One of the biggest benefits of cloud-native systems is that they liberate your mission-critical processes from static legacy systems, housed in data centres. This ensures they can be accessed, run and updated from virtually anywhere on the planet with an internet connection.

Cloud-native functionality is particularly powerful for organisations in the retail sector, enabling them to consolidate data from inventory, order management, customer transactions data, omni and supply chain systems, into one single version of the truth, accessible globally across the organisation.

A wide range of retail sector organisations could achieve a dramatic step change in their operational effectiveness thanks to this runanywhere nature of cloud-native. This also includes retail, brand manufacturing, wholesale and thirdparty logistics.

Here is a list of just some of the most important benefits cloud-native ‘runanywhere’ functionality can bring for your company

1. Increased collaboration Cloud computing allows for greater connectivity and collaboration between employees. Workers can access relevant files and documents from wherever they are: be it the shop floor, distribution centre, an employee working at home or in the boardroom - and also across numerous countries and continents.

This could mean, for example, sales associates equipped with tablets collaborating with call centre colleagues to offer purchasing recommendations, provide rich product information and check real-time stock availability. In fact, some furniture retailers are already adopting this collaborative approach to build consumer confidence when buying big-ticket items online.

And it need not be complex. Leadingedge systems enable employees to simply download software from the Apple or Google app stores, log in and start work.

This empowers employees to potentially work on order management, call centre and store solutions in a single application, born in the cloud, completely versionless and fully extendable.

In practice, this also means every retail associate who interacts with a consumer - in a store, at a call centre, through a chat window, text message, or on social media - is working from a ‘run-anywhere’ single source of truth about your customer and what he or she means to your business.

2. Big data made easier Retailers are tapping into social networks to learn what customers are saying about them and about their competitors.

Weather data is being used to influence product purchasing decisions, and merchandise promotions are organised around social events.

Some bricks-and-mortar companies are tracking movement of customers within stores and analysing how many stop at displays to improve the effectiveness of merchandising. Others are considering installing license-plate cameras in parking lots to find out which customer is about to walk into the store.

All of these innovations make use of massive amounts of data. A runanywhere cloud-based solution, with elastic storage, computing and analytics capability, can make it possible for retailers to harness large volumes of unstructured data quickly and easily, unlike traditional data centres. This functionality has yet another positive impact on productivity, competitiveness and profitability.

3. Cost effective Cloud systems enable employees to quickly and cost-effectively access a single, centrally located version of the truth.

That means one view of the customer across all channels, one view of inventory across the enterprise, one repository for transactions from every sale and order, one solution for pricing, promo, and payment - no costly duplication of systems or data.

Cloud-native systems also have a direct benefit for your IT budget. The financial model associated with the cloud is predictable and economical. There are no upfront costs, a known monthly fee based on usage and easy scalability up or down.

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