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This special report identifies several ways cloud applications are becoming more attractive options. One is via highly targeted point solutions designed to solve specific business needs. Another is via enterprise-wide availability that can be accessed on an as-needed basis. A third major growth area is among small and medium-sized retail businesses, which like cloud’s flexibility and functionality and lack the heavy legacy system investment that can restrain larger organizations from moving to SaaS solutions.
Cloud Computing’s advocates – and there are many – have long argued that retail and
cloud-based solutions are, like the stars of a romantic comedy of old, made for each other. It’s a sentiment that was voiced at last month’s RIS Retail Technology Conference by Richard Mader, ARTS director emeritus and CIO at multiple retailers throughout his long career.
Mader’s arguments, in brief, were:
• Cloud computing lowers costs, still an imperative for retailers of all sizes;
• It reduces capital expenditures and transfers them to the operational
expenditure budget line;
• The technology can deal with large and sudden spikes, ideal for a highly
seasonal and promotions-driven industry;
• Cloud solutions can handle the enlarged databases and enhanced speed requirements of increasingly popular Big Data applications, and;
• They are well-suited to the spread of mobility in retail.
The negatives about cloud have been concerns about reliability and security, but according to Mader these have largely been dealt with – so much so that some retail enterprises are now cloud-only IT shops.
So why does the cloud computing nirvana always seem to be receding into the future, never quite becoming the actual present? One key factor is the inertia generated by on-premise legacy systems, which means that any move to a cloud-based model will be evolutionary rather than rip-and-replace revolutionary.