Retailers can no longer afford to be laggards in adopting new technologies or in how software applications are implemented.
Adopting a software strategy can spur growth, shape new markets and reach new customers. Retailers have to start looking at applications as the game changer for the future by way of creating new services and offerings.
Leaders from both IT and the business must understand what it means to be a software-driven enterprise. And they must work together closely to orchestrate new business solutions to help win the digital battle and drive competitive advantage.
To win the digital battle, retailers need to fundamentally rethink how applications should be built and deployed.
The future of applications in retail: Three strategies for winning the digital battle
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Innovations from aggressive competitors across channels are driving lower sales and margins for some companies.
Historically, application development in retail has been large, monolithic applications designed with a specific functionality in mind (warehouse management systems, pricing, etc). These systems are traditionally interconnected through a complex web of point-to-point interfaces. Such a non-elastic infrastructure configuration constrains retailers from responding rapidly in a dynamic, digital-physical environment.
Digital channels proliferate and consumers are becoming extremely savvy about working different channels—mobile, online and in store. These marketplace and consumer developments have significant impacts on retailers' IT capabilities and their applications in particular. To address these challenges, we recommend three strategies:
To compete with agility and speed, companies can no longer focus only on complex, lengthy and expensive coding of applications, or monolithic systems built from the ground up. What's needed is a new way to build software—one that is faster, flexible and more liquid.
To manage growing volume, velocity and complexity, and to maximize the business value of internal and external data, companies need to embed software intelligence everywhere.
Connectivity in the age of the software-driven business is about more than application integration. It's about creating new competitive frontiers using software. To grow revenue and defend their market position, businesses must open new dimensions of application connectivity.