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Retailers: Get 'Cloud Smart' or risk paying more!

'Pay-as-you go' Cloud-based applications and services for the retail sector are potentially quick to implement, scaleable, and more cost-effective than expanding internal IT infrastructure. But, there is a real danger that 'pay-as-you-go' can become 'pay-more-as-you-go' unless retailers are 'Cloud Smart', warns Peruvian Strategist, Kim Ainsworth.

The retail sector is not alone in facing the challenge of how to recognise value for money with cloud-based applications and services. It requires forward planning and firm management of Cloud Service Providers.

Fit to Burst

Peru's consultants have seen an increasing trend within retail for the use of Cloud-based products to manage "bursting” workloads, where large amounts of resources are needed for relatively short periods of time, such as pre-Christmas shopping or the relatively recent Black Friday rush, where a significant increase in IT storage, data and sales management capacity is often needed.

Always ahead of the trend curve, CSPs are providing ever-easier to set up these systems and services, using 'pay-as-you-go” finance structures. The challenge for their customers is to keep track of file locations, data usage and running costs.

Get smarter

Based on Peru's Report on Retail Technology, retail IT Directors are facing the challenge of driving costs out of their businesses, while needing to store ever more vital data - such as customer behaviour information - to keep them ahead in an increasingly competitive retail environment.

The solution is for retailers to become 'Cloud Smart'. This requires a combination of detailed assessment of cloud readiness before even beginning the implementation process; effective monitoring during use; and, perhaps most importantly, ensuring services are no longer charged for when no longer active.

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Kim Ainsworth is a Principal Consultant at Peru Consulting and specialises in IT Strategy. She has worked with organisations including H&M, Coca Cola, Liberty, DHL Retail Distribution and Morrison's.

You can download the Peru Retail Technology Report here.

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