May 26, 2014 | Written by: Melanie Rose
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We are just a few months into the general availability of Oracle Retail’s V14 Commerce Anywhere and the interest and activity has been intense. Like no other release, this gem of functionality comes at exactly the right time for retailers who are looking to shore up their core merchandising capability to support what customers now take for granted and expect from the retailers they do business with—which is to be able to conduct commerce anywhere—flawlessly, effectively and naturally.
Achieving that and fulfilling that promise to the customer is not as easy as it might seem. Pick up in the store? Fine. That means that the inventory status in the shopping cart is accurate and that process is sent to the store in a timely fashion to reserve the inventory for the customer and that the fulfillment of the order when the customer picks it up is accurately recorded and sent back to the inventory system of record. But that’s just one process or “customer journey.”
Most retailers are part way there. They have cobbled together the ability to do some or even all of this on the surface. What happens in the dark dank reaches of the database is often another issue. Constantly scaling this capability as Commerce Anywhere demands grow is a challenge.
That’s where Oracle Retail V14 comes in. The question then becomes: How can I achieve either an upgrade (let’s call it an update) of a previous Oracle Retail version or a replacement of a legacy system in a timely, cost effective and low-risk manner?
That’s where IBM Cloud Services comes in. In any major retail systems project, infrastructure is easily 25 percent of the total effort. Sizing, procuring, deploying, testing and maintaining all the hardware and software required to support the applications can be a daunting task. Studies show that 70 percent of organizations’ IT budget is dedicated to “keeping the lights on.” It is also a task that requires skills, experience and cost.
Finding and keeping experienced Oracle DBAs is getting harder and harder. Delays in getting these critical skills on board can cause delays to the overall project timeline that can defer benefits and customer value. This is only the beginning of the complexity and challenge that maintaining a sophisticated and rock solid solution infrastructure entails.
The solution? Take it to the cloud. IBM Cloud Managed Services for Oracle Applications is specially designed to mitigate these challenges. It allows clients to reduce the infrastructure risk in solution deployments and to dramatically reduce the complexity and effort associated with these projects by utilizing the cloud operating model.
IBM Cloud Services provide application-ready platform as a service (PaaS) capabilities for you and your Oracle Retail projects—good to go on the first day of your implementation project all the way to ongoing production and maintenance. This cloud-based solution provides a powerful, fast way to analyze online customer behavior and determine relevant data and trends, while helping retailers manage the ever increasing volume of big data they are collecting today.
Testing environments larger than you expected? No problem! Data volumes more than you forecasted? No problem! Your DBA quit to retire to Costa Rica? Again, no problem. With IBM Cloud Services, you do not have to have a crystal ball to accurately forecast and size hardware; nor do you have to worry about the talent to maintain it. The environments and the service agreements flex with you as your project and production requirements change.
IBM recently completed an Oracle Retail Merchandise Financial Planning implementation for a rapidly growing speciality retailer. This smart CIO decided early on, long before cloud was such a buzzword, to build his IT group around thought leadership and project management and to outsource everything that wasn’t directly related to the core mission of the company. He turned to IBM Cloud Services for the PaaS for the planning implementation.
The beautiful thing about this decision was that, as predicted, at least 25% of the effort normally associated with deploying this kind of solution was removed. Our project team focused on business requirements, configuration, functional testing and user adoption. We were able to implement with a very small, focused team and gave nary a thought to the infrastructure running seamlessly in the background.
The result: this saavy retailer was up and running on this mission critical application within months and was happy to report at Oracle Industry Connect, that the solution was having a very positive impact on their margins!
Take a look at this infographic regarding CIO adoption of cloud services: