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Go cloud with Openbravo for innovative, reliable and agile retailing

3 min read

Cloud computing is changing the IT landscape and while the retail industry has traditionally had a conservative attitude to new technology, it is clear that cloud computing is poised to play an essential role in every retailer’s strategy to face the challenges ahead.  According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, 70% of retailers believe cloud will be a “major factor” in retailing by 2020.

That is why Openbravo has decided this month to focus heavily on the cloud. We want to tell retailers about the benefits of cloud computing in general and, in particular, the specific advantages they can obtain by using Openbravo Commerce Cloud,  our infrastructure-as-a-service option that allows them to deploy the full functionality of Openbravo Commerce Suite on virtual servers hosted by Amazon Web Services.

For those retailers that have traditionally had limited in-house IT resources and expertise,the brave new world of cloud computing can seem a little confusing, intimidating even.  Relax!

We want to make the process of adopting the cloud as simple as possible as we believe that the benefits it offers to retailers are now difficult to ignore. They fall into three broad areas:

  1. Innovation: Put simply, retailers need to innovate to stay ahead of the competition. The cloud is an excellent platform for innovation.
  2. Agility: In a commoditised industry, agility plays a key factor in helping retailers differentiate themselves from their slower rivals, by being first to offer new services or solutions to customers’ needs.  Cloud offers retailers the much-needed agility that their traditional in-house IT systems cannot provide.
  3. New Technology: Retailers have traditionally had a somewhat sceptical attitude to new technology, prefering highly visible investments in new stores or advertising campaigns to behind-the-scenes investment in new IT systems. But to stay in the lead in retailing today,  investing in new technologies and capabilities isrequired.

Retailers may be wary of migrating their business to the cloud, but the reality is that for most businesses, the cloud is more secure, more reliable and a more affordable alternative to their existing in-house IT.

Benefits of scalable cloud infrastructure

The cloud offers many benefits, but the key one that in-house systems cannot offer is economies of scale. Allowing hundreds of businesses to share  hardware, storage and applications optimizes the use of resources. It also means that retailers can outsource a lot of their security, reliability, and maintenance concerns to their cloud provider.

From a security and reliability standpoint, a cloud provider will have dedicated resources and security experts to ensure that its infrastructure is well protected and resilient—more so so than if a retailer runs it  IT inhouse.

Of course, many businesses are unsure about entrusting key business functions to the cloud. Outages can and do happen. Amazon’s web storage service, S3, recently experienced an outage that affected a large number of websites for up to four hours.

But top-tier cloud providers such as Google and Amazon Web Services are working towards the ambitious goal  of offering 99.999 percent availability, which translates into just 5 minutes of downtime a year, according to website tracking firm CloudHarmony.

AWS leads with least downtime

They are not there yet, but AWS had the fewest observed outages in 2015 with a total downtime of 2.5 hours for the year – one-fifth the outage of its competitors.

It is worth remembering that  service failures are  more often due to localized problems, such as a failure in the “final mile” of cable linking the store to the telecommunications provider or even in the network infrastructure  inside the store,   rather than a widespread outage in the core internet or hosting infrastructure of provider such as AWS.

For those retailers who are particularly concerned about possible service disruption due to intermittent or variable network connectivity  Openbravo offers the Openbravo Store Server component, described in an earlier post.

In future posts we will look in more detail at the characteristics and benefits of cloud computing that make it a particularly appealing option for retailers today.

To find out more about the benefits and unique diferentiators of the Openbravo Commerce Cloud for retailers, check out Openbravo’s webinar, Introduction to the Openbravo Commerce Cloud for Specialty Retailers.

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