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Cloud in European Vertical Markets

  • September 2013
  • -
  • Frost & Sullivan
  • -
  • 82 pages

Expected Evolution of Cloud Adoption in the Retail, Manufacturing, and Energy/Utilities Sectors

Globally, enterprises are moving their IT infrastructure to the cloud, aiming to benefit from advantages of scalability and cost. However, the rate of adoption of cloud is varied with some sectors quick to implement the cloud and others choosing a more gradual approach. In this study, Frost & Sullivan discusses the pace of cloud adoption in 3 sectors – retail, manufacturing, and energy – which exhibit different trends of cloud implementation. The study also highlights the challenges encountered by the energy, retail, and manufacturing verticals and how implementation of cloud can help improve overall efficiency.

State of Cloud Adoption Among Vertical Sectors

• The adoption of cloud is expected to benefit organisations due to the cost-effectiveness, simplicity, flexibility, and scalability offered by the model. However, apprehensions concerned with transitioning to new technologies and internal barriers to migration have caused verticals to react differently to implementation of the cloud.
• Verticals are at different stages of adoption with traditionally conservative industries exhibiting slower transition than others and with reasonably optimistic outlook towards implementation of new technologies.
• In this research, Frost & Sullivan aims to analyse the state of adoption and areas for cloud implementation in the energy, retail, and manufacturing. As these are the 3 industries identified as most likely to drive smart transformation, Frost & Sullivan needed to illustrate the current cloud technologies landscape. This research is based on primary (interviews with stakeholders in the markets) and secondary inputs (Frost & Sullivan database).
• The retail sector is the most advanced industry that has adopted cloud technologies. This could be due to the common theme observed in most sectors in the willingness to migrate enterprise applications to the cloud while continuing to operate mission-critical systems on legacy systems.
• Manufacturing remains slow in cloud technologies adoption despite expectations that the sector would have progressed significantly into smart manufacturing processes via information and communications technologies. The energy sector is the slowest in cloud technologies adoption.
• An industry with inherent seasonal shifts, the retail sector is customer-facing with an increasing need to use emerging technology trends such as mobile and social media. It, therefore, stands to benefit from the scalability offered by the cloud.
• This research service will identify the key areas of cloud transition in the retail sector and highlight current cases of retailers and vendors using this technology in the market.
• The global nature of manufacturing business necessitates the use of cloud technology that can integrate operations across the world, reducing delays due to co-ordination between stakeholders in the manufacturing process.
• Frost & Sullivan discusses the options available for manufacturers to migrate to cloud-based solutions as it traditionally relies on applications that are part of the enterprise resource planning suite.
• The energy sector is a traditionally conservative and risk-averse industry and is, therefore, relatively slow in the adoption of cloud. However, the rise in big data and the need to be cost-efficient is expected to increase investment in cloud.
• Frost & Sullivan investigates the forces behind transition of energy applications to the cloud and examines the different cases for cloud implementation, as well as the opinions of utilities.
• The following sections in this research will discuss the challenges encountered by energy, retail, and manufacturing verticals and how implementation of cloud can help improve overall efficiency.

Importance of Technology for the Success of Retail

• The retail sector is a competitive, customer-facing industry with low profit margins that relies on the use of technology to ensure efficiency in operations and increase visibility among customers.
• The information and communication technologies (ICT) industry is, therefore, an important supporting arm for retailers to help maintain adequate competency levels and ensure survival in the market.
• Frost & Sullivan estimates that the retail sector ranks among the top 10 industries with heavy investments in ICT.
• Additionally, ICT expenditure is expected to grow even further with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) ofX% between 2012 and 2017.
• On the supply end, ICT can help retailers to co-ordinate the supply chain participants and maintain accurate delivery of products to the store.

ICT in Retail Sector
• Supply Chain Applications
• Demand Management
• Marketing
• Point-of-Sales (PoS)

• On the demand side, retailers can use technology to capitalise on social media and mobile technology trends to build a brand image.
• Retailers can also use emerging technology to improve their back-office systems and in-store operations.
• Currently, a large number of retailers are embracing emerging technologies such as machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, big data, mobile apps, and digital signage.
• The following section will discuss the application of cloud computing in retail and explain how migrating to the cloud can help retailers overcome challenges encountered in the market.

Trending Technologies
• M2M Communication
• Big Data Analytics
• Cloud Computing
• Location-based Applications
• Mobile Payment Apps

Challenges in the Retail Sector

Facing Cut-throat Competition - Challenges
The retail sector is a highly competitive industry with an increasing need for market participants to maintain margins by providing efficient services. One of the ways retailers can survive a cut-throat competitive market is to have a transparent production and distribution process that brings to market products based on the preferences of the customer.

Managing Inventory Management in Real-time
One of the central functions in the back-end of a retail store is the process of monitoring incoming and outgoing stock. Inventory management is a time-consuming, but critical activity for retailers. Getting it right is a mark of a profitable organisation. It can be a complex process for large retailers that maintain multiple stores. They cannot afford to run out of products demanded by customers as this can cause a decrease in their profit margins.
In order to meet demands accurately, it is also important for inventory managers to be able to study and forecast demand. Information about demand and required inventory levels can then be passed through to the supply chain.

Developing Customer Interaction
The other side of the coin for retail success is for retailers to differentiate themselves from the rest, building a unique brand image among customers. This requires effort from retailers to develop relationships with customers using interactive technologies. There is a growing trend of eCommerce websites replacing traditional brick and mortar shops. It has, therefore, become more difficult to engage with customers. Retailers have to find newer ways of interacting with customers.

Enhancing Customer Experience
Moreover, in a world where people are increasingly becoming more gadget-friendly, interacting on social media networks and spending more time on the virtual world, it is important to provide a unique and enjoyable retail experience that keeps the customer engaged. Retailers, therefore, have to go beyond simple in-store interaction to more innovative methods using technology that helps build customer relationship and add value to them. Innovation and improvisation are constant challenges retailers have to overcome to be ahead of their competition.

Cloud Technologies Address Retail Sector’s Challenges

How an Cloud Help Overcome these Challenges?
Increased adoption of new technologies, use of mobile and social media interaction, and analysing customer data bases to gain deeper insight into shopping behaviour require the scalability, speed, and assured up-time that the cloud model can offer.
Cloud computing can also contribute to maintaining more efficient software systems that can provide transparency in the retail process from production to distribution through sales at the retail shop.
Retailers can implement cloud in their administrative systems, mission-critical systems, PoS solutions, or eCommerce sites.
Some of the most commonly used cloud-based solutions are general administrative software for human resource management, customer relationship management, or other platforms for marketing and sales.

Table Of Contents

Cloud in European Vertical Markets
Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary
2. Retail Sector
3. Manufacturing Sector
4. Energy/Utilities Sector
5. Conclusion
6. The Frost and Sullivan Story

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