The appearance of the retail industry is near unrecognisable from only a few short years ago. There is far more emphasis placed on the use of technology; not only for improving operational efficiency, but also in order to offer consumers greater value as a means of generating competitive advantage. For all the functionality modern technologies such as the cloud and ERP provide, many retailers are still struggling to keep up with the speed of change across the industry and to deliver the omni-channel experience that customers demand.
Despite appreciating the capabilities offered by modern IT, the retail industry has been traditionally slow to adopt new technologies. This is somewhat surprising, seeing how reliant retailers are on the systems already integrated into their operations. And these current systems are seen as a stumbling block to adopting the new. Research from RIS/Gartner in conjunction, has found that 45% of businesses see application rationalisation and the retirement of legacy systems as their main technology challenge going forward.
Due to the ramifications of operating on inefficient systems, retailers are wary of the impact of throwing out the old while introducing the new, in regards to technology. The lack of functionality, even for a brief period can see organisations struggle to keep up with the rapidly changing state of the retail market.
Another concern for retailers is that when simultaneously retiring and adopting new technology, this state of flux may be externally visible by customers. With the number of customer-facing applications deployed by retailers, such as websites, shoppers may see the effects of any changes, especially if their purchasing experience is interrupted.
Furthermore, quite simply, retailers find it difficult to rationalise their IT infrastructure. The prospect of updating systems is daunting, and there’s a feeling of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, even though the long-term benefits are clear.
So how can retailers overcome this application issue? Well, the solution is simple; leave it to the experts. By partnering with a specialist consultancy like Claranet, retailers can be advised on the gradual retirement and adoption of solutions to mitigate the repercussions of working between technologies. Additionally, a business like Claranet can further reduce any potential negative impact by identifying the areas in which retailers will benefit most from utilising new technology, allowing them to gain enhanced functionality quicker.
The importance of technology to retailers means any changes to their IT landscape must be done correctly. To overcome this application challenge, let a skilled partner manage the migration process. This then allows retailers to concentrate on what they know best; delivering optimal customer experiences through omni-channel platforms, driven by the functionality of modern solutions.