To prepare for the holiday shopping season, many retailers build out their IT systems to accommodate the anticipated increase in online traffic. But if the estimates are off, retailers can wind up with either too much IT capacity, or not enough - and not be able to make last-minute adjustments.
"Cloud-computing," or network-based, offerings such as Verizon Computing as a Service (CaaS) can help solve this problem. Cloud computing enables retailers to quickly and easily address spikes in online customer traffic associated with holiday specials and popular seasonal purchases through the dynamic allocation of IT resources (server, network and storage). Having this crucial IT flexibility can help retailers significantly reduce IT costs, preserve revenue and maintain customer satisfaction.
To assist retailers in making the most of the holiday season, Verizon's retail IT experts offer the following recommendations when considering a move to cloud computing:
- Understand Your Demand Variability - What drives your organization's variability in demand and when do spikes occur? Is it the holidays or is it driven by special promotions, other cyclical events, or the launch of new e-commerce or channel initiatives?
- Assess Requirements Across the Entire Extended Enterprise - Does your organization need to foster collaboration with suppliers and vendors during certain times? Would a common, cloud-based location for shared data and workflow be beneficial at certain times?
- Innovate and Experiment - Can your organization deploy a cloud-based solution for a particular region or business requirement on a temporary basis? Use lessons learned to develop plans for enterprisewide deployments.
- SOA-based Mash-Ups - Can business processes, such as the processing of customer orders, be streamlined by using standards-based, cloud-computing capabilities to effectively and efficiently leverage existing IT and business assets?
"Gone are the days when retailers have to guess about the computing resources required to handle increased customer traffic during the holidays," said Ravi Bagal, global managing director - retail and distribution, Verizon. "Cloud computing represents a whole new era in how retailers can plan for fluctuating seasonal demand."
All Cloud-based Computing Platforms Are not Created Equal
When assessing the various cloud-computing options available in the market today, Verizon's retail experts suggest that IT departments consider the following points:
- Security - A cloud-based computing platform should be designed and delivered with security in mind.
- Availability - A cloud-based computing solution should be highly reliable and widely available and come complete with service level agreements.
- Interoperability - The solution should be based on open standards. A provider should not impose a particular technology.
- Manageability - The solution should be easy to manage and offer the ability to easily integrate services.
- Flexibility - The solution should offer the option to move systems and applications between the cloud and the customer's own environment.
Verizon CaaS, which leverages Verizon's world-class global IP infrastructure and global data centers, offers an unbeatable combination of IT resources and professional services capabilities to help retailers - from small and medium-sized businesses to large enterprises - rethink the deployment and utilization of computing resources. The service, which uses a Web-portal, offers IT departments the ability to efficiently and securely deploy server, network and storage capacity in the quantities and duration required to meet business requirements while avoiding the expense and resources required to deploy IT infrastructure to meet anticipated peak demand.
Added Bagal, "With Verizon CaaS, retailers can quickly, securely and cost-effectively adapt to market demand knowing that they pay only for the computing resources used, which can pay big dividends for retailers in the form of happy customers and lower costs."
Expansive Portfolio of IT Solutions
Verizon CaaS joins Verizon Business' extensive portfolio of IT and hosting solutions aimed at helping customers improve IT infrastructure and boost application performance in today's complex, dynamic business environment. Supported by a global team of professional services experts and backed by a secure and reliable technology infrastructure, these solutions allow customers to meet the most pressing IT demands. More information is available at http://www.verizonbusiness.com/products/itsolutions.
About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), is a global leader in communications and IT solutions. We combine professional expertise with one of the world's most connected IP networks to deliver award-winning communications, IT, information security and network solutions. We securely connect today's extended enterprises of widespread and mobile customers, partners, suppliers and employees - enabling them to increase productivity and efficiency and help preserve the environment. Many of the world's largest businesses and governments - including 96 percent of the Fortune 1000 and thousands of government agencies and educational institutions - rely on our professional and managed services and network technologies to accelerate their business. Find out more at www.verizonbusiness.com.