Retailers must address disruption in age of digital change

New research shows that half of retailers expect their industry to go through significant digital change over the next two years.

Retailers must review their approach to application development practices and IT infrastructure to achieve the business agility they need to address the threat of disruption in their industry through digital change.

This is according to Ian Furness, hosting services director at Claranet, who states that implementing a DevOps approach is critical if retailers are to keep up with the quickening pace of their sector and achieve competitive advantage.

A new report by Microsoft, ‘Digital Transformation: The Age of Innocence, Inertia or Innovation?’, reveals 54 per cent of retailers expect their industry to be significantly disrupted over the next two years. Claranet believes that in order address the threat of disruption and fend off competitors, retailers need to be able to adapt quickly.

However, just 39 per cent of European retailers have implemented a DevOps approach, leaving a significant portion still to do so, and only 38 per cent host their ecommerce applications in public cloud, according to Claranet’s 2016 research report.

For Ian Furness, those retailers that haven’t yet adopted DevOps and/or public cloud will be placed at a distinct disadvantage, unable to keep up with their more agile competitors.

Furness thinks that the retail sector is ripe for digital change and, as a result, it’s vital for retailers to be able to adapt quickly in order to contend with the disruptive players within their industry.

He adds, ‘Consumer behaviour is constantly changing and many will not use a retailer who lacks a good website or mobile application. Ultimately, the faster an organisation can improve its applications with digital change, the better chance they have of gaining a competitive advantage.

‘However, this puts additional pressure on the IT department who must ensure they can keep up with these changes. Not doing so can have serious repercussions on the competitive advantage of companies and ultimately their bottom line, as what businesses can really afford to wait for new applications in the digital age?’

Furness concludes, ‘With software now at the centre of online retail businesses, applications are a key differentiating factor from the competition. The retailers who will be best placed to gain a significant edge and overcome issues and compete with agility are those who start to implement a DevOps approach.’

Further reading on disruption

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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