Supporting the “Always On” Shopper

Supporting The “Always-On” Shopper

July 19, 2016

Last week we took a look at the “Always On” enterprise and specifically as it relates to new technology approaches such as microservice architecture and in-memory computing. Today let’s take a brief look at what “Always On” may mean to the retailer.

Intel recently published a thought piece entitled, Envisioning Technology’s Role In Transforming Retail’s Future. The article led off with this: “Developments in technology keep accelerating, and few industries are being pressured to change as quickly and completely as retail. The astounding speed andpower of shoppers’ computing devices are turning shopping into a constant, instantaneous activity. Meanwhile, merchants are relying onnew technology to meet customer expectations andto strengthen their businesses –orat least help them to keep pace.”

Shopping is not just a continuous action these days, it is also expected to be instantaneous and retailers, more specifically IT, are expected to deliver. All of the new concepts (some not so new) such as Cloud, SaaS, APIs along with the newest ones mentioned above, are all IT concepts and yet, IT continues to be constrained. Constrained by not enough resources, finding resources, spending most of their budgets on maintenance to simply keep the light on, lack of diversity in talent, to name a few. So, if retail executives seem a bit fidgety these days, perhaps you can see why.

IT delivery of service, while in the past a strictly operational issue is now at the center of the brand proposition. What was once ‘back office’ is now front and center for consumers.

As mentioned by Brian Kilcourse (Partner, RSRResearch) in an opening keynote for TXT Retail in London, “right now ought to be the best of times for Retail IT’ers.” However, if we look a little further at what Mr. Dickens was trying to say, we may get a truer picture of what is facing retail IT right now.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness….”