The team at Zynstra recently commissioned Censuswide to conduct a survey of retail IT leaders in the USA and UK to determine their attitudes, opinions and state of their IT infrastructure. One of the issues we explored was what new branch applications are being demanded by retail businesses
The research showed that a wide range of applications are being demanded by retail businesses, with mobile payment capabilities leading the way in both the UK and US (65%), followed by self-checkout (49%), scan as you shop (44%), click and collect (41%) and in-store customer analytics (37%).
And while there were many similarities between the responses we got from both sides of the Atlantic, there were significant differences. Click and collect was cited by more UK retailers (56%) than US (27%), but on the other hand, in-store customer analytics was cited by more US organisations (43%) than UK ones (30%). This may be indicative of a greater focus on in-store personalization of the customer experience in the USA, and could be a sign of things to come in the UK. We think it’s a fair bet that in-store analytics will show a considerable growth trend in the UK in the near future.
Perhaps what’s most interesting is the not the relative popularity of individual applications, but the wide range of different capabilities that are now required, and the logical implication that in many stores, multiple applications are going to be required. This could present real headaches for already overstretched IT teams and the physical footprint for IT requirements in-branch. Looking at traditional solutions, this would mean a growing array of servers – perhaps with a dedicated server room, particularly as for many these applications a public cloud solution isn’t appropriate, for reasons of latency, legacy, and reliability. And this of course could lead to a support nightmare, with a growing need for multiple management systems and increasing in-store IT presence, neither of which are supportable.
What’s needed is an in-store virtualized server that can run all applications, but which can be centrally commissioned, managed and kept up to date. This would deliver all the in branch computing power you need, but with a reduced rather than an increased IT workload – and be able to fit into the confined spaces that so many branches have while running with less power.
And this exactly the capability that the HPE Easy Connect range of servers, incorporating Zynstra Cloud Managed Server software, allows you to do. HPE ProLiant Easy Connect is a powerful in-store server that can run all branch applications, including legacy and advanced customer experience applications, and avoids the IT blackhole of multiple point solutions, all with separate challenges and separate management systems. It’s centrally managed with distributed installation, commissioning and keep current functionality to provide a very low support overhead through its lifecycle, and facilitates the cost effective and rapid deployment of hundreds or thousands of standardized remote sites.
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