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  • 1. Worldwide Retail Industry Whitepaper Scenarios for Windows Azure in the Retail Industry Authored by: Vic Miles – Microsoft Worldwide Retail Team Published April 2011 Driving Revenue and Innovation in Retail with Windows Azure™
  • 2. Page 2 Driving Revenue and Innovation in Retail With Windows Azure Contents INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................................................................... 4 MICROSOFT ® CLOUD STRATEGY ................................................................................................................................................. 4 WINDOWS AZURE PLATFORM ................................................................................................................................................... 6 SQL AZURE™ ......................................................................................................................................................................... 6 WINDOWS AZURE APPFABRIC ................................................................................................................................................... 6 DATAMARKET AS PART OF WINDOWS AZURE MARKETPLACE.......................................................................................................... 7 WINDOWS AZURE, SQL AZURE, WINDOWS AZURE APPFABRIC ROADMAP ....................................................................................... 8 New Capabilities....................................................................................................................................................... 8 ARCHITECTING RETAIL SOLUTIONS FOR AZURE ............................................................................................................................. 9 AZURE SCENARIOS FOR ENTERPRISE RETAIL.................................................................................................................................. 9 Retail Demand Forecasting..................................................................................................................................... 10 Smart Client Retail Store Systems........................................................................................................................... 10 Supply Chain Trading Partner Collaboration .......................................................................................................... 11 Consumer Promotions at Internet Scale................................................................................................................. 11 Connecting Stores with Distributed Collaboration ................................................................................................. 12 Scalable E-Commerce ............................................................................................................................................. 12 SOLUTION SCENARIOS – AT A GLANCE....................................................................................................................................... 13 CONCLUSION ........................................................................................................................................................................ 14 RESOURCES .......................................................................................................................................................................... 15
  • 3. Page 3 Driving Revenue and Innovation in Retail With Windows Azure The information contained in this document (a) represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation on the issues discussed as of the date of publication and is subject to change at any time without notice to you, and (b) should not be interpreted as an offer or commitment on the part of Microsoft. The information presented here is “AS IS” and Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of any information presented and assumes no liability arising from your use of the information. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, IN THIS DOCUMENT. It is the user’s responsibility to comply with all applicable copyright laws. Without limiting the rights under copyright, no part of this document may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), or for any purpose, without the express written permission of Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft may have patents, patent applications, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property rights covering subject matter in this document. Except as expressly provided in any written license agreement from Microsoft, this document does not give you any license to these patents, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property. Unless otherwise noted, the example companies, organizations, products, domain names, e-mail addresses, logos, people, places, and events depicted herein are fictitious, and no association with any real company, organization, product, domain name, email address, logo, person, place, or event is intended or should be inferred. The descriptions of other companies’ products in this proposal, if any, are provided only as a convenience to you. Any such references should not be considered an endorsement or support by Microsoft. Microsoft cannot guarantee their accuracy, and the products may change over time. Also, the descriptions are intended as brief highlights to aid understanding, rather than as thorough coverage. For authoritative descriptions of these products, please consult their respective manufacturers. Microsoft, Windows, Windows Server, SQL Azure, and Windows Azure Platform are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owner. © 2011 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
  • 4. Page 4 Driving Revenue and Innovation in Retail With Windows Azure Introduction Retail enterprises depend on a multitude of applications and systems that are integrated with consumers, trading partners and external networks. Running these applications requires complex data center and support structures that are expensive to operate. Cloud computing, and specifically Microsoft Windows Azure™, enables retail enterprises to move from a capital intensive cost model to one which is based on the consumption of technology. No longer do retailers need to acquire computing resources to cover peak workloads or potentially over-purchase computing resources. The scale of the Windows Azure Platform provides for high volume workloads such as end-of-day processing to be consumed on demand. Windows Azure also provides for immediate access to unlimited compute, storage and integration services which previously could have taken months to procure. The availability of these resources on- demand, unlocks new scenarios where agility and time-to-market are paramount. Retail enterprises are not necessarily constrained by the capacity of their existing computing resources, but through Windows Azure, they can quickly leverage additional computing resources or storage capabilities. Windows Azure and our enterprise cloud computing expertise coupled with the leading solutions from our retail industry partners, brings a unique value proposition to the global retail market. Through strategic engineering alliances with industry leaders we are focused on delivering both the on-premise and cloud-based solutions that our customers need to gain the benefits of cloud services on their own terms. They are able to leverage and extend their existing IT investments to take advantage of Azure, resulting in a reduction of cost and the ability to enhance operations through cloud-based improvements and build transformative applications that create differentiated shopping experiences. This paper describes some typical scenarios where the new opportunities and flexibility offered by the Windows Azure Platform foster rethinking of how retail solutions are developed and delivered. The focus of these scenarios is to maximize share of the consumer wallet and increase profitability for the retail enterprise. Microsoft® Cloud Strategy To understand the value of cloud computing for retail enterprises it is important to have a common definition of cloud computing. The Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) defined cloud in their Cloud Computing for Retail Technical Report version 1.0. “Cloud computing is an emerging computing model by which massively scalable IT-enabled computing capabilities and resources (servers, storage, networks, applications, and services) are delivered as a service to external consumers using Internet technologies.” Furthermore, ARTS identifies the following 6 characteristics of cloud computing: 1. Virtualization of Infrastructure and Services 2. Automated provisioning of infrastructure services 3. Elastic scaling 4. Increased accessibility and availability 5. Consumption-based model 6. Multi-tenancy
  • 5. Page 5 Driving Revenue and Innovation in Retail With Windows Azure This Microsoft perspective of “The Cloud” is aligned through the following characteristics: 1. On-demand: Resources are virtualized and available when and as you need them; on demand. The details of location and physical nature of the resources is abstracted away from the consumer. 2. Broad network access: Resources are available anytime, anywhere via ubiquitous access from the internet or a network. 3. Resource pooling: Some or all the resources are shared, to some degree. The consumer may no longer need or want the expertise required to manage the actual resources. 4. Rapid elasticity: Demand-driven consumption and provisioning of resources in a rapid self- service fashion. The ability to decommission resources as demand drops. 5. Metered Usage: Usage of resources is measured and you are charged only for the resources that you consume. At a broad level, the Cloud could be distinguished into the following categories or models:  Software as a Service (SaaS): The SaaS model is one in which the resources consumed are finished services or applications. This might include email, accounting, sales forecasting – applications people rely on for business, personal use, etc. These applications are consumed via the internet through devices such as PCs, TVs, Gaming consoles and phones. With SaaS, you allow your vendor to manage the application, the hardware, the operating system, the storage – all the Cloud resources, you are only a consumer.  Platform as a Service (PaaS): In a PaaS model, the underlying hardware, operating environment, middle-ware, networking, and related platform are abstracted from the consumer. In this model, the focus is on creating the application functionality rather than managing and garnering experience in the underlying infrastructure. You rely on your Cloud vendor to provide you a platform on which you build and deploy applications.  Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): With IaaS, your Cloud vendor provides data centers with access to a large capacity of on-demand servers, storage and networking. The Cloud resource consumer then is responsible for managing and deploying the operating system, the middle- ware, application runtimes and application. Microsoft’s cloud strategy encompasses a range of dimensions of what the cloud should enable with services and application offerings. Identifying the right workloads and scenarios is a key aspect of any successful Cloud implementation. The Platform as a Service model is particularly interesting as it provides excellent support of platform capabilities, but also a great deal of flexibility for application development. Microsoft delivers three distinct services that provide the basis for Platform as a Service. These three services are: Windows Azure, SQL Azure, and Windows Azure AppFabric. In this paper, we will discuss these three services and most importantly outline some interesting scenarios for delivering enterprise retail solutions.
  • 6. Page 6 Driving Revenue and Innovation in Retail With Windows Azure Windows Azure Platform The Windows Azure Platform by itself can be viewed as a set of cloud computing services that form the basis of a Cloud Operating System and computing environment. Windows Azure provides the basic operating system capabilities only at massive scale. These capabilities include; a runtime environment for executing applications, a storage system for persisting different data types, and the “fabric controller” that manages and monitors the different sub-systems. Interestingly, each of these capabilities can be used independently or together. The Windows Azure runtime system provides an environment to execute almost any program that will run on Microsoft Windows Server. The runtime easily supports web applications written in Microsoft .Net along with many other development languages; such as PHP. Additionally, the runtime supports the ability to host internet accessible services that can use used to build new applications or to enhance existing applications. The storage system within Windows Azure, allows for the storing of non-relational tables, queues, and Blobs. Most importantly, the underlying Cloud Operating System is abstracted away from the developer. This abstraction allows developers to quickly and easily build and deploy applications that can massively and dynamically scale without having to understand the requirements of the platform. Developers focus on delivering business logic and functionality for applications rather than worrying about the underlying infrastructure and operational obstacles of cloud applications. Developers using Microsoft’s Visual Studio tools, benefit from having an integrated toolset and seamless testing mechanisms through Visual Studio’s development environment. The Visual Studio tools have been updated to support the ability to develop, test, and debug Windows Azure applications locally. SQL Azure™ Many modern applications rely on relational databases for data storage and access. For Cloud-based applications, this could be a significant challenge. As storage requirements increase or change, deploying and managing databases grows more complex. SQL Azure™ provides core relational database capabilities, while relieving the application developer from having to manage the server infrastructure for Cloud-scale applications. Developers can use the familiar TSQL language and access SQL Azure through a variety of access protocols, such as ADO.Net, ODBC, and JDBC. Just as with Windows Azure, SQL Azure is a logical concept and does not correspond directly to physical files and servers. This abstraction allows for flexible provisioning and allows developers to focus on the logical vs. the physical design. Microsoft also provides the Microsoft Sync Framework which provides the ability to synchronize on- premise databases with SQL Azure databases or applications to synchronize as part of a data-hub. This bi-directional data synchronization capability is currently available to developers through a community technology preview (CTP) program. Windows Azure AppFabric Connecting different applications, particularly, across the internet can be challenging. With corporate networks, firewalls, and various protocols – along with the related security and access concerns
  • 7. Page 7 Driving Revenue and Innovation in Retail With Windows Azure developers are faced with many questions and often few answers. Windows Azure AppFabric provides for secure interconnectivity for distributed applications. Windows Azure AppFabric provides these major services:  Service Bus: Provides the ability for applications to expose endpoints in secure way to other applications. Once securely connections, applications can exchange messages via the Service Bus. The Service Bus provides the capabilities for network address translation and dealing with firewalls.  Access Control: This service provides the ability for applications to authenticate themselves and to provide identify information to other applications. Secure access to the Services Bus is provided by the Access Control service.  Caching: Caching provides a distributed, in-memory, application cache service for Windows Azure and SQL Azure applications. It provides applications with high-speed access, scale, and high availability, to application data. DataMarket as part of Windows Azure Marketplace Outside of the three core cloud capabilities provided by The Windows Azure Platform, an additional service has recently been made commercially available. This service exposes rich datasets relevant to retailers such as demographics, weather, parcel data and UPC data. DataMarket is an information marketplace for ISVs and IWs that provides trusted, public domain and premium commercial data via integrated and secure consumption experiences and easy data discovery.
  • 8. Page 8 Driving Revenue and Innovation in Retail With Windows Azure DataMarket allows users to discover, explore and consume information through a consistent, internet standards-based approach. You can learn more about DataMarket by referencing the link in the resources section of this document. Windows Azure, SQL Azure, Windows Azure AppFabric Roadmap Currently, Windows Azure, SQL Azure, and Windows Azure AppFabric are all available as commercial services with the pricing and service level offerings accessible from a web-based portal. One of the powerful aspects of the platform abstractions provided by these services is that they can be updated and new features added without affecting the applications that rely on each service. Microsoft can therefore, add new capabilities at a more rapid pace than might be possible with traditional server products. New Capabilities The following are new features that are either currently in Community Technology Preview (CTP) stage, or will be soon. This list in not exhaustive, but lists several of the key innovations.  Microsoft SQL Azure Reporting: By providing features similar to SQL Server™ Reporting Services; SQL Azure Reporting provides developers the ability to embed reports based on SQL Azure databases directly within their applications or via the SQL Azure Portal.  Windows Azure Elevated Privileges: Sometimes there are small configuration or installation requirements that applications require and are not supported currently with the Windows Azure capabilities. Windows Azure Admin Access will allow developers to have elevated access to their environments for making these configuration changes, or perhaps installing an MSI. The feature is currently in CTP.  Windows Azure VM Role: Microsoft is adding another role to Windows Azure that will allow easier migration of existing server applications to Windows Azure. The “VM Role” (virtual machine role), allows your organization to create a Windows Server® 2008 R2 VHD image on- premise and have it executed in Windows Azure. This capability is currently in CTP.  AppFabric Integration: Provides common BizTalk® Server integration capabilities (e.g. pipeline, transforms, adapters) on Windows Azure, using out-of-box integration patterns to accelerate and simplify development. It also delivers higher level business user enablement capabilities such as Business Activity Monitoring and Rules, as well as self-service trading partner community portal and provisioning of business-to-business pipelines.  AppFabric Composite App: Provides a multi-tenant, managed service which automates the deployment and management of end to end applications. It allows many application components to be managed as a single logical entity. Diagnostics and monitoring are also provided to ease troubleshooting.  Windows Azure Virtual Network: Microsoft will be bringing a range of services to Windows Azure to provide more robust networking capabilities. The first of these is Windows Azure
  • 9. Page 9 Driving Revenue and Innovation in Retail With Windows Azure Connect. Windows Azure Connect will provide an easy way to setup an IP-based network for establishing connectivity between Windows Azure and on-premise services. This service is in CTP as of December 2010.  Windows Azure Platform Appliance: Looking even further into the future, Microsoft plans to bring a turnkey cloud platform to market targeted at large service providers, large enterprises, and governments. The Windows Azure Platform Appliance will provide an integrated hardware and platform environment to these organizations that they can host in their own data centers. There is no defined timeline for the availability of the appliance offering. Expanding retail solutions into cloud-based offerings requires vendors and customers to build highly scalable, reliable services that can be used simultaneously by any number of users and devices - globally. To pursue this approach independently, you would be required to build your own infrastructure to host and manage solutions, develop a software paradigm and invest in the hardware and software to handle internet-scale traffic and demand. Just as Windows Operating System allowed ISVs, customers, developers to focus on building value-add on-premise applications instead of building OS specific features, components and drivers; Windows Azure Platform enables the same foundation for cloud applications. For a more detailed overview, see the resources section for information on a paper “Introducing the Windows Azure Platform”, and other materials that will be helpful to get started. Architecting Retail Solutions for Azure Identifying common functionality and decoupling it from individual applications as a “shared service” not only simplifies development and avoids duplication, but also enables the flexibility to deploy and consume such functionality from other nodes and levels in the system, including the cloud. Cloud computing in a retail environment has many benefits to all aspects of the retail operation. Many retailers will find that a cloud computing strategy will help to improve their share of the consumer wallet by enabling a constant dialogue that captures consumer mindshare and allows for the retailer to market their unique value throughout the shopper purchase decision life cycle. The ability to scale to an ongoing dialogue with all potential consumers requires that enterprise retailers take advantage of the economies of scale offered by cloud computing. An effective architecture does not have to immediately make use of all of the characteristics of cloud computing. For instance, an initial implementation might be exposed to an existing set of consumers. However, the platform that delivers the services must have the capability to scale to the superset of potential customers that the retail organization aspires to. It is this flexibility to be able to deploy (and possibly change over time) different services without major redesign of the entire system that is essential for harnessing the new opportunities offered by the cloud. Azure Scenarios for Enterprise Retail
  • 10. Page 10 Driving Revenue and Innovation in Retail With Windows Azure This section describes some typical scenarios where the Windows Azure Platform can open up new approaches to delivering innovative services and improving efficiency for enterprise retailers. Retail Demand Forecasting Retailers face a difficult trade-off when planning their inventory: Too much inventory ties up capital, increases supply chain cost and results in stock obsolescence; too little inventory causes customer frustration and lost sales due to stock-outs. The goal is to forecast the demand, or sales, to the degree that sales are maximized and carrying cost is reduced. Sales forecasting has long been a critical part of the supply chain planning activities of retailers. Real- time collaboration that considers inputs from all trading partners including manufacturers, distribution and retailers is required to achieve an accurate sales forecast. The forecasts, which are produced by statistical models that are applied to historic sales data, allow the optimization of inventory levels in the warehouse and in the store. Increasing the planning accuracy is a highly effective lever to achieve significant and quantifiable reductions of cost, working capital and the carbon footprint of a retail organization. There is also the very real benefit of increased consumer satisfaction. Unfortunately, sales forecasting in the retail industry is particularly challenging due to the often very large number of products, dynamic product catalogues and frequent events such as promotions and product launches. Many retailers find that on-premise forecasting solutions are expensive to buy, maintain and operate and can be limited in performance. A Microsoft partner, Lokad, has eliminated these restraints by fully automating the complex forecasting problems and delivering a software-as-a-service that provides a step change in terms of scalability, performance and cost. The underlying multi-time series forecasting approach analyzes multiple, often overlapping patterns between discrete products across an entire range of product sales information. The Lokad solution, built on Windows Azure, is able to provide fully automated support for day, week, month and year seasonality, sales promotions, cannibalization and correlations between product sales. This approach requires the processing of massive amounts of data, the application of very complex statistical models and analysis of millions of correlations between products. This is only possible with Windows Azure’s cloud platform, which gives Lokad access to thousands of servers, within minutes at low cost. Lokad’s forecasting engine scales to deliver forecasts for retailers with tremendous scale. This requires the calculation of millions of forecasts within minutes – which is possible due to the massive scale achievable with the Windows Azure Platform. Smart Client Retail Store Systems As distinguished from Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), an advanced Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) such as the Windows Azure Platform, allows ISVs to take advantage of a wide range of complex system tasks including instant scalability, load balancing, fault tolerance, disaster recovery and software upgrades without any service interruption. These capabilities are critical to bringing cloud computing to the core of the retail revenue engine – Store Systems. The Microsoft store systems architecture guidance identifies three distinct categories of systems within a store (POS, Front Office and Back office). An effective implementation of a cloud based store system requires a rich and responsive user interface, the
  • 11. Page 11 Driving Revenue and Innovation in Retail With Windows Azure ability to work offline, and a way to take advantage of local hardware and software resources. This approach is generally referred to as “Smart Client” architecture. Smart client applications are a powerful alternative to thin client applications. They can provide retailers with the fault tolerance needed for POS environment as well as the agility deploy enhancements. BEDIN Shop Systems, a Microsoft certified partner, has developed a system built on the concept of smart clients, that are delivered to in-store devices (POS, Manager Office, Receiving) as light Internet-centric desktop applications, deployed and automatically updated from Retail Web Services®. Windows Azure is the foundation of the intelligent ”hub in the cloud” which is designed as a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) for straightforward collaboration throughout the retail enterprise. At the center of the solution, Retail Web Services® fully leverages SQL Azure, as a relational database offered as a service within the Windows Azure Platform. POS.net® is the front-of-store smart client that allows connected and disconnected operations. The back-office clients are enabled through the SHOP.net® application which includes stock and supplier management when appropriate based on the operational guidelines of the retailer. This solution represents the future of omni-channel retailing. It has the effect of opening retail operations to all channels of retailing including in-store, web-store, mobile employee, self-serve consumer as well as any emerging channels in the new always connected world of retailing. Supply Chain Trading Partner Collaboration Effective collaboration with trading partners is often the hallmark of world class retailers. The impact on cost of goods sold can be significant if the basic trading relationship requires processing overhead. GSX is a leading provider of business-to-business e-commerce services serving retailers worldwide. The company processes over eight billion transactions annually. The visibility into those transactions is a necessity for all of their customers. GXS turned to a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner MindTree to deliver a solution that would enhance the historical reporting capabilities of its global messaging services. This visibility allows customers to use the cloud based Windows Live ID for authorization and authentication. Through the use of cloud computing GXS gained the ability to offer over 6 million customers the ability to see trading partner volumes (purchase orders, shipment status, etc.) and make real-time supply chain decisions based on that insight. GXS expects that using Windows Azure will help the company dramatically reduce the amount of time needed to develop and deploy new applications. The company expects to go from concept to market trial much more rapidly with Windows Azure. Their implementation allows them to eliminate the hardware acquisition cycle, which in turn can bring solutions to market faster. Consumer Promotions at Internet Scale Consumer promotional expense can be a significant percentage of revenue in the retail and hospitality industries. Many companies are taking advantage of the always connected consumer when developing new product promotions. The redemption of digital promotions differs from broadcast media (print, television) promotions due to the ease of use and social sharing aspects. Marketers must to consider the implications of a promotion going “viral” which will drive consumption of the promotion. Retail IT organizations must also consider how the promotion will impact traffic to related properties such as the corporate website or loyalty systems.
  • 12. Page 12 Driving Revenue and Innovation in Retail With Windows Azure Outback Steakhouse, a favorite dinning spot for innovative dishes in a casual atmosphere, partnered with Thuzi, a Microsoft Partner, to develop a promotional response system that would offer a coupon for the first 500,000 customers that consumed the promotion. Outback needed a cost effective infrastructure that could quickly scale to meet potential spikes in demand for this offer. It took less than two months to develop a cloud-aware application. Developers built it as a Web application, establishing worker roles with caches and an asynchronous architecture to improve performance and scalability. They used Microsoft SQL Azure and the Table service in Windows Azure Storage Services for background processing. The application’s integration with its own cloud-based database makes it possible for Outback to run queries and produce reports. Outback hoped to achieve its goal of 500,000 fans within 30 days. It reached that goal without any issues in just 18 days. This example shows the ease of development and the agility that can be achieved with a cloud platform. There is also tremendous business value in having the option to de-commission a portion of the infrastructure while not in use. Connecting Stores with Distributed Collaboration Retail and hospitality organizations worldwide are looking for a cost effective means to connect stores to the vast resources that exist within the enterprise. These resources include intranet reference material, colleague collaboration as well as the value of sharing feedback with a community of responsible individuals within the organization. Microsoft offers a cloud based business productivity solution as the Office 365 product. Office 365 combines the familiar Microsoft Office desktop suite with online versions of the next-generation communications and collaboration services: Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, and Microsoft Lync Online. Companies with distributed locations have a strong need to open the lines of communication between headquarters, trading partners and stores. There are several challenges related to offering productivity solutions in a distributed environment with mobile or deskless workers. Retail enterprises are seeing the value of a cloud based productivity solution to enable constant communication among the various Scalable E-Commerce With the rise of the always connected consumer, the retail and hospitality industry has been driving innovations that expose real-time information directly to consumers. Supporting this unpredictable traffic from an on-premise web infrastructure can create the need to vastly over purchase processing power. Cloud computing is a perfect fit for several types of workload patterns. Applying Windows Azure to any of these patterns of processing can result in increased performance and cost savings over time. 1. On and Off – batch-type processing with wasted capacity during off hours. 2. Fast Growing / Broad Usage – viral usage that is planned to grow exponentially over time 3. Unpredictable Bursting – sudden spikes in demand which impact overall performance. 4. Predictable Bursting – periodic demand increases which require over provisioning to support. Domino’s Pizza wanted capability to allow their stores to handle demand for their single largest selling day in a year, Super Bowl Sunday, without creating an infrastructure that would largely be idle for the other 364 days. They needed a solution that would support their “pizza builder” ordering application as
  • 13. Page 13 Driving Revenue and Innovation in Retail With Windows Azure well as allowing their customers to connect to the pizza making process using their innovative “Pizza Tracker” application. The existing web application had historically been developed with Java and run on a Tomcat application environment. Dominos had several options for hosting this application in a virtualized, pay-as-you-go environment. The Windows Azure solution gave them the ability to deploy their existing non-Microsoft based solution to Windows Azure. Dominos was able to take advantage of the cloud interoperability with a typical on- premise Windows Server. This offered the ability to handle peak traffic and then turn off the computing capacity when it is no longer needed. They were able to achieve pay-as-you-go and still maintain the choice to execute their application on premise or in the cloud. Solution Scenarios – at a Glance Solution Scenario Workload Patterns Description Industry Examples Retail Demand Forecasting On/Off Sales forecasting, based on raw POS data, delivered as a service for mass scale. Lokad Smart Client - Store System Broad usage Full store system application which provides a rich user interface and offline capability. Allows retailers to quickly deploy a store system solution with no application software to manage on the client. Bedin Systems Supply Chain Trading Partner Collaboration Broad usage B2B e-commerce collaboration that enables visibility to electronic data interchange (EDI) transactions. This system allows for insight into the trading partner relationship. GXS Consumer Promotions at Internet Scale Growing fast Promotional engine built to accept request and deliver email coupon promotions to consumers. Outback Steakhouse Connecting Stores with Distributed Collaboration N/A Microsoft cloud based productivity suite solution to connect distributed users in stores with the enterprise for collaboration features delivered as a service. McDonald’s using Office 365 Scalable E-Commerce Predictable Bursting On-premise application augmented with cloud computing for tremendous scale without the cost. Ease of application portability using Windows server interoperability features of Windows Azure. Dominos
  • 14. Page 14 Driving Revenue and Innovation in Retail With Windows Azure Conclusion Cloud computing is fast becoming a transformational force in delivery and consumption of applications. This computing paradigm offers new opportunities for independent software developers, enterprises and consumers to take advantage of cloud-based or cloud-enhanced applications. The software industry has been through major changes - from mainframe computing, to desktops, to web, and now we are standing at the next phase of innovation. Momentum is building around cloud scenarios applicable to retailing by enabling business agility at lower cost. Microsoft has made a strong commitment to cloud computing to help retailers connect with consumers whenever and wherever they choose. Windows Azure provides a platform and a set of services that can be used individually or together. It is a flexible and interoperable platform that is used to build new applications to run from the cloud or enhance existing applications with cloud-based service-oriented capabilities. There are business-enabling benefits for retail enterprises, including the ability to extend services related to products and retail offerings directly to consumers. The global reach that can be achieved will enable retailers to deliver products through vastly extended supply chains and product-sourcing approaches. A cloud computing strategy that is integrated with existing business plans will have the effect of reducing cost and increasing services to customers throughout the world.
  • 15. Page 15 Driving Revenue and Innovation in Retail With Windows Azure Resources Windows Azure http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure Microsoft for the Retail Industry http://www.microsoft.com/retail Microsoft Architecture Guidance for the Enterprise Retail Store http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=E9CEC4E9- 029A-4E8C-A885-8E9F58373226&displaylang=en Introducing the Windows Azure Platform http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=158011 Getting Started with Windows Azure http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/getstarted Windows Azure Marketplace DataMarket http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/marketplace Office 365 http://office365.microsoft.com Microsoft Case Studies Outback Steakhouse - http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Windows- Azure/Outback-Steakhouse/Restaurant-Chain-Outback-Steakhouse-Boosts- Guest-Loyalty-with-Social-Networking-and-Cloud-Computing/4000005861 GXS - http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Microsoft-Visual-Studio-2008- Professional-Edition/GXS/Electronic-Services-Firm-Reaches-Out-to-New- Markets-with-Cloud-Based-Solution/4000007786 Bedin Systems - http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Windows- Azure/BEDIN-Shop-Systems/Luxury-Goods-Retailer-Gains-Point-of-Sale- Solution-in-Minutes-with-Cloud-Based-System/4000008195