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Zynstra Hybrid IT Blog

The Challenges in turning retail branch IT into a strategic asset

Posted by Team Zynstra on Jun 16, 2017 4:30:00 PM

We wanted to better understand the pressures facing retail branch IT specialist, so 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.

Our research showed that while 97% of respondents see IT as a strategic asset in retail branch IT, only 48% said they had the proper resources, support and branch infrastructure to meet their current demands. And when it came to the IT to support an omni-channel customer experience, only 34% thought they had the infrastructure to enable an end-to-end multi-channel experience.

So we wanted to dig a little deeper and find out what were the major challenges IT pro’s face in making these changes.

When asked about the challenges in meeting these new demands, the most cited issue was, perhaps unsurprisingly, cost (69%). IT teams are constantly being asked to do more without increasing costs. This was followed by lack of technical infrastructure (37%), network connectivity issues (36%), lack of IT capability in branch (25%) and incompatible legacy IT systems (21%).

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There were differences between the US and UK, with network connectivity being most cited in the UK (41%) compared to 31% in the US; and lack of IT capability in branch being more of an issue in the UK (29%) versus 20% in the US

These results bear out our experience of working with leading retailers on both sides of the Atlantic. The IT teams know what needs to be done - put simply, the business always need new customer applications to evolve the customer experience - but face particular challenges that arise from the very nature of the IT estate they support. It’s highly distributed and business critical, but with limited (if any) local infrastructure and support to keep IT systems running effectively and securely. They need advanced IT without complexity of management and support.

And branch IT systems need to be designed for purpose and highly cost effective. If you are deploying 100’s, or even 1000’s, of servers, marginal cost differences for the systems themselves and the environment and power they need to run, can make significant differences.

The HPE Easy Connect range of servers, incorporating Zynstra Cloud Managed Server software, addresses this challenge head on by delivering powerful retail branch technology in a packaged, easy to deploy, easy to manage solution. 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.

If you want to find out more, click here

Topics: Hybrid IT, Retail, IT for Retail, Cloud Managed Servers, ProLiant EC200a, Multisite