability can be costly, these two factors could be the difference between success and failure and having the ability to move at least a proportion of their business to the cloud is a critical part of making their more responsive and competitive.
Not So Clear Cut
However, the research also revealed Hybrid IT’s darker side, with nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of retailers now running even more complex IT systems than before – managing a number of applications and programmes which sit across different platforms which are not integrated. This complexity is one thing, but having the right expertise is also a concern. Over half (59 per cent) of retailers claim they do not have the skills within their organisation to manage this complex IT estate, with 30 per cent stating they lack the security skills needed to manage Hybrid IT.
“…complexity is one thing, but having the right expertise is also a concern…”
With the busiest shopping period of the year now underway, and with these peak seasons accounting for a significant proportion of annual turnover, any slip ups now could have disastrous consequences…
For more information about the horrors of Hybrid IT, and how to navigate your cloud journey, download the whitepaper here.
To read about UK retailers’ experience of Hybrid IT, click here.
To read about Irish retailers’ experience of Hybrid IT, click here.
 About the research
Interviews were carried out in September and October 2015 by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Sungard Availability Services®. 500 interviews were conducted altogether: 150 from the UK, 150 from France and 100 each from Sweden and Ireland. The research spoke to IT decision makers in businesses of over 500 employees across a variety of sectors – including financial services, business process management and retail.