According to IBM, cloud computing empowers retailers to address challenges and make the most of new market opportunities. “Not only can cloud enable new, dynamic business and operational models, it can also help fundamentally change cost structures,” says IBM. As more and more consumers demand digital channels, contextual relations and consistent digital and in-store experiences, savvy retailers will leverage cloud to meet these changing customer expectations.
At Nebula, we work with various local retailers, helping them to manage and monitor their entire technology environments. In doing so, we’ve seen where the common challenges are when moving to cloud Below, we outline a few common cloud transition pitfalls:
Disparate data: Retailers want a single view of the customer. Often, when moving to the cloud, they end up with different variations of data about their customers, products, brand and identity, among other things. And often, the data is stored in various different places making it impossible to access a single version of the truth.
Ownership of data: When building on third party partner platforms such as a third party loyalty platform, the third party often owns the data, the environment and customer loyalty tiers. So the retailer is generating customer data that can be used to improve experiences but they may be limited when it comes to the use of that data for other retail offerings.
Legacy systems: Many of the well-established retailers have attempted to repurpose their legacy systems and use these for purposes that they were not originally intended for. This can make their cloud migration process complicated, as they need modern data architecture to make the most of all that cloud has to offer.
Scalability: With everyone talking about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, any retailer who is struggling with the points above will find it tough to handle the massive increases in sales volumes that occur on these popular shopping days. Similarly, without the proper foundations in place, preparing for a day like Black Friday is not as easy as just adding more cloud resources.
So, what can retailers do to avoid these pitfalls?
To start with, we advise that they develop cloud best practice policies. In addition, training and upskilling of internal teams is essential. Should you decide to partner with a third party, this will ensure that when they leave, your employees have the skills needed to take over and continue to innovate in your cloud environment.
These challenges are intimidating, but it often helps to start out with small proof of concept projects that can be used as a base to set up cloud for the long run and address these challenges on smaller scale. Pick a project on a small scale, determine set standards and make sure that your teams take ownership of the project and invest in the success of your cloud journey.
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