What is cloud computing? It is one of the foremost technological innovations of the 21st century and has seen the fastest adoption into mainstream use than any other technology. Simply put, it’s the ability to store and run software programs on the cloud platforms rather than storing and running them on local servers or computers. It allows storage and access to content stored on the cloud by any device that can connect to such platforms via the internet. The adoption of this technology is mainly due to the ever-increasing use of smartphones, and other mobile devices accessing the internet.
What is the importance of cloud computing? Using resources pooled together by cloud computing offers various benefits to businesses, and can be classified into the following categories.
- Efficiency – which can be achieved by
- The accessibility that cloud computing facilitates by accessing applications, data, programs, content and more from any location around the world using the internet.
- Cloud computing allows scalability of operations helping organizations save on the cost of acquiring computing resources and maintaining such resources. Cloud computing is usually on paying peruse or pay-as-you-go basis.
- Cloud platform providers offer and implement the best security standards and procedures to protect client data.
- It offers one of the best and most efficient ways of disaster recovery to back up and restore data in a fast and reliable way.
- Flexibility – can be achieved by tool selection, cloud options etc as follow
- Cloud computing offers extreme flexibility by way of scalability giving businesses with fluctuating workloads to plan as per their requirement.
- Cloud computing platforms offer pre-built tools and features to tailor solutions as per an organization’s needs.
- Cloud computing offers various options like private, public, and hybrid cloud platforms and offers flexibility to companies to choose options as per need.
- Cloud computing offers a strategic edge with
- As cloud computing platforms take up the onus of scale, and maintenance, organizations opting for cloud platforms show Increased productivity as they can concentrate on their own business.
- Cloud computing offers automatic software updates.
- Increased productivity leads to competitiveness.
- Collaboration increases with people from the organization being able to log in from different locations and access data and collaborate.
Retail businesses are expanding and competitiveness is ever increasing. To retain competitiveness and thrive, businesses have to move beyond the traditional supply chain, ERP and CRM. Cloud adoption in retail is growing exponentially. Gartner, an information technology research and consultancy firm, has forecasted that by 2022, 90% of organizations will be using cloud services. It also forecasts that spending in the retail industry is expected to increase to an estimated US$257.1 billion by 2025, up from US$182.5 billion in 2020.
Cloud computing is increasingly helping the retail industry by reducing infrastructure, storage and computing costs and enabling real-time access to inventory and operational data. Some of the different aspects of the use of this technology are;
- By helping to simplify the process. Moving the inventory data, orders and shipping to the cloud help create a real-time exchange of data and results in a quick turnaround time for processing orders, restocking and on-time fulfillment of supply. It helps in simplifying workflow, improving efficiency, and end-user experience.
- With regular updates and upgrades to the data security, crucial information like client profiles, inventory, etc. is protected. Loss of personal data is one of the significant causes of business failure. Data security and integrity are extremely important to every business.
- With data available on the cloud, supply chain management becomes easier. Cloud computing connects every part of the business and provides better visibility. This leads to reducing issues like stockout, optimizing inventory, and capturing real-time location data.
- Cloud computing can help predict trends and also help retailers create new products based on customer feedback. It helps communicate with clients in a better and more efficient manner.
- Cloud computing helps in refining customer experience. Cloud services provide huge and efficient computing resources and analysis to understand the buying behavior of customers.
- Cloud computing increases profitability by cutting down on costs for increasing infrastructure, maintenance, operations etc.
- Data is the keyword to the whole retail business. Customer data, inventory data, analytical data, results etc form a digital landscape for a retailer. And such data can get corrupted, or deleted. Backup and restoration of such data are extremely important and cloud-enabled disaster management forms the backbone of cloud computing. A backup and recovery model is essential to a business and thanks to cloud computing it can be completely automated.
- Inventory management is a challenging task for all businesses and particularly so for distributors to maintain, manage and track the inventory. Real-time tracking and monitoring benefits using cloud computing help businesses effectively.
- POS updates happen in real-time with integration between POS and the back office.
- Real-time inventory tracking using RFID or sensors.
- Mobile integration
Custom cloud application development solutions help businesses migrate to the cloud and develop new applications. Custom cloud application development helps by way of
- Quick response time
- Simplify operations
- API based back end to generate analytics
- Data security
- Enhanced data sharing capabilities
In conclusion, it’s now clear that cloud technology has now become an essential and integral part of all businesses and has a lot to offer to the retail business sector. Retail businesses have seen growth and reduction in costs by using this technology.