Just how great is the need for speed when building an online business, and how can technology help or hinder the process? Terry Hunter UK MD at with Astound Commerce, looks at the benefits of a fully utilised cloud platform for online retailers.
In the world of e-commerce, it is vital that everyone in a business is on the same page. The technology a retailer chooses can help make or break a business, and hasten or delay time to market. However, decisions and strategies relating to a retailer’s consumer base and workforce are also of significant importance.
Technology can create challenges for retailers looking to launch or re-launch online. Retail software and solutions are constantly evolving and are dependent on seemingly endless upgrades. Keeping pace can be a challenge, so close management of solutions and operations is essential. Through the utilisation of cloud technology, e-commerce businesses can be agile and adapt in line with advances in technology.
Adopting cloud technology frees up a retailer’s IT department to focus on more strategic business objectives. Thanks to automation, cloud technology reduces the time an IT team has to spend managing systems and data, as well the time needed to cope with any niggling issues. The cloud frees up man hours that can instead be used for more business focussed purposes, including competitive analysis and sales development.
Behind any cloud platform build or systems integration there is a team of people, and it is these people that a business will have to negotiate with, collaborate with and rely upon to safely and successfully drive business growth. In order to keep up with competition and rapid developments in technology, speed is of the essence. However, growth can be stifled if cloud solutions are adopted in haste and either turn out to be unsuitable for a business, or do not deliver the required retail goals. The choice of a trusted, knowledgeable solutions partner should be as important a decision as the cloud technology itself.
IT departments are starting to ‘emerge from the basement’ and enter the body of a retail business, and the cloud will serve to hasten and entrench this. The rate of a business’s growth is dependent on and driven by people, as well as technology: the people which form a business’s IT department and its wider personnel, and those who make up the systems integration team.
Retailers need to understand that they do not need a large IT department, but just a very strong core team that fully understands the business’s goals. This can only be achieved through company-wide collaboration. Cloud technology can enable this, providing a way for individuals and departments to access and share resources and consumer data in real time.
The evolving ways in which the modern consumer shops has meant that retailers have to be more agile and adaptable to demand. By correctly investing in cloud technology, retailers will enjoy greater functionality and flexibility. To realise these benefits, it is vital that the correct teams are in place to manage this technology, and to ensure that all the dots are connected in a retail business.
By Terry Hunter
UK Managing Director