Retail companies are the first to embrace digital revolutions like online commercial platforms, and chances are their industry would always take the lead in any ‘smart’ development. To capture their target market, they must be where the customers are. According to 2016 statistics from Business 2 Community, these potential buyers are doing a lot of their product research and shopping on the internet with their mobile devices. About 92% browsed a lot of before deciding on the Christmas gift to send to loved ones. Another 47% picked and transacted a purchase through apps. And 93% confessed that the deal clincher is the retailer’s offer of free shipping of the product from the brick-and-mortar store to their home.
The Business Insider estimates that online shopping will grow from $385 billion to $632 billion from 2016 – 2020. Amazon is still the undisputed king of online retail; it shipped about 200 million items from third-party providers to their customers in the holiday season of 2016 alone.
No retail company will want to be left behind. However, the frenzy and excitement that all of us see on the surface – the web visits, the browsing of product categories, the participation in promos, the filling up of the virtual grocery card, the online payment, and the actual delivery — is made possible by a huge IT network that captures data, processes orders, validates payment, and oversees the delivery and acceptance of the package. It records financial statements and issues online receipts, tracks down package movement, monitors inventory, and logs complaints.
To succeed in the digital retail business, a retail company must not just have a robust IT infrastructure, but it must have a means to manage it through automation. This is where IT Operations Management (ITOM) comes in. BMC describes this solution as “the process of managing the day-to-day IT infrastructure including managing the provisioning, capacity, performance and availability of the computing, networking and application environment.”
IT Operations Management specialist Joe Hertvik categorizes its many tasks into three main sections: Computer Operations and the Help Desk; the Network Infrastructure; and the Management of Servers and Devices.
Retailers will find these services that ITOM provides them as specifically advantageous to their objectives of growing their market, delivering on their service-level agreements, and performing agilely and efficiently in the online business landscape:
ITOM will alert the IT manager of these system flaws and effect remediation before they escalate into full-blown crises. It will ensure smooth business continuity and an enjoyable user experience that will convince the customer to come back for repeat business.
Automation is the future of retail, says The Co-operative News which also forecasts bipedal robots helping customers on the floor and self-driving cars delivering packages to their door. While that scenario may take a few more years (or decades) to arrive, the systematic integration of retail services into IT operations is increasing. It will continue to help retail companies ride the digital tidal wave, with ITOM as their steering wheel.