Cloud-native systems can save retailers time and money, that’s for sure, but they also have the potential to transform the way you do business in a multitude of other ways, bringing benefits that aren’t always explicitly spelled out in the sales brochures.

Here are some of the more unexpected benefits of cloud.

Liberating tech leaders The cloud has the potential to liberate technology leaders and their teams  so they can do what they do  best - innovate.

Online retail disruptors such as Amazon, Alibaba and Asos have already achieved a substantial lead over their omnichannel competitors so giving retail tech leaders the time and space to compete is essential.

The microservice architecture of cloud systems means they reside in a continual state of updatedness, so time-consuming, but mission critical maintenance regimes,  become redundant.

There’s no longer any need for CTOs, CIOs and their teams to be tied up  with the regular maintenance cycles that are a hallmark of non-cloud, inhouse IT systems.

Statistics have consistently shown that up to 80% of traditional IT budgets are tied up with this routine maintenance – that’s an unacceptable drain on anyone’s resources.

Instead tech leaders should be using their valuable expertise and experience to think and act strategically, so they can help solve business-critical challenges, drive innovation and add to the bottom line.

In an extremely competitive global retail landscape, using cloud technology to liberate CTOs in this way, so they can leverage the latest technology, can be a real game changer. Encouraging innovation While traditional monolithic software programs are slow and unwieldy to change and update, the inherent flexibility and agility of cloud-native microservice architecture has made it quicker, easier and cheaper to bring new retail products and technologies such as visual search, augmented reality and voice assistant purchasing  to market.

Traditionally, IT projects have required up-front investment in hardware, licenses and implementation costs, with the promise of a return on that investment once it was live and fully deployed to hundreds of users.

This was often a slow process and usually meant that promised business benefits were not realised until years later, dropped off the radar or were simply not realised at all.

The cloud model changes this completely, enabling piecemeal investment in shared infrastructure which avoids a large outlay and supports more rapid deployment and faster business case realisation.

This is because high-value areas of your retail business can be targeted for early deployment of cloud solutions, creating a faster return on investment.

It also allows quicker validation of the benefits to ensure the expected returns will be met, so a new project can be reshaped or even cancelled before it becomes an expensive failure.

I’ve seen this time and time again – when organizations discover they can bring new products to market quicker and smarter they realise they’re free  to innovate like never before.  

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