With the increasing popularity of mobile devices and social networks, managing the omni-channel experience will be a key priority for retailers this holiday season. Leading experts say that retailers need to update their legacy technology systems to handle the large amounts of data being generated by these channels.
Breaking down the silos between e-commerce and store-level platforms to get a single view of the customer and enterprise-wide inventory levels requires retailers to integrate existing platforms. With newer channels such as mobility and social media playing bigger roles in cross-channel operations, existing mainframe operating platforms are getting stretched further than ever. New cloud computing technology is helping make the transition easier, while limiting the impact on existing business operations.
“The mainframe was king for retailers because it was very robust and was created with strong business logic,” said Keith Champeau, national director of business development, Fujitsu, Sunnyvale, Calif. “However, that business logic was built more than 20 years ago, and big data stemming from social and mobile channels is taking a toll on those mainframes.”
These new channels are also impacting operations, including website and network support and functionality, as well as the ability to scale site capacity and deliver real-time online marketing campaigns. Rather than embark on a costly and time-consuming rewriting of code or “ripping-and-replacing” existing platforms, some companies are exploring the gradual migration of legacy business processes to open platforms.
Cloud computing is helping retailers in this endeavor. Since retailers can provision the power and applications they need, the cloud’s elasticity gives retailers more agility in their go-to-market strategies, and the open platform costs less to maintain and operate than mainframe options.
“The cloud is really changing everything,” explained Brad Wilhelmy, industry marketing development manager, Microsoft, Redmond, Wash.
“Last year was a year of discovery, but now companies are getting their heads around the cloud. The cloud doesn’t eliminate integration challenges, but instead creates new opportunities