British Retail Firms Embrace Cloud

2014 has been noted as the tipping point for cloud maturation. Many industries such as retail have thought of the cloud as being too fringe to implement. CIOs that still use that excuse have lagged behind in innovation. In addition, the costs associated with running their operations have skyrocketed compared to retail organizations that have been early adopters of cloud technology.

Retail Week chronicled John Lewis and Waitrose which recently began deploying Google Apps to over 60,000 end users. The expected result is better collaboration and more efficient work processes. The old way of communicating inside of large organizations centered on large, often annoying, email chains. If you have worked in an environment where this is the normal, you understand how frustrating it can be when you are trying to find leadership and useful knowledge buried somewhere inside of long email streams.

While retail wouldn’t be the market that many cloud venture capitalists are actively trying to conquer, there are still some inherit benefits that revolve around using cloud in retail. Yvette Imbleau is an Enterprise Account Manager for Google. She mentions, “At John Lewis they had a business strategy and wanted to get it out to everyone. Traditionally that would involve going to stores and taking staff off the shop floor. It’s a continuous communication platform.”

Cheryl Millington is the CIO of Waitrose and she shared her excitement in cloud adaptations by mentioning, “Because we are a democracy, people have a say in the decisions we make. This provides technology that allows partners to share ideas and provide feedback in an instantaneous way.”

All parties agree that cloud is good for retail. While retail organizations are simply dabbling in cloud services now, the end goal is to get more organizations on board the cloud so that more sophisticated innovation can happen.

Millington sums up cloud and retail by saying, “It’s all about improving the experience of our customers and partners, all about speed and convenience and about helping our partners to sell and serve our customers better, and providing the tools and equipment to be able to do that most effectively.”