Are you truly born to run…anywhere?

Manhattan Associates Pty Ltd

Tuesday, 26 March, 2019

Are you truly born to run…anywhere?

A cloud-native system will liberate your mission-critical processes from static legacy systems. They can be accessed, run and updated virtually anywhere on the planet with an internet connection.

We all know how important data is — without it we can’t make accurate informed decisions. However, cloud-native functionally consolidates data from inventory, order management, customer transactions, omni and supply chain systems into one single version of the truth.

Harnessing big data from the wider world — social listening and the weather reports, as just two examples — is shaping retailer decisions all the time; it’s no coincidence that everything you need for a perfect BBQ is in your supermarket just before a hot spell. Cloud-native solutions have elastically scalable storage and computing to make use of big data.

Have you worked at home lately? Most people do these days and with seamless access to information from shared drives and cloud computing there is no impact on their productivity or ability to collaborate.

The user benefits are underpinned by many benefits to organisations as a whole. Cloud-native systems are easier to manage from a budgetary perspective as they are predictable. Costs are spread, paid at regular intervals, and include all upgrades. They also free up IT staff for more value adding activities as they no longer need to ‘keep the lights on’.

A single cloud-native system is made up of many microservices, like building blocks, and this makes upgrades seamless and instantaneous. Therefore, cloud-native systems run anywhere, are available everywhere, and available at all times.

Beware ‘cloudwashing’

Retailers are frequently reminded that they need to provide a personalised and seamless service to customers. A cloud-native system, with its ability to give a unified view of systems such as point of sale, clientelling and order fulfilment, empowers teams across the board to leverage data and hyper personalise brand engagement to drive a unique consumer experience.

Vendors and suppliers will often ‘cloudwash’ information-hungry people and use the terms ‘cloud-enabled’ and ‘cloud-native’ interchangeably which creates a great deal of confusion and blurs the lines between the two.

There are a few ways to not be caught out. One is to check it is based on microservices rather than just encased in an IP-wrapper. As the name implies, microservices are small, mostly autonomous components and each one performs a very specific function, such as order capture or inventory, and a genuine cloud-native application will be made up from many microservices joined together by a common fabric.

Another clue to look for when determining if a system is -native or -enabled is by looking at the updates. If they are released annually or need downtime, the solution is not cloud-native. Cloud-native software is easily and continually updated with no downtime or disruption.

Everything you need your IT system to be

Losing data in a fire or flood, or any way for that matter, is an organisation’s worst fear. Cloud-based services have backup and recovery models as standard procedure and suddenly the likelihood of losing data becomes much reduced.

In essence, the power of centralised and readily available data is not to be underestimated. The single fountain of knowledge provides for increased collaboration, reduced costs, increased flexibility and functionality which leads to increased competitiveness, agility and more resilience against disasters.

It makes us wonder what we will say about traditional in-house data centres. In a short time, I’m sure that we will look back nostalgically at them, in the same way we reminisce about life before we were liberated by the mobile phone.

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